The Literary Pedaller
I have always loved books – reading them, handling them, being around them. It is one of those habits, formed in childhood, that you never leave. Rather like cycling. I can still almost experience the feeling of being at school – old, well worn floorboards, damp plaster, creaking stairs, that led to the library – that place of complete and utter stillness, silence, and the reassuring impassiveness of the rows of books sitting there, indexed lovingly, on the shelves. And so it has been ever since, to differing degrees; the love of a book as a comforting thing, its cover barely hinting at the unlimited potential for excitement that lay in the folded pages.
Good heavens above – at the risk of sounding like the great Stephen Fry, I digress! But in an uncertain world, books have always been a constant and the really wonderful thing is that they are unlike anything else in the modern world – they can be completely nondescript material things, yet, once indulged, they reveal a new world – an experience that, at its best, transports you for several delicious days to another world – a world you hadn’t even dreamed of until you started turning these singular pages.
And so it is that cycling has been the parent to a clutch of literature. You would expect it, really. Few sports have such a rich, lengthy and celebrated culture. I have pertained, perfunctorily, to a small number of books within this web site. But there is, as always, a much greater canon lurking below the surface. If you want to read about our wonderful sport, you should pay a visit to the bookshop that is Cycling Books.
The scion of Tim Dawson, this wonderful web site is a repository of literature that defines the sport/pastime/way of life that cycling has become in all ways, modern and ancient. Tabbed and text-based in the way of the most wonderful website, this is the bookfinder of the two-wheeled world; the noblest invention of the pedal-powered cosmos.
Search it, browse it, imagine what it would look like if it were a real shop – a sticking front door, a musty smell, faded pictures of Charly Gaul adorning the walls. If the late, great Sheldon Brown had been a literary type as opposed to an engineer, this is what he would have come up with. A thing of great beauty.
Postscript – there is a wonderful podcast involving an interview between Tim Dawson and Jack Thurston of Resonance FM, here.