if you really need an excuse or reason to buy this book, just look at the title. as someone who bought a copy of 'you'll always find me in the kitchen at parties'(by whom i cannot remember) a title like this could not possibly be passed up. and since it sounds like a phrase that would likely be uttered towards the end of the paris-roubaix, more power to its elbow.
as the sub-title infers, the contents of this book are the memoirs of cyclist tim hilton who has pedalled through some of cycling's golden years and has the white hair to prove it. it reminds very much of the book 'bikie' (see link to review above) in that it concerns the days when 'steel was real' and carbon fibre was probably something used by the mekon in dan dare stories, and even then by total invention.
cycling was, apparently a lot less concerned with the bling, bling factor (forgive the descriptions - i've spent the week looking at photos from the milan cycle show) and certainly concerned with the characters who populated all aspects of the sport such as fausto coppi (david duffield will be very happy with this book) and reg harris. there is also a chapter or two on rene vietto, apparently one of the greatest cyclists never to have won the tour, a chapter on frank patterson which rather destroyed a myth or two since, like you probably, had this mind's idea that patterson was a cycle enthusiast who rode many of the miles he depicted in pen. apparently he never really cycled that much at all. what a disappointment.
many of the others are in there too: alf engers, gino bartali, beryl burton - i'm sure you get the gist. some of the stories regarding the above are probably not in print for the first time but there is a theme running through this book, even if i haven't quite figured out what it is yet. tim hilton has a very engaging style in which it is very easy to get caught up, and i like that. it makes the book very easy to read, it lets the reader realise just what an excellent history cycle sport actually has and it also makes me want to swap my lycra for a woollen jersey with a big flap pocket at the front. it also makes me glad that i still have a steel colnago in the bike shed.
the cover is certainly colourful as you can see from the top of this column and the title is right on the money. if you buy a copy of this book (hardback, surprisingly enough) from other than a bookshop - amazon, for instance - make sure you take the book out for a walk at least once or twice. there can be little point in having a cover and title as good as this, and not showing it off to all those non-believers. (come the revolution etc.)
i love this book and will probably read it again in a few weeks. it really is that good. bizarrely enough, the inside flap states the price to be £16.99, but the review slip sent to me by the publisher states the price to be £14.99. one of them is probably right, but either way, go for it whichever price you're charged.
just to bring an update to those who remember the post recently regarding the possibility of ardbeg cycle jerseys. i have reliable information that a limited number of these jerseys is currently in production and should be available sooner, rather than later. if you happen to have a copy of the current issue of 'singletrack' magazine to hand, take a look at the page on the mountain mayhem where you will see the great chipps chippendale wearing a version of said jersey. since these should be available from ardbeg distillery, as soon as they are in stock you'll be the second (or third) to know, and i'm sure jackie will be more than happy to send you out your very own.
this website got its name because scotland's graeme obree built his championship winning 'old faithful' using bits from a defunct washing machine.
on a slightly different note, my regular reader will have noted the addition of a 'colnago c40' rollover to the left. this contains a reprint of a recent article featured in cycle sport magazine, which they were very kind to let me present here (because i'm a colnago geek) there are also links to cycling weekly reviews of the colnago c50 and colnago dream b-stay. i have also found an excellent review of the colnago c40hp here
i have been asked to add the following link to the post by wheelygoodcause. they're a cycling club dedicated to arranging epic rides for charity and do not charge charities for the pleasure. They ride because they want to. here's the link.
Remember, you can still read the review of 'the dancing chain' the utterly excellent book on the history of the derailleur bicycle by clicking here
any of the books reviewed on the washing machine post can probably be purchased from amazon.co.uk or amazon.com
as always, if you have any comments on this nonsense, please feel free to e-mail and thanks for reading.
this column almost never appears in the dead tree version of the ileach but appears, regular as clockwork on this website every two weeks. (ok so i lied) sometimes there are bits added in between times, but it all adds to the excitement.
on a completely unrelated topic, ie nothing to do with bicycles, every aspect of the washing machine post was created on apple macintosh powerbook g4, and imac computers, using adobe golive cs and adobe photoshop cs. needless to say it is also best viewed on an apple macintosh computer.