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Flying Scotsman: The Graeme Obree Story [Illustrated] [Paperback]

Graeme Obree
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 Sep 2003
Little-known Graeme Obree became international cycling's most unlikely star, capturing the public's imagination with his innovative engineering and design skills and unique training regiments. When he broke world records and won championships, the cycling authorities outlawed both his bike and his tucked riding position. He invented the "Superman" riding style and triumphed again. But while battling authorities and other cyclists, Obree was also battling a much more serious threat: bipolar disorder. In "The Flying Scotsman, Obree tells his remarkable story with brutal honesty and unexpected humor. Beginning with his troubled childhood in Ayrshire, where the bike was his only escape, Obree recounts his turbulent life and career, describing what drove him to not only break records, but to attempt suicide on three separate occasions. Long known for his courage on the track, here Obree demonstrates a different kind of courage as he movingly lays bare his struggle with manic depression.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Birlinn Ltd; illustrated edition edition (1 Sep 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841582832
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841582832
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 16 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 687,622 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

Hard-hitting and brutally honest. --Cycling Weekly

This is a book that must have taken great courage to write, is a harrowing reminder of how little the public know about sportsmen, no matter how brightly the spotlight shines on them --The Guardian

This is one of the best and moving sports books I have read --Alastair Campbell, The Times

'All fans of cycling should read this true story of a remarkable man!' --Julie, Waterstones Lancaster

About the Author

On the way to breaking the World hour record, Graeme Obree created major controversy in the professional cycling world over his unique riding style and his pioneering construction techniques. He famously had to use washing machine parts to complete the building of his 'Old Faithful' machine. Graeme's life began with his tough upbringing in the Ayrshire valleys, where he found his escape by taking to the roads. From there he went on to be a world record breaker and became a major international star on the European circuit.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
44 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A moving story 8 Oct 2003
Format:Paperback
Graeme Obree's motivation to achieve the cycling one-hour world record must make him unique. His childhood left him feeling worthless, an emotion that has dogged him throughout his life as his personal barometer swings from high to low and back with alarming consequences. On high, he undertakes training schedules few could match, and combines his athleticism with an insight into bicycle design which is sensational, given that the machine has remain vitually unchanged for 100 years.
On low, he attempts sucicide, conflicts with those closest to him who are trying to help, and drinks to forget.
Reading this candid autobiography is compulsive, you just can't put it down. As you finish the last page you hope that the tide has turned, and the Obree family will live happily ever after. If you buy this book you will be helping to ensure that they do.
John Richards
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Breaking the mould (again) 25 Sep 2003
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Graeme Obree delivers exactly what you'd expect from a man who broke the cycling mould; an autobiography that breaks the well set mould of sporting biographies which too often seem to be ghost written half truths containing snipes at past colleagues and competitors. None of that in this book. Quite simply, Graeme Obree just tells his life as it has been. The bad times aren't accompanied by finger pointing, apportioning of blame or bitterness and the good times are reported with the modesty of a true sportsman. In my view, the greatest strength of this book lies in the absence of the author trying to influence the reader's emotions and opinions. He just gives you the facts of his astonishing life and you react. This book richly deserves the widespread acclaim and success of Lance Armstrong's "It's Not About the Bike".
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
At times appallingly honest, Obree's book is fascinating. How can anyone design, train and ride a bike into the record books? Obree is a one-off who not only proved all the sceptics wrong, but made cycling's ruling body invent rules just for him! As a personal history, a self-examination into his own soul, this book stands alone.
Thank you Graeme, and my best wishes for the future.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent 16 Feb 2007
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Wow! What a story that for the most part was hidden from view in the perhaps ultimately thinner shadow of Chris Boardman and his Tour antics. Even the cycling press depicted Obree as slightly odd, thankfully for the sanity of of the rest of us he is clearly a highly intelligent yet almost fatally flawed person, and that combination yields an autobiography of such compelling passion and roller coaster emotion that transcends cycling, or even sport.

Lance's book(s) not about the bike? Pales beside this. Obree is a person that many more of us can relate to and in that his achievements are so much more inspiring.

This book will make you laugh, cry, shout in anger and frustration! Bit like time trialling then. Way to go Graeme, let's hope you keep on riding old faithful's offspring for years to come.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A true cycling hero ! 5 Oct 2006
Format:Paperback
This book is a reflection of a true cycling hero. From the building of his own bikes to the show downs with Chris Bordman. Fantastic. Yet the story plunges the reader in to the depths of the author's inner being and exposes the reader to tragedy and a life story that makes the tale even more extraordinary.

You must read this book. Graeme O'bree is up there with the best and is my ultimate cycling hero.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I'm not a cyclist, but this book is absolutely extraordinary. Even for someone who is not interested in sports it's well worth a read because of the unflinching honesty with which it is told. It packs an emotional punch that far outweighs the normal sports autobiography fare, almost certainly because its very obviously not ghost-written. I feel sure that this will go down in history not just as a classic sports book but as an outstanding autobiography. To add to his many accomplishments, Graeme Obree has proved himself a wonderful chronicler of childhood, of cycling and of the impact of depression. Anyone who reads this book will I'm sure be rooting for Graeme in everything that he goes on to do in the future.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It is about the bike 15 May 2004
Format:Paperback
Five stars are really not enough!!! Graeme Obree even in his native Scotland is only remembered for being a kind of mad inventor and is frequently only remembered as 'that washing machine bike guy'. I am ashamed to admit until reading his book i had little knowledge of his achievements. It is really quite amazing how the papers feed us a staple diet of over-paid footballer pre-madonnas who make million per year when an athlete so talented should struggle to make ends meet and received few column inches. A wonderful book that i read from cover-to-cover. Obree is comparable to lance armstrong except armstrong frequently cites that all his achievement were down to having a wonderful team around him. It would seem Obree's achievements are all the more remarkable since he received very little support, truly a personal victory. Buy this book.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brutally honest tale of a troubled genius 4 Mar 2004
Format:Paperback
As other reviewers have written, the most striking thing about Graeme Obree's story is his honesty. Where other autobiographies have been tweaked and polished by ghostwriters, Obree's words are pure to the extent that the reader can feel such close empathy for his suffering and such elation for his successes.
The very fact that the book was written as a means of therapy for Obree makes it even more of a privilege that we are able to read it. Some of his most personal thoughts are contained, along with graphic descriptions of his suicide attempts and his desperately unhappy childhood in Scotland.
Graeme Obree is a remarkable innovator as well as a naturally gifted athlete, pushing the boundaries within his sport not only in his performances on the track but also in his contributions to the science behind it. His ability to abuse his body so much yet remain able to recover peak athletic form so quickly is nothing short of incredible. At one point he confesses that his desire to die was what made him able to push himself so far beyond reasonable levels of suffering in his pursuit of success, and that is something so fascinating to contemplate, and yet so sad.
This is no ordinary autobiography. It is a collection of the innermost thoughts of a very private man who achieved extraordinary things whilst battling terrible inner demons, and as such it cannot be criticised in any way.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational
True sporting hero and such an amazing talent. Would recommend this book to everyone as an honest and open insight into some of the issues around mental health. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Stephen Frew
5.0 out of 5 stars gift
another gift for my son and again I hit the mark as he was very pleased and is getting a lot of pleasure reading it
Published 2 months ago by izzy
5.0 out of 5 stars Flying scotsman
Fascinating insight into an unusual and very troubled character. Well worth a read even if cycling isn't your chosen sport.
Published 2 months ago by G. Mason
5.0 out of 5 stars Very graphic of coming to terms
I can relate to this being an
active person with mental illness not knowing how to deal with it until I finally getting proper help & support. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Ronald C McGill
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for any cyclist trying to better their performances!!!
A great read for any cyclist...shows the dedication and training required to become truly world class. Read more
Published 5 months ago by George Lafferty
5.0 out of 5 stars good...
good book, quite different from the film, possibly more for fans of Obree and the sport rather than the film, but the two generally come hand-in-hand so no complaints :)
Published 7 months ago by tinky
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent biography
Really good read. A moving and at times quite disturbing account of a bullied schoolboy who conquered the world of cycling, albeit having to fight his demons daily. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Billyboy23
5.0 out of 5 stars powerful stuff
I wasn't sure what to expect on picking up this book, it has been both insightful and humbling in equal measure.
Published 8 months ago by EVO
4.0 out of 5 stars On the bike and the wagon
I like the honest way he dealt with his demons and pursued his desire for success. Behind the podium is the reality.
Published 8 months ago by Liam O'Hagan
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, devastating
Brutally honest account of Obree's life and cycling career. No punches pulled as he talks about the demons and depression that have haunted him, and reveals the drive that took him... Read more
Published 9 months ago by jgkeeble
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