The first thing to say is I enjoyed this book a lot - I mean it was the one I keep picking up in preference to any of the others in the stack! Is this because I am a bike-nut? Well, I will try to be objective...
Mr. Wiggins gives a brave and honest account of his life - in particular he gives a frank account of his relationship with his father who walked out and lost all contact when Bradley was a mere three years old, an act the 'father' had performed with a former wife and child and would repeat a third time. This same father, a tough Aussie, did leave his mark though - as a cycling legend there is no doubting where Brad got his inspiration and perhaps his talent also. Certainly a mixed blessing - even the 'suspicious' death of Gary Wiggins adds weight to his son's emotional burden.
Brad is also open about his prolonged bout of drinking following his gold medal win in Athens. So certainly a life with bumps. To balance all the negative aspects he can credit the English half of his family for their support and the affection he shares with his own wife and kids.
And all of this is important as it becomes clear - at the top of sporting achievement mental strength and well-being are as important as their physical counterparts.
There are a few insights into the complex world of cycling (Bradley is involved in both road and track racing) and the magical set-up of Team UK. A little too much of race schedules - which won't mean much to anyone not present. And a little too much of thanking people - touching, but reads like an extended acceptance speech!
Cycling is not, thankfully, a dull sport! The book is saved by capturing sufficient of the build-up and the actual race tension.
Of course the question I wanted an answer to was why the two gold medals from Beijing was not three? That may seem mean, but Wiggins was chosen for three events with good reason, in fact it would have been unreasonable had he not been selected for all three, and all expectations were for three golds. But equally, in the circumstances, is it reasonable to expect one individual to produce world-beating times day after day after day? And if the Olympics want to show the best athletes can produce, is this the way to organize things? In any case, Wiggins is certainly entitled to his defense - if ever winning only two gold medals needs one!
I wanted to know the character of Bradley Wiggins better and this book, despite its limitations, obliged. His reputation may not glitter like some, but as a working-class boy who never claims to be more than an average bloke he has achieved one hell of a lot, and I will keep on applauding him for that.
Some of the photos are pretty cool too!