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It's Not About The Bike: My Journey Back to Life [Paperback]

Lance Armstrong
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (226 customer reviews)
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Book Description

3 May 2001

"I want to die at a hundred years old after screaming down an Alpine descent on a bicycle at 75 miles per hour. I don't do anything slow, not even breathe. I do everything at a fast cadence: eat fast, sleep fast."

At twenty-four, Lance Armstrong was already well on his way to becoming a sporting legend. Then, in October 1996, he was diagnosed with stage four testicular cancer - doctors gave him a 40% chance of survival. On that day Armstrong's life changed for ever and in typical fashion, he met the challenge head on - this was one fight he was determined not to lose.

As he battled against the cancer invading his body and the chemotherapy that threatened to sap his soul, he focussed on his training and drew strength from the people around him who never gave up. Just sixteen months after Armstrong was discharged from hospital, he entered the Tour de France, a race famed for its gruelling intensity. Just a few months after that, he became a father.

It's Not About the Bike is the story of one man's inspirational battle against the odds, charting his progress through triumph, tragedy and transformation.

It's Not About The Bike was first published in May 2000. In an interview with Oprah Winfrey in January 2013, Lance Armstrong admitted to having taken performance enhancing drugs in all seven of the Tours de France in which he competed between 1999 and 2005. He was officially stripped of these wins by the UCI, the world governing body for cycling, in 2012.

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It's Not About The Bike: My Journey Back to Life + Seven Deadly Sins: My Pursuit of Lance Armstrong
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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Yellow Jersey; New edition edition (3 May 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0224060872
  • ISBN-13: 978-0224060875
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (226 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 53,652 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

People around the world have found inspiration in the story of Lance Armstrong--a world-class athlete nearly struck down by cancer, only to recover and win the Tour de France, the multiday bicycle race famous for its gruelling intensity. Armstrong is a thoroughgoing Texan jock, and the changes brought to his life by his illness are startling and powerful, but he's just not interested in wearing a hero suit. While his vocabulary is a bit on the he-man side (highest compliment to his wife: "she's a stud"), his actions will melt the most hard-bitten souls: a cancer foundation and benefit bike ride, his astonishing commitment to training that got him past countless hurdles, loyalty to the people and corporations that never gave up on him. There's serious medical detail here, which may not be for the faint of heart; from chemo to surgical procedures to his wife's in vitro fertilization, you won't be spared a single x-ray, IV drip, or unfortunate side effect. Athletes and coaches everywhere will benefit from the same extraordinary detail provided about training sessions--every aching tendon, every rainy afternoon, and every small triumph during his long recovery is here in living colour. It's Not About the Bike is the perfect title for this book about life, death, illness, family, setbacks, and triumphs, but not especially about the bike. --Jill Lightner, --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"If you read one sports book this year, this is the one" (Express on Sunday)

"This is a gripping story" (Guardian)

"So darn riveting that it simply cannot be put down" (Time Out)

"Having nearly lost his life Lance Armstrong serves up his story for the rest of the world to wonder at, shudder at and learn from" (Guardian)

"Armstrong’s tale of his recovery from cancer remains compelling and inspirational. It has already brought comfort to millions of sufferers and their families, and will continue to do so" (Daniel Friebe Outdoor Fitness)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I bought this some while ago after getting hooked on the Tour De France this year and wanting to read everything I could lay my hands on. But I was diverted into reading the "scandal" books first, especially The Secret Race, and ended up wondering if I wanted to read It's Not About The Bike after all. I decided to read it anyway and have to say that his style of writing is very engaging but I'm stunned at the audacity of the man - all those disingenuous comments about the links between his cancer treatment and doping made as if butter wouldn't melt in his mouth, all the comments about facing up to death knowing he'd led his life as a good person, no cheating embarrassed he ought to be reading it back now.

But my overwhelming reaction is what a great shame that a man who showed such enormous courage (if of course we can believe his own account) battling very serious cancers and surviving against all the odds should have thrown away a legacy which would have been great even if he'd not won a single race thereafter. I'm gobsmacked!
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars There goes my hero... 20 Jan 2013
That Armstrong beat cancer is something that cannot be taken away from him, and in that regard his tenacity and will to live is inspiring stuff. The rest? Pure fiction about a cycling career that was based on a lie that Armstrong fought every step of the way and didn't care who he destroyed to protect it.

Is this book still worth reading? Yes, the first part is compelling, the rest will chill your bones at the lie and the the myth that Armstrong sought the build.
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89 of 99 people found the following review helpful
It's not about the's about the EPO, cortisone, actovegin, testosterone and blood doping.
It's about bullying teammates and team staff to build a massive doping conspiracy, ridiculing and marginalising anyone that questions you or your unbelievable performances, and discarding and trashing the reputations of those that want no part of it.
Mind you, it's a groundbreaking employment of the unreliable narrator in a biography.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic first work of Fiction! 20 Jan 2013
By BarryO
Format:Kindle Edition
A truly remarkable debut novel by someone whose previous background would not have suggested such talent. It is humbling to think of him sat up all night creating this fantastic tale for us all as he waited for the drugs to wear off so he might sleep............. It really isn't about the bike is it Lance?.....
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Graham Pierce's review says it all! 2 April 2013
Read Tyler f*#!ing Hamilton's excellent book for an idea of what it is really about. Time to come clean Lance. If you do, I for one will forgive you.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By Nathan
Stumbled across this and thought I'd write out a quick comment. I bought this book around the time that my father got cancer and this story inspired me to get incredibly fit for the first time in my life in aid of being strong mentally for my family. It had a massively positive influence on my life and also got me back into cycling which I got bored of in the early 90s.

The whole experience now feels hollow now and it's all because of somebody who did anything he possibly could to get an edge. Whilst reading the book I never liked Lance as a person, but saw the way he was as winning mentality. Turns out his arrogance came from his own ego and selfishness. The fact he might have even given himself the cancer due to what he did to his body just disgusts me now. The man is a disgrace to humanity. I feel a massive betrayal and will never forgive what he did to others just to keep up this facade.

God help his poor kids.
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90 of 104 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It takes a lot to win a record seven consecutive titles in the worlds most grueling sport. Add to that an extra-ordinarily strong body, surviving cancer, and founding your own charity, Lance Armstrong should be a role model to every lazy, greedy, or even spoilt individual out there.

So why did I complete this book finding it hard to like him?

A lot of factors distanced me from Armstrong - someone whom I've always heard of, but wanted to know more about. I like inspiring books and was persuaded to purchase by the string of positive reviews, many going as far as suggesting it's "life changing" (a bit over-ambitious). I also had the plan of handing it over to my dads-friend who has Leukemia, and had to go through Chemo herself.

The 'bulk' of the book entails Armstrong's experiences with surviving cancer - how he dealt with it emotionally, the people who he met, and his thoughts along the journey. The start of the book is dedicated to his childhood and growing up as an insecure, yet energetic kid who competed in almost every sport available to him, and the growing relationship he had with his mother; something I really could relate to as a male.

However, what becomes obvious even half way through his book is that behind his broody face is a severely arrogant, temperamental, and for the most part self-indulgent individual; traits that although have helped him win an amazing haul of Trophies and titles, inevitably make him a very difficult person to get on with or please.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars This book needs rewriting to bring up to date.
I read this in the months just leading up to Lance being exposed.
I did find the story quite moving, and inspirational. Read more
Published 18 days ago by Ian A Radcliffe
5.0 out of 5 stars Bum's on fire
Great book but full of porky pies. Needs to be in the fiction section!
Published 2 months ago by Big G
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
good lies in this
Published 2 months ago by P. Tobin
1.0 out of 5 stars Straight into the bin a book by a liar, a bully and a cheat.
I bought a copy of this book in my local Oxfam shop and, having paid for it, politely asked them to put it in the bin so that there would be one less copy in the world. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Mr. Russell Barrington-crow
5.0 out of 5 stars "I will be your father figure, put your tiny hand in my hand..."
I will be your father figure, put your tiny hands in my hand….

The story of Lance Armstrong demonstrates both what the human spirit can achieve when facing great odds,... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Z
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring.
It is a great lesson on life and even if you are a Armstrong hater you should read it as it gives a second opinion on the doping claims that is not the media because it loves to... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Milan
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
Lies from a cheat.
Published 2 months ago by D Cross
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Not read yet
Published 3 months ago by Cramio
1.0 out of 5 stars It's about the copious amounts of drugs one took far more than the...
Yes we all know, its not about the bike, its about the drugs.

I read both of Lance's books and I really thought he was innocent and that he was just being criticised by... Read more
Published 3 months ago by J. Bourne
1.0 out of 5 stars It was certainly not about the bike.
I burnt my copy rather than pass it on. When I first read it some 7 years ago I was hugely inspired and started cycling myself. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Philip Gilburt
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