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Need for the Bike [Paperback]

Paul Fournel
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
RRP: £10.99
Price: £10.97 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

30 Nov 2003
A book like no other, Paul Fournel's Need for the Bike conducts readers into a very personal world of communication and connection whose center is the bicycle, and where all people and things pass by way of the bike. In compact and suggestive prose, Fournel conveys the experience of cycling-from the initial charm of early outings to the dramas of the devoted cyclist. An extended meditation on cycling as a practice of life, the book recalls a country doctor who will not anesthetize the young Fournel after he impales himself on a downtube shifter, speculates about the difference between animals that would like to ride bikes (dogs, for instance) and those that would prefer to watch (cows, marmots), and reflects on the fundamental absurdity of turning over the pedals mile after excruciating mile. At the same time, Fournel captures the sound, smell, feel, and language of the reality and history of cycling, in the mountains, in the city, escaping the city, in groups, alone, suffering, exhausted, exhilarated. In his attention to the pleasures of cycling, to the specific "grain" of different cycling experiences, and to the inscription of these experiences in the body's cycling memory, Fournel portrays cycling as a descriptive universe, colorful, lyrical, inclusive, exclusive, complete. Paul Fournel is a member of Oulipo, a collective of avant-garde writers whose works focus on the problems and puzzles of language. He is presently the cultural attaché at the French Embassy in Cairo. Allan Stoekl is a professor of French at Pennsylvania State University, the author and editor of a number of books, and the translator of Maurice Blanchot's The Most High (Nebraska 1996).

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Product details

  • Paperback: 150 pages
  • Publisher: University of Nebraska Press (30 Nov 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803269099
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803269095
  • Product Dimensions: 18.3 x 14 x 0.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 285,174 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"Fournel writes with a poetic compactness and a wry, light touch about topics that make perfect sense to most cyclists...Its bite-sized chapters make it the ideal book to nibble away at." PodiumCafe.com

About the Author

Paul Fournel is a member of Oulipo, a collective of avant-garde writers whose works focus on the problems and puzzles of language. He is presently the cultural attache at the French Embassy in Cairo. Allan Stoekl is a professor of French at Pennsylvania State University, the author and editor of a number of books, and the translator of Maurice Blanchot's "The Most High" (Nebraska 1996).

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Zen and the Art of Pedalling 25 Jan 2007
Format:Paperback
This is a hilarious, delightful, gentle book on cycling by someone who has a wonderfully utopian view of cycling and its effects on people. A journalist who covered the Tour de France and who is clearly mad about bikes, he writes about everything from city cycling to long distance touring, from encounters with animals (both friendly and less so) and with people. If you love cycling this will put into words what you already feel. And if you don't, you may start to understand what you're missing. (And if you read French, couple this with "Un Petit Traité de Velosophie" - A small treates in 'velo'sophy" which I also strongly recommend.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best bike book I have read. 13 Jan 2011
By Big T
Format:Paperback
I have read many cycling books; technical, training ,biographical, fiction and philosophical. This book stands out as the most enjoyable I have ever read which is saying something given the high quality of some wonderful writers on the sport. It is beautifully written and evokes the experiences that compels ordinary club riders like myself to ride. A wonderful description of cycling out from Lourdes before hitting the wall of the wall of the Hautacam. He describes the omnipresent sensation of wind. Interestingly the fiercest wind he ever experienced was in Galway, Ireland and like all of us, he was happy to delude himself as a flying machine when he had the atlantic gale on his back!

A book to read over and over again.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read! 15 Jun 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
One of the nicest cycling books I've read. Reminds me of all the reasons I cycle and happily returns me to my very first days on the bike.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a great book - but poorly published 21 Dec 2009
Format:Paperback
Make no mistake - this is the best cycling book I've read. Funny, whimsical and astute, it's a genuine breath of fresh air and totally unique

HOWEVER, the publisher should hang their head. Half of the book is unreadable, with pages out of sequence, blank pages and some pages missing altogether. If you're buying it, make sure you check it out when you get it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The cycling book. 4 Feb 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
You like cycling? You have to own this book: end of. Cheaper than one issue of Rouleur (in which it is serialised).
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