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The Race Against Time: Obree, Boardman and the Quest to be the Fastest Man on Two Wheels Hardcover – 9 May 2013
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"For anyone wanting to understand the roots of British cycling's recent triumphs, The Race Against Time is essential reading, and it is Pickering's thorough research that makes it so." (Rouleur, Ian Cleverly's pick of 2013 cycling books)
"Two rivals, two ways of thinking about the world, very nicely told." (Evening Standard)
"Super." (The Scotsman)
"Chris Boardman and Graeme Obree are both highly individual characters and brilliant bike riders in their own right and this book from Edward Pickering does them proud with a detailed look at how they contested the Hour record throughout much of the '90s. The story telling is excellent as befits two such strong characters. Boardman could be seen as the establishment Team GB figure reserved and scientific while Obree was a working class maverick riding home-made bikes using parts of his washing machine. To a degree you can paint their rivalry as that between science and art but ultimately both were united in their quest to go faster and their quick intuitive minds." (Brendan Gallagher Sweetspot Cycling Book of the Year shortlist nomination)
"A great read about a wonderful episode not just in British cycling but in world cycling too. Pickering brings a fresh perspective to the telling of the tale and strips away some of the myths that surround two riders who have become living legends." (Podium Cafe)
The fascinating and revelatory story of the epic sporting rivalry between Graeme Obree and Chris Boardman and the start of a revolution in British cyclingSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
The real fascination behind the book is the difference in character of Chris Boardman and Graeme Obree. Both thought outside the box and both pushed the sport forward massively. Without doubt, British Cycling's success and Bradley Wiggins' Tour de France win owes a massive debt to both of them. This book tells how Peter Keen started a revolution in applying science to cycling - the revolution that continues to this day with Team Sky.
Chris Boardman's contribution to British cycling has been recognised but after reading this book, I felt that Obree's may have been overlooked. Graeme comes over as a complex character which helped him push the boundaries as far as he did, the knock-on effect was that Boardman & Keen also had to push the boundaries of technology to keep up. Obree was a true innovator of the type who treads the thin line between genius and madman! Certainly without each other, this story would not be anywhere as exciting and the record wouldn't have kept getting broken.
A well written book which is certainly a must for any cyclist, but also a genuinely good read for any sports fan.
Then along comes "The Race Against Time".
Like both Obree and Boardman, I was nervous on the start line as I browsed to page one. These are two iconic cyclists with huge characters to match, offering real potential for an author to play to the reader's inherent perception as to what they are about to consume. The nerves had gone after the first chapter. Edward has clearly taken pains to offer narrative rather than judgement, his book paints the picture with just the right amount of analysis which left me nodding at the end of each chapter. I already knew the individual stories of Obree and Boardman but had never understood how intertwined they were and the potential affect that each had upon the other. Edward clearly lays this out as the narrative flicks between the two making comparison where required. I may be wrong but I detected a clear affection for both Obree and Boardman within his words. For once I appeared to be reading a book that the writer wanted to write, rather than one that his publisher thought could sell.
The writing style is excellent and accessible, the two stories are compelling and well told without the need for hyperbole. I'd urge anyone with the slightest interest in cycling to purchase this book.
It’s quite apparent with each new chapter that the author has gone to a lot of trouble tracking down most all of the characters both on the peripheries and directly involved with Obree and Boardman during their careers. The result is an incredibly well-rounded and well-informed narrative, full of anecdotal asides which, as well as giving a fascinating insight into the rivalry between two massively talented competitors, also informs the reader of a good historical perspective as to how (partly stemming from said rivalry) a once moribund sport - at least in the UK pre early 90’s - had new life breathed into it and continues to grow in popularity post Beijing 2008 / London 2012.
The book seems to me to have been a labour of love for the author. In summary, it’s a great read, accessible to the layman or bike nut equally.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Against all adversity from the UCI he kept coming back, the UCI, FIA & FIFA are all not in Switzerland for nothingPublished 4 months ago by Mike J
Takes me back to youth! A great read and gives a different perspective on the flying Scotsman. Screw Flanders screw FlandersPublished 11 months ago by busy mum
As a fan of both protagonists of the story I really looked forward to the publication of this book. The stories behind the characters is well laid out - we get to understand the... Read morePublished 17 months ago by thebolox99
Well written and enjoyable book. I found the subject matter very ineterestingPublished 17 months ago by Tsuname
I loved this book from start to finish. I never realised how much Boardman achieved during his career as an amateur & a pro, but I can remember the 92 Olympics like it was... Read morePublished 18 months ago by Phil Smith
This is the best cycling book I have read in a while and I have read a lot over the years. The narrative is very engaging as it delves not only into the careers of these two... Read morePublished 19 months ago by Peter Kott
Bought as a Christmas present and recipient was very pleased. Has not finished reading it yet though has enjoyed it so farPublished on 7 Jan. 2014 by Mrs P
My cycling son in law didn't put this book down all over Christmas, so I gather it is a good buy!Published on 6 Jan. 2014 by TerryB
I really enjoyed this book about one of the most intriguing rivalries in British sporting history. It wonderfully tells the story in an easy to follow, enjoyable manner. Read morePublished on 30 Oct. 2013 by Jonathan