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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Boulting: the Bard of the MAMILs
Another cracking read from Ned, he writes as an oursider who is new to cycling and makes sense of it as he write but really he's becoming part of the British Cycling Establishment so this tour of the characters that make up the history of British cycling is a great book for him to have come up with. We've had enough of reading about the great riders and races of the...
Published on 19 Jun. 2013 by P. C. Haigh

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3.0 out of 5 stars Great page-turner, but light on substance
I loved Ned Boulting's writing style, but thought the book (as far as the sub-title's objective is concerned) a little bit lazy, perhaps? Firstly, despite the odd day-trip to Manchester or the Wirral, it felt a bit London-centric. I would have liked to hear what cycling mean in Glasgow, Leeds or Aberystwyth. Also, there are whole sub-cultures (Audax, Cyclocross and BMX to...
Published 11 months ago by dafyddp


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Boulting: the Bard of the MAMILs, 19 Jun. 2013
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P. C. Haigh "sheffieldpaul" (sheffield UK) - See all my reviews
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Another cracking read from Ned, he writes as an oursider who is new to cycling and makes sense of it as he write but really he's becoming part of the British Cycling Establishment so this tour of the characters that make up the history of British cycling is a great book for him to have come up with. We've had enough of reading about the great riders and races of the continent it's time to have the British Isle story put on a paper. This is really a series of separate essays, some touching others hilarious, some both. Keep riding and writing Ned!
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is what they want!, 30 May 2013
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Big Jim "Big Jim" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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Anyone familiar with Ned Boulting's previous books, his work on the telly or indeed his Twitter feed, will know what to expect here. A humorous, self-deprecating wander through the modern cycling world from pro to amateur and everything in between. I don't think I'm doing him down by saying that he wouldn't have any great pretensions at having turned out an overly psychological or technical book. No, this is a personal journey through the sport delivered much as it might be discussed down the pub and is all the better for it. My only complaint? Can we have some more please?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ned is a joy to read, 21 Nov. 2013
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I read Neds Yellow Jumper book before this and saved this until I went on holiday. I got more than halfway through this book just on the outbound flight, it's a fantastic book. I'm fairly new to cycling, I don't know much about it's history in the UK - some names are talked about but others I have never heard of. Ned has met many British cyclists through the process of writing this book and he tells their stories very well. I feel I now know so much more about the history of British cycling thanks to this book.

For those who haven't grown up in the world of cycling, it is a good insight into the past and how it's led to the present day, the traditions of the sport and the unspoken rules. There is as much focus on the everyday man (or woman!) cycling on the local country roads as there is of British riders from the Tour de France from years back. I think this book has something for everyone and it's well worth a read.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Glorious portrait of Britain's passion for cycling, 9 Jun. 2013
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emma who reads a lot (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: On the Road Bike: The Search For a Nation's Cycling Soul (Yellow Jersey Cycling Classics) (Hardcover)
After tackling the Tour de France in his first outing, Ned Boulting now gives us a book about Britain's domestic cycling scene: an affectionate one, but laced with the properly British quota of eccentrics and devoted amateurs. Each chapter is devoted to a different portrait, ranging from Tommy Godwin, who cycled 75,065 miles in a single year (1939), to a sharply-dressed Gary Kemp, from 80s pop band Spandau Ballet, who now spends Friday morning nipping round Regents Park with other sartorially-minded cycle enthusiasts.

It has no pretensions to be comprehensive, instead picking out details beautifully. Ned Boulting would, I think, like to have us believe that he is a rather bumbling journalist (he is full of stories of calling people the wrong name, emailing the wrong champion, not knowing he's been talking to a cycling great etc). And yet his writing style is evocative, detailed where it needs to be, but never dull; he tells a story with such verve, and captures each interviewee's conversational tics with great style. This is a sharp, very funny book, but also shows Boulting to be a highly-crafted writer: "you really are much stronger than you realise", texts Chris Boardman to him re cycling, after they do a long ride together, and I can't help agreeing, bookwise.

For those who want to know exactly what is covered: that very funny Welsh ride with Boardman (Boulting's on-screen sparring partner during TDF coverage); a bittersweet meeting with Graham Webb (1967 Amateur World Champion); a fab interview with Mick Bennett, head of the Tour of Britain; a totally lovely visit to Herne Hill with Boulting's own daughter, who is the star of the book for me; Maurice Burton, one of the first black British cyclists; a café coffee with Gary Kemp; a hilarious chapter detailing Boulting's efforts on virtual trainer owned by Ron Keeble (Olympic medallist and current commisaire car driver); a tribute to Ian Meek, terminally-ill with cancer and still fund-raising on a bike; a visit to Simon Mottram, head of Rapha; the TWO Tommy Godwins (hence the misfired email); a history of riding 'the Bec', a very British hillclimb; a 100 miler with friends across Devon, North to South; and a visit to Tony Hewson, fifites cycling star.

Most of all, Boulting hears from people who loved cycling when it was a minority interest, people who battled to practice their passion - moving to Belgium and France in pursuit of a dream that few, if any, of them fully realised. It's a real portrait of a sport that has been underappreciated and underloved, and frankly one can only be grateful that times have changed! Not least because now Yellow Jersey can print great books like this. My only possible complaint is that the brilliant story that ties up How I Won the Yellow Jumper: Dispatches from the Tour de Francer finds no parallel here... (but that could never be bettered, really....)

PS for publisher's note - the French word 'dégolace' on p.74 is actually spelt 'déguelasse' - either way, it means vomitty :-)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Full of English Cycling Cranks, 7 Sept. 2013
This review is from: On the Road Bike: The Search For a Nation's Cycling Soul (Yellow Jersey Cycling Classics) (Hardcover)
Boulting's personal "Tour of English Cycling" wheels out many linked prickly personalities. Knowledge of the cycling scene, probably on a par with the author, helped to get the most from this affectionate view of the two wheeled world. Although given five stars, after purchasing this book at Main Street Trading in The Scottish Borders, Scotland seems to be the one region of the UK banished from Boulting's examination of cycling's heroes.
Rather than an acknowledgement of the names liberally dropped in the text I would have preferred an index, if only to make writing this review simpler.
Loved the vignette of Maurice Burton standing with all the Brits on the Champs Elysées last year, in with the crowd, not in some VIP area and his embrace with Wiggins. After five hours on the barriers food and a drink were my first priority once Cavendish finished it off!
Also liked the story of Ahmet, The Village Barber, in South London, his business cranked up a gear after a cycling shop opened in his spare room. However, I think Stevie Mathison's "Off the Back" barbers in Peebles, started in a cycling shop in 2004, would make a better example of two neatly fused businesses. Unfortunately Boulting's view of the UK, despite mention of his parent's place north of the border, seems largely to end in Liverpool.
Looking forward to On The Road Bike 2............
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice one Ned., 27 Oct. 2013
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This review is from: On the Road Bike: The Search For a Nation's Cycling Soul (Yellow Jersey Cycling Classics) (Hardcover)
Like Ned Boulting I came to cycling later in life and consequently I don't have much of a grounding in the history of the sport - unlike those that have breathed and lived cycling all their lives.
I found that this book has given, as it says on the cover, a soul to the sport which I have really appreciated.
It is written in an easy to read manner and covers a wide range of subjects (especially those not covered in many of the other books that I have read). Each chapter deals with a different personality in an attempt to understand why cycling has such a grip on the nation - I use personality NOT in the sense of celebrity as understood today, in this sense the people who Ned writes about are personalities in their own sense and much more interesting for that. I could be regarded more as a sociological view of the history and how this has affected our thinking today.
This should appeal not only to those who engage in the sport but also to those on the fringes (partners, wives, husbands, boyfriends etc etc) who are affected by this most gripping of sports and I would encourage those on the peripheries to delve in to this book as well.
I have no hesitation in giving it 5 stars
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining potted history for the everyman cyclist, 29 Oct. 2013
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S. L. Rider "S.." (London, England) - See all my reviews
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Ned's follow up book is a meander through British cycling history meeting many characters on the way. It also features Ned's own charmingly naïve adventures on two wheels. It has some poignant moments around the lone 'grim faced' pioneers of the sport as well as typical laugh aloud stories - the football ground quest had me cracking up.

Ned has become a sort of ambassador for normal cyclists - not the really serious whippets but the rest of us who commute, use a bike when we can, maybe get out at the weekend.

This is a great entertaining read for anyone even mildly interested in cycling.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ned gets to the heart of the UK cycling wdorld, 4 Oct. 2013
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A. J. Ellis (Sunny Surbiton) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: On the Road Bike: The Search For a Nation's Cycling Soul (Yellow Jersey Cycling Classics) (Hardcover)
After enjoying "The Yellow Jumper" I looked forward to this book and was not disappointed. As someone who loves reading but finds most books sleep inducing (medical problem)I read this book in a couple of days a loved it. I like Ned's self-deprecating manner in his approach to the subject. He gives respect to the people who deserve it and is a bit sarky about the new generation of "men in black" The section on the difficulties regarding the bibshort/toilet question struck a chord with me. I have to agree with him when he states that no man looks good when wearing bib shorts, a chap in bib shorts should only be observed when the wearer is in motion (min speed 25mph)and consequently a bit blurred. I read with interest the stories of the older riders and marvel at their achievements in a less than supportive environment.
All in all this is a book for people who have been roadies for a few years -it's good to see your prejudices in print and also for riders who are new to game and want to know what makes the long-time rider the bundle of quirkyness that many of them are.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eccentric and affectionate, 5 Jun. 2013
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I really liked this book. This is an affectionate, sweet natured and sometimes sentimental look at the often eccentric world of British cycling.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining insight to the sometimes eccentric world of British cycling, 25 Sept. 2014
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This is an easy read and provides a view, often very humorous, through interviews with some well known and some lesser known characters of how and why British cycling is where it is today.

If you're a new recruit, or have many years in the sport it will certainly entertain and inform you; it certainly did both for me. I am a 'many years' person and actually know, have raced against or had contact with some of the people in the book, which probably helped my enjoyment. In any case, I recognise and laugh at some of the traits identified in the British club or casual sporting cyclist, because many of them apply to me.

Don't expect a full history of the sport, or blow by blow account of how Wiggins, Froome or Cavendish won such and such a race; other volumes do a good job of that. Instead, sit back and enjoy a journey with the author on his voyage of discovery on what might make the average 'MAMIL' tick!
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