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4.2 out of 5 stars70
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 5 May 2014
The book is an account of MBs life as an amateur and professional cyclist depicting various scenes and periods from his professional and personal life in a non-chronological order. The book is not co-authored by a professional writer which has its' advantages and disadvantages.
MB writes quite fluently and at times almost poeticly. The book is a good account of the everyday life of a pro cyclist adeptly describing the mindset of the pro athlete. MB doesn't spare himself but he rarely gets close to other athletes so don't expect too many juicy details on doping, other pros or detiled race descriptions. The most 'interesting' disclosurez (the Ronde van Vllandern incident of 2006) have already been leaked.
The non-chronological timeline works out most of the time but makes the story stand out a bot unfocused at times.
Buy the bolk if you want an account of a non-controversial, well mannered and likeable cyclist, and a Rough Ride light. If you're looking for juicy revelations a la Massacre a la chaine or The Secret Race, look elsewhere.
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Some of this book is excellent. The author conveys well the passion that he has for cycling and gives us a flavour of the pressures and the atmosphere of life in the peloton as a "domestique". I thought that the writing throughout the book was excellent and that the bits when he concentrates on his emotions about cycling and his feelings about the life conveyed to me, as an enthusiastic observer, what drives people like him to devote themselves to the sport.

Where the book came unstuck for me was in the way in which he is very vague about the facts. Michael Barry mentions a number of teams that he rode for in this book but because his story is curiously nonlinear and often devoid of dates I didn't get an idea of how long he rode for which team or even in what order they came. I also didn't always follow who his fellow riders were in each team. This shouldn't matter if what the author is doing is to convey his impressions about the cycling life but he then spends some time talking about the doping situation in US Postal when he rode alongside Lance Armstrong and explains how he came to take performance enhancing drugs himself - all sorts of details are absent here including how long he took them, who provided them, who else took them with him, what exactly he took, how they made him feel, etc. etc. I can understand that he may not be in a position to share some of this but he doesn't explain that this is the case.

I am not sure why this book was written. If it is to explain why he felt driven to dope and ask forgiveness then it is partially successful - certainly his writing conveys repentance. If it is to be another revelation of what happened during those dark years in cycling then it needed a lot more detail as there is nothing new here. If it is to give us a glimpse into the cycling world and what cycling meant to him then it is more successful. I didn't learn any more about the doping scandal after reading this book and nor did I get a factual overview of Michael Barry's career but I did get a feel for his life as a professional cyclist - sadly that was not enough to make this book totally successful.

I received a free copy of this book from the publishers via NetGalley.
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on 7 May 2014
Michael Barry's book is a great insider's account of what lies behind the cycling headlines. He was there and here he tries to come to terms with everything that happened in his long career, good and bad. One of the best sports memoirs i've ever read, up there with Cascarino's FULL TIME in terms of how much it reveals about the complex psychology of actually being a pro sportsman. Very good indeed.
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on 9 June 2014
Wrote with considerable thought and insight into hopefully the end of a dark era in cycling. Unlike some cycling auto's this is interesting and full of real depth all the way though. Brilliant.
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on 5 January 2015
Interesting but lightweight read. Doesn't give a lot of details, more a skip through his career and a view of how he just wanted to ride his bike. Doesn't dwell on any of the difficulties around the drugs. If I'm being harsh just an attempt at airbrushing over why he took drugs and impact on his career. If he was a bit more direct I would have more sympathy, as I do for many of the others entwined in an almost impossible situation facing drugs or being non competitive
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on 30 May 2014
First off, this is an extremely well written book by an author who enjoys conjuring up evocative and luxuriant passages. I also think we do get a good glimpse into his drives and personality.
Now that is all well and good but if her were not an ex-professional cyclist who had raced alongside Armstrong, Cavendish and Wiggins then I doubt any of us would have been interested in his story. And this is where the flaw perhaps lies.
He is a very intelligent and reflective individual and I just wish he had turned that focus a little more outward. He does do this at times and it is these parts of the book, the brief glimpse into a once corrupt and currently conflicted world that made me read on, but I was left wanting more.
Would I recommend it, yes but I think you get a much better insight into the crazy personal conflicts and battles of the super domestique can be found in the recent book by Charlie Wegelius, that is a really brilliant read. For understanding the peloton and its crazy days, well that’s a book I think is still waiting to be written, though I have yet to read the contribution of the once maligned Christophe Bassons.
I
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on 10 January 2015
Read this prior to Hincapies, Loyal Lieutenant, which did not get 4 stars!! I suppose they had different objectives. Eitherway a straight to the point account of a professional and his bike. But I suppose like most enthusiasts we contine to seek answers, perhaps to questions we haven't quite structured well enough to be satisfied from within any books subtext
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VINE VOICEon 22 November 2015
Without wishing to be unkind, Michael Barry isn't a big name, and so I suspect he got this publishing deal as a result of his time spent riding alongside Armstrong at US Postal and Wiggins at Sky. Unfortunately both these periods have been exhaustively covered already, and in the case of the Armstrong era, much more effectively by Tyler Hamilton. The other major theme of the book is just how tough the life of a pro cyclist can be. But again, this has been covered many times, most notably in recent years by Charly Wigelius.

That's not to say this is a bad book, but at does read at times like a misery memoir. Not only did Michael Barry suffer the life of a domestique, but he also doped and then carried the secret to the end of his career. I also found the fact that the book wasn't written chronologically a little frustrating at times.

If you're like me and devour lots of cycling books, then this is worth a read, but don't expect anything uplifting or particularly revelatory.
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on 1 January 2015
A good read but I would have liked to hear more about the doping. It gets mentioned and then the author moves on very quickly.

Also the chronology is a bit muddled and at times it is unclear where or when we are. However still an interesting account of how a high profile rider goes from childhood to doping and then riding clean.
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on 24 December 2015
This book is a very well written account of life on the road as a pro cyclist. Having read a number of other books by well known cyclists I was already aware of how life actually is as a pro, but Barrys' account goes deeper than that. It has a unique almost melancholic style but is never depressing and once you start reading it you find yourself wanting to know more abut the rider and his surroundings.
He goes into detail about his time with US Postal and all about drug use and about his time with Sky and other teams. His list of injuries and crashes and his recovery from them is also well documented, sometimes horrific. But the pressures to recover and get back on the bike are great as he also describes. No work, no pay.
Overall a very well written book and definitely worth a read if you've read other accounts by the likes of David Millar and Tyler Hamilton and Charly Wegelius,
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