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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's A Ride To The Sun, And A Ride To Zen
It's A Ride To The Sun, And A Ride To Zen, August 6, 2005

Tim Krabbe, from Holland, is a much beloved writer by his country men and women. His books "The Vanishing" and "The Cave" have become known world wide, and made into very successful movies. He started out in life knowing he had to be a winner. His first love was that of chess. He played chess, he wrote...
Published on 14 Aug 2005 by prisrob

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars ok cycling book.
I'll admit to being a mental drifter when I'm out cycling, all sorts of nonsense drifts in & out of my head during long 200km rides, I've always wondered if I was odd or whether others spoke at length to them selves in this way..
It's a decent enough little book about the inner thoughts of a road racing cyclist during a continental bike race. Ok for a wet weekend...
Published 14 months ago by terry2wheelz


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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's A Ride To The Sun, And A Ride To Zen, 14 Aug 2005
By 
prisrob "pris," (New England USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Rider (Paperback)
It's A Ride To The Sun, And A Ride To Zen, August 6, 2005

Tim Krabbe, from Holland, is a much beloved writer by his country men and women. His books "The Vanishing" and "The Cave" have become known world wide, and made into very successful movies. He started out in life knowing he had to be a winner. His first love was that of chess. He played chess, he wrote books on chess, he joined tournaments, and then he realized he would never be the winner he wanted to be. So, at the age of 29, he turned to bicycle racing.
Through out his life, Tim Krabbe,also realized he had to write. No matter what he was involved in, he had to write. In this book "De renner" or "The Rider', he has made literary history. The book was written in 1978 and has become a cult classic. This is a fascinating book, a half-day race, 150km, of the love of bicycle racing, and the love of relating the life of racing.
"It's a ride to the sun, and a ride to Zen-the definitive abc of sports, an encyclopedia, a literary masterpiece, an adventure novel and bicycling odyssey all rolled into one," one book critic wrote. Tim Krabbe tells of us his life as a cyclist all rolled up into a small book of 129 pages. The prose that rolls out of his mouth onto the paper of the book is memorable. This is a book that begs to be read again and again. He tells us of a fantasy of riding with bicycle's best and besting them all by winning the race. Throughout this half day race, we learn how to put the bicycle together and take it apart. We learn all about gears, and what to use, when. We learn what he eats before he starts the race, where to put his hands on the handle bars and how to choose the bicycle seat. The men he races with, the fans that turn out and scream encouragement for all of their favorites. The cafes, the bars,and the major developments of racing. And through out this race, instead of chapters the book is divided into kilometers of the race. We end at Kilometer 137, when he crosses the finish line. Was he the first, third, or tenth? Gotcha' you need to read this book, and you will love it.
This is not a book that is a metaphor for life. It is a book of the racing life and how this life takes over. I understand for the first time, how a racer's blood becomes attuned to the race, the speed, the climbs, the straights, the finish line, the Win!
"Whenever I hit absolute rock bottom I always think of those immortal words from De renner by Tim Krabbé-Batoowoo Creakcreak-and everything seems just fine again."
Maarten Ducrot, bicycle racer
Highly recommended. Prisrob "Batoowoo Creakcreak"
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52 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Novella--Even for the Noncyclist, 18 Nov 2003
By 
A. Ross (Washington, DC) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Rider (Paperback)
I'm not a cyclist by any stretch of the imagination, and am only a moderate fan of the sport in general. But Krabbé's novella, originally published in the Netherlands 25 years ago, has got to best one of the best fictional treatments of any sport. The book follows an competitive amateur rider through a half-day, 150 kilometer race over the very real Mont Aigoual in France. Krabbé is himself an avid amateur cyclist, and his ability to capture both the mental and physical aspects of the sport is uncanny. Although I've never raced a bike, I did run cross-country competitively, and many of the elements carry over—mainly the twin battle each individual faces with their brain and their body (There's one excellent moment when the rider wills his bike to get a flat so he can withdraw with honor.).
The stripped-down prose style (common to all Krabbé's work), works especially well in the context of a race where the long distances can lead to almost a trance-like state. The mind wanders all over the place, and that is captured brilliantly in the rider's musings—for example, one part describes how he tries to invent words to keep himself amused during long, boring training rides. At the same time, the race itself is very tense, and Krabbé does quite well at describing the various tactical gambits employed along the way. The main competitors emerge as distinct figures—allies and foes in both a psychological and physical sense (I especially liked the unknown in the blue Cycles Goff jersey). Interwoven with it all are tidbits of cycling history, which are intermittently interesting to the non-racer.
It's not a reach to call this a masterpiece of sports literature. The story does a remarkable job at conveying the tension and flow of a race to the outsider. At the same time, the insights into the psychology of the athlete are so acute as to be universally recognizable across cultures and sports.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good, 5 Nov 2005
By 
J. Wagstaff "psychiatricblues" (Cardiff, South Wales.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Rider (Paperback)
An excellent novel, rooted with cycling anecdotes that lend a reality to the story. Felt like you were in the race there. Drew me in so I felt as if I was watching, and built up to the final dash for the line, like watching a real race. Excellent.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The perfect miniature, 16 Oct 2009
By 
John Williams (Apeldoorn, Netherlands) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Rider (Paperback)
This book isn't long. It has about as many pages as there are kilometers in the mythical Tour de Mont Aigoual, so if you're a fast reader you could probably finish it in about the same time that it takes Krabbe, Reilhan, Barthelemy et al to cycle the course. How's that for realism? The book describes a race in which the author, himself a passionate racing cyclist, is participating. In between sections of commentary on this particular race we are treated to snippets of cycling history and folklore, of Krabbe's earlier sporting career, and of the flights of fantasy and philosophizing that pop unbidden into the mind of the weary rider as he pushes down one pedal after the other. This makes for a great deal of variety in such a slim volume that tells the story of just one race. No wonder this book has become a classic. The hopes, doubts, fears, joys and disappointments of the endurance athlete are all there. This book will appeal mostly but not exclusively to those interested in road racing and other endurance sports. I believe it can be enjoyed by anyone, with or without knowledge of cycling tactics and technicalities. I challenge you to read it without feeling an ache in your legs.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Cycle race book for non cycle racers, 5 Jun 2009
By 
M. Hillmann "miles" (leicester, england) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Rider (Paperback)
My heart dropped when a friend lent me a book about cycle racing as many descriptions of sporting glory rather bore me.

This is a book with a difference - all the action is encompassed in one race, the Tour de Mont Aigoual. The sentiments in the story would appeal to any cyclist who has got caught up in the Cyclosportive boom currently underway. But it is not just about bike racing; it paints vivid characters of the 5 contestants in his group; it conjures incidents and personalities from the ages of bike racing earlier in the century when the riders depended on their own resources in tackling really tough conditions; it intersperses the narrative with flashbacks to his own childhood.

This is not an epic book nor a trendsetter, but like some of the best it takes you by surprise and refreshes you.

The pretentious back cover is perhaps worth quoting: "To say that the race is the metaphyor for life is to miss the point. The race is everything. It obliterates whatever isn't racing. Life is a metaphor for the race.

And Tim Krabbe was a chess grandmaster before he took up cycle racing at the age of 30!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How it Should be Done, 2 Dec 2009
This review is from: The Rider (Paperback)
I read this book a long time ago but it remains in my mind as one of the best books about how it feels to ride a bike. Cyclists will recognise this instantly when they start to read this wonderful little book, but from the reviews, clearly it works on other levels as well. I'd also recommend Matt Seaton's book "The Escape Artist".
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars ok cycling book., 14 Oct 2013
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This review is from: The Rider (Paperback)
I'll admit to being a mental drifter when I'm out cycling, all sorts of nonsense drifts in & out of my head during long 200km rides, I've always wondered if I was odd or whether others spoke at length to them selves in this way..
It's a decent enough little book about the inner thoughts of a road racing cyclist during a continental bike race. Ok for a wet weekend when you don't fancy a venture outdoors.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Get it Read, 5 Mar 2011
This review is from: The Rider (Paperback)
If anyone ever asks me to recommend them a book about cycling this one is I start with.
If they ask for a recommendation that is not specifically cycling, this still gets the nod.
It gripped me from start to finish.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Makes you want to get back on the bike, 8 Nov 2010
This review is from: The Rider (Paperback)
I bought this for a friend. It's very short circa 150 pages, so I decided to read it myself. Very good read and certainly got me in the mood to get back on the bike. But with all the crappy weather recently and dark evenings, I've still to get out.
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5.0 out of 5 stars If you have to read just one book about cycling, make it this one, 14 Jun 2009
By 
Simon Brooke (Auchencairn, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Rider (Paperback)
This is one of the finest works of fiction I know. Intense, complete, powerful, satisfying. It describes one bike race on one day from the point of view of one rider, and it tells everything there is to know about what it is to be a cyclist. The narrative is almost exclusively in the head of the rider; there's virtually no dialogue. The rider, the bicycle, the road, the hills, the opponents; the race that cannot be won by strength and which must be won through endurance and guile. It's an intensely solitary, obsessive, subtle, wonderful evocation of riding and racing, a jewel like work of exquisite beauty.

If you've ever ridden a bike, read this book. If you've never ridden a bike, read it anyway - you won't be disappointed (but you may be hooked).
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The Rider
The Rider by Tim Krabbe (Paperback - 3 Jun 2002)
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