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In Pursuit of Stardom: Les Nomades du Velo Anglais
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 28 October 2007
One of the best bike culture books I have read. To have the dream and eventually to live the dream in post war Europe is testimony to the extraordinary ambition of these three/four racers. Atmospheric and sensitively written with great humility in having achieved what so many can only contemplate. A beautiful read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 28 January 2007
As an ex cyclist I loved the description of the racing scene and enjoyed sharing the experience of life on the road in the fast lane. The brave step into the unknown (as it was in the 1950s) of Continental living and racing is recounted with feeling and the trials and tribulations are a good lesson in determination which can be applied to everyday life.

For many readers this book will reveal the racing successes of what might have been for themselves if they had grasped the continental handlebars. For others it provides an insight into the fortunes and resourcefulness of an intrepid bunch of pioneers living on their wits and skills in a foreign land. Like the early pioneers in the wagon trains crossing the US these men served as prime examples for the followers as they tackled the unknown. These followers now regularly take their racing wheels to the continent.

A must read for all who dream of continental racing.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 19 July 2012
What a fantastic book. Have just finished reading this on my holiday and literally couldn't put it down.
It is one of the best - and, in places, funniest - cycling books that I have ever read. And I have read quite a few.
Tony Hewson transports you back to the go ol' days, before modern carbon fibre bikes and just a few gears to play with.
Never mind 11-speed bikes, Tony and his chums only had about four or five to use - and that didn't stop them reaching the lofty heights of competing in the Tour de France.
They didn't even bother with rest days or tapering for races. They rode hard, and hard all the time. At least until their bodies succumbed to riding 100-odd miles every day, as well as the stresses of travelling across a vast continent to compete for a pittance money-wise.
My dad brought me up with stories of the likes of Tony and a few other Brit cyclists, who dared to venture over the France to make a living out of riding a bike and trying to realise their dream of becoming professional cyclists.
All those lovely memories came flooding back with each turn of page.
I felt as thought I was along for the journey with Tony, Victor and Jock in that converted ambulance - Vive la coureur cycliste anglais.
I loved this book so much that I decided to email Tony to thank him for sharing his experiences with the public.

Here is his reply:

Dear James,
It was very kind of you to write. Though I get a surprisingly large amount of fan mail, it's an especial pleasure to hear from a professional journalist such as yourself whose opinion I value higher than most.
What another great day for British cycling in the mountains. I'm an old guy now, 78, and it's a lifetime's dream suddenly come true. And not just one star rider, but three!! Still rubbing my eyes.
Thank you.
Kind regards,
Tony
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 29 October 2012
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Read, October 25, 2012
By Gemina - See all my reviews

This review is from: In Pursuit of Stardom (Paperback)
I'm usually resistant to books about sport. So it's a great tribute to the author that, for me, this book was pretty much un-put-down-able. It's an adventure story of three young Brits who, in the late-1950's dared to quit their jobs to try their luck as racing cyclists in France and Belgium at a time when the British were not greatly admired in the cycling world. But the book is much more than that, otherwise it wouldn't have maintained my interest. With great verve and humor, the narrative moves along rapidly, revealing along the way the extraordinary character, determination and gutsiness of these young men, and giving us also some astute insights into the history and the culture of France and Belgium during that time, as well as a vivid account of what it was like to be in the thick of the world of professional racing cycling.

Gemina
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 12 October 2010
This book was recommended by David Harmon on the Eurosport TDF coverage.Thanks David.
I have read many books on cycling, biogs/memoirs and this was a pleasure to read.
A real insight into the world of Pro/Am cycling in the late 50's early 60's in England and more so France where the three intrepid English boys take on the hardcore Euro bike riders in their own back yard.An era of woollen shorts & tops,shoe plates & knickerbockers.A tough existence,many trials & tribulations have to be dealt with,including injury & ill health.Then get on with the real job of competing in everything from local criteriums & spring classics to Grand Tours."Les Nomads du Velo Anglais" CHAPEAU.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 29 April 2009
Tony Hewson's story of his attempt to make the grade as a professional cyclist in Europe makes compelling reading. Had he been born 50 years later his career would have been managed by British Cycling's Academy, and he could have looked forward to success of the standard of Chris Hoy and Mark Cavendish. Unfortunately, in his day, you had to attempt this alone, coping with illness, injury and culture differences single-handed.
To make the progress he did (along with John Andrews and Vic Sutton) speaks volumes about the guy's character. It should be read by every youngster with ambition - whatever his or her sport
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 5 November 2010
An excellent book, captures the almost innocence of the 50's and the true 'englishmen abroad'
Highly recommended
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 15 October 2012
Of all the cycling books I've bought, this is the only one I want to read over and over again. Forget the autobiographies of today's young riders like Mark Cavendish and Nicholas Roche... no disrespect to these great riders but their stories are just not a patch on Hewson's.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 16 February 2007
this book made a subject I knew little about come alive, and I could not put it down.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 26 August 2006
I wanted this book to go on and on. What a great read. The last great years of cyling. There was very little help from any organisations, "get off your backside and do it yourself" was the watchword. Some great humour and very well written, much better than most.
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