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The Beautiful Machine: A Life in Cycling, from Tour de France to Cinder  Hill by [Fife, Graeme]
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The Beautiful Machine: A Life in Cycling, from Tour de France to Cinder Hill Kindle Edition

2.4 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Length: 336 pages

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Product Description

Review

"A zen-like paean to the joy of cycling . . . sings of the sheer bloody-mindedness and humour of a true enthusiast" (Metro)

"[Graeme Fife] is a cheerfully opinionated and funny chronicler of his own failings" (Daily Telegraph)

"An excellent read, not only for cyclists, but for anyone looking for an inspiring perspective on life, love, travel, history and other spiritual and worldly things" (The London Cyclist)

"Even if you don't share his passion for bicycles, reminiscences of his time as a full-time writer are entertaining" (The Herald)

"Wise, honest and funny, The Beautiful Machine isn't just a paean to cycling but to life" (Stewart O'Nan, author)

Book Description

An entertaining book that explains what makes cyclists tick and why cycling inspires such passion

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 502 KB
  • Print Length: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Mainstream Digital; Reprint edition (20 May 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0051UTQ9A
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 2.4 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #948,838 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this among a clutch of books to take away with me on an extended holiday. Imagine my disappointment when I sat down excitedly to read it and quickly discovered that I'd mistakenly purchased a poorly written ode to self indugence.
The author takes perhaps my favourite subject and distorts it out of enjoyable recognition. Instead of the inspiring book artfully describing the sport I love so much I found myself reading an autobiography of a very tedious show off who happens to like bikes.
Despite his faux modesty of never paying attention to the distances he cycles - you know because he's like a force of nature or something - we're then treated to exactly these distances, clearly so you know just what a terrific force of nature Mr Fife is.
Whenever he rides with friends, his young daughter or more or less anyone come to that, he always makes sure he arrives first.
He points this out again and again just in case you are ever in any confusion as to who is the fastest and obviously therefore best rider. So, he wins EVERY ride he goes on to the point where I began wondering why he goes cycling with anyone else at all as he seems to spend 50% of every ride waiting for the puny mortals to catch him up.

Mr Fife's hardships and misfortunes seems to be almost manufactured as a device purely show that whatever curveballs life throws at him, he can rise above it. He would mention being fatally mauled by a crocodile only to point out with studied nonchalance that he went on to conquer Mt Ventoux later that afternoon no handed.
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Format: Paperback
Fife has always been a cut above, and this is a belter, even by his high standards. The writing is crisp and articulate, but best of all it makes you want to ride. A very fine thing indeed.
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Format: Paperback
theres been some really harsh reviews of this book on amazon.
its not the best book ive ever read but not as bad as all that.Its more an autobiography of the author,for whom bikes have played a big part in his life.He conveys his love for them,cycling and its cameraderie reasonably well.some of his experiences and stories are interesting,some less so.
to make out hes some namedropping egomaniac,as some reviewers have done,is unfair and just plain wrong.
Ive read better books that have cycling at their heart but ive read much,much worse also-not a ringing endorsement,i realise,but i feel some of the other reviews have been real hatchet jobs
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Format: Paperback
I suppose that to enjoy autobiographical writing it helps if you like the writer or have something in common with him or her. I think that the book has a fantastic title and on that basis I added it to my Christmas list. I expected to read about lots of inspirational cycling exploits which would make me want to get on my bike and go. But it just didn't do it for me. I found there was too much of the author's unhappy childhood and his disordered private life. I did learn that the big Alpine and Pyrennean climbs are very demanding and that about half way up you wonder if you can make it to the top. Also, later in the book, that the author is very fit by most people's standards and dislikes cycling with riders who slow him down. But these are hardly cycling gems and I didn't think they were worth wading through the rest of the book for. I was unable to find anything to like or admire about the author's personality and abandoned the book with about 40 pages to go: just couldn't be bothered any more. Only one star (for the title), I'm afraid.
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Format: Paperback
I persevered for a while with this, but I felt the author never really got 'into his stride' and instead meanders along. The first 100 pages I read seemed to be more about his love life and career than about biking. Cycling is a thread through this book rather than at its core.
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Format: Paperback
I read the book in 3 days, as per other reviewers have said the book isn't an autobiography. I think the case Fife is trying to make is that despite his chaotic and turbulent life the one thing that has been stable and consistant is his love of cycling and his ability to use it as a liferaft and escape zone. His exploits are well described and its clear he is in love with the world of cycling.

I personally found it inspiring with regards to getting on my bike and his ability to describe the highs and lows of tacking the mountains makes you want to be there.

If you're tempted by a cycling holiday then read this...it shows you how and why people who love the sport do everything to keep the wheels turning....escapism without the saddle sores
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Format: Paperback
This joins one of only a handful of books that I couldn't face finishing, poorly written, the narrative jumps around chronologically and people seem to appear and disappear from the story almost randomly. The few interesting aspects of the authors life are dealt with in a very superficial manner, but we do learn that he has met lots of famous people and even got a letter from Chris Boardman.

In summary, an uninteresting biography of an unremarkable person.
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