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A Dog in a Hat: An American Bike Racer's Story of Mud, Drugs, Blood, Betrayal, and Beauty in Belgium by [Joe, Parkin]
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A Dog in a Hat: An American Bike Racer's Story of Mud, Drugs, Blood, Betrayal, and Beauty in Belgium Kindle Edition

4.8 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Length: 205 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Review

""A Dog in a Hat" is the most authentic book ever written on making a living as a pro cyclist in Europe." — Bob Roll, Versus Tour de France cycling commentator
“Is "A Dog in a Hat" the best book we've ever read about bike racing? Undeniably yes. The essential truths you'll learn about Belgian bike racing are timeless. And the self-effacing (and often hilarious) way Joe narrates the absurdity of these traditions will make you laugh out loud. Of everything written about bike racing throughout the history of mankind, Chapter 3, "Kermis Don't Play Fair," is the most important 20 pages ever penned. No one should be permitted to own a USA Cycling license without being able to recite this chapter from heart. You'll be fascinated by Joe’s humility, his determination, and by the warped way domestiques set their goals and weigh success.” — CompetitiveCyclist.com
""A Dog in a Hat" is a page turner. Anyone who has raced in Eur

""A Dog in a Hat" is the most authentic book ever written on making a living as a pro cyclist in Europe." Bob Roll, Versus Tour de France cycling commentator
Is "A Dog in a Hat" the best book we've ever read about bike racing? Undeniably yes. The essential truths you'll learn about Belgian bike racing are timeless. And the self-effacing (and often hilarious) way Joe narrates the absurdity of these traditions will make you laugh out loud. Of everything written about bike racing throughout the history of mankind, Chapter 3, "Kermis Don't Play Fair," is the most important 20 pages ever penned. No one should be permitted to own a USA Cycling license without being able to recite this chapter from heart. You'll be fascinated by Joe s humility, his determination, and by the warped way domestiques set their goals and weigh success. CompetitiveCyclist.com
""A Dog in a Hat" is a page turner. Anyone who has raced in Europe or who wonders what it's like to jump the ocean on your own should pick up this book. Joe captures the struggle and the intensity to succeed, and the fact that he did it on his own is all the more impressive. Cycling in Europe is tough; doing it Joe's way is even tougher!" Frankie Andreu
Parkin s commentary is riveting, offering an insider look into the sport that few get to see, let alone experience. Mountain Bike magazine
"I loved "A Dog in a Hat." Joe's stories bring back many memories of racing in Belgium, where I learned how to fight for position in the echelon, to suffer in the gutter while jumping curbs and dodging potholes, and to pound out my guts when it really mattered. Belgium is a hard place to learn bicycle racing and Joe's story proves how tough he was." Ron Kiefel
"This plain, self-deprecating memoir has the ring of authenticity at the other end of the sport where even today not all the riders are being paid, the hotels are still bad, and the races are just as hard." TinDonkey.com
"Joe Parkin is a beautiful piece of work, and he turns out to be a better writer than I am a bike racer." Bill Strickland, "Bicycling "magazine
[Readers] have a seat in the middle of the peloton as we see what Joe sees, breathe what he smells, watch as his peers juice up and we struggle with him as he strives to get out in front of it all. Parkin s words weave a colorful tapestry about living life on the bicycle racing circuit in Europe. Yet that tapestry is soiled and tattered because of the true cutthroat nature of bicycle racing and the absolute grit in the stories Joe relives for us. Dirt Rag magazine
"Sordid, funny, and engrossing." Bike Snob NYC
"Joe tells his story straight. It's not pretty, but it's not bitter." BikeRadar.com
"Impossible to put down." "Mountain Bike Action" magazine
"Parkin went native in an era when Americans were still exotic creatures, and not in a good way. This unglamorized insider's view is what makes "A Dog in a Hat" well worth reading. Parkin shows you life on the edge of the peloton. We know the great champions' stories, but Parkin's experience is far more illustrative of what a "pro cyclist" really is." PodiumCafe.com
"A slice of literary badassness. I've had a lifelong struggle maintaining an attention span for reading books, but this is a page turner that's been hard for me to put down. "A Dog in a Hat" is truly captivating." HowtoAvoidtheBummerLife.com
Joe Parkin s heart was in racing on the road in Belgium and it is eloquently stated in his book. You should read "A Dog in a Hat" if you looking for a few small glimpses of the life experiences of a guy that lived the hard life. Steve Tilford, former professional cyclist
An honest, well-written insight into what it s like to move to Europe and try to make it as a pro racer. A Dog in a Hat is funny, touching, brave, and honest in its look at the complicated world of the European pro cycling scene. The Independent
"Parkin has written an eloquent and historic volume. In the very uniqueness of his story, Parkin realizes a universality that gives his recollections a resonance with any cyclist. Do not miss this book." BelgiumKneeWarmers.com
""A Dog in a Hat" reads like Joe Parkin was just telling you these epic stories on a ride, up a climb, or at a coffee shop. That's the beauty of this book. It's not a hero's journey, but instead a racer's tale." BikeHugger.com
"There's something very approachable about the underdog, the guy who works as hard as anyone, but never achieves the stardom we all chase. I peeled through A Dog in a Hat in a few nights, always wanting to know what was coming next. Joe's candor is refreshing to read and entertaining as hell." PezCyclingNews.com
"Written as if you were riding alongside him, Parkin's "A Dog in a Hat" is a quick, highly addictive read. You can feel the cobbles under the pen." Cog Magazine
""A Dog in a Hat" reads like a novel and serves up an inspiring, compelling and captivating racer's tale." The Oregonian
"I loved "A Dog in a Hat." Once in, I couldn't put it down. The book rings of truth, youth, and passion." Andreas Hestler
""A Dog in a Hat "is not the idealised notion most of us have of the life of a professional cyclist, but it's all the more gutsy and enjoyable for its self-effacing honesty. I could read it all over again right now." TheWashingMachinePost.net
"In his new book, "A Dog in a Hat," Joe Parkin gives us a window into the life of someone who was born to be a professional bike racer. It s not pretty, it s not glamorous, some of it is a bit of inside baseball, but it s a great read. I picked up a copy at Interbike, brought it home and read the 232 pages over the course of two evenings. I literally could not put it down." Smithers Minneapolis
"The April 17, 2000 issue of "VeloNews" closed with a typically fervent Bob Roll screed entitled 51 Things To Do Before You Die." "#36. Learn from Joe Parkin's life story." Parkin s prose fills in all the cracks. Quite simply, the man is tough as nails and chose the absolute hardest way to break into European professional cycling: just showing up in Ghent with a bike, a duffel bag of clothes, three months worth of cash, and a phone number to call scrawled on a scrap of paper. You can truly appreciate Parkin's re-living of the squalid truth of late 80s Euro pro cycling." BobkeStrut.com
"It's a wild, gritty, page-turning ride: Grab the book, rub some embrocation into your quads and calves, and settle into your couch for a great read as you plot your own future bike exploits." Cyclo-club.com
Joe Parkin did what few other Americans dared do "A Dog in a Hat" fills a void in cycling literature. Since so few Americans have accomplished what Joe Parkin has, his book stands on its own as an original account of European bike racing, presented from a racing cyclist s perspective. USCyclingReport.com
"A Dog in a Hat" is a fast-paced, revealing read, and any cyclist who enjoys racing will be equally inspired and shocked at some of the stuff that goes on inside the peloton. It's a rare glimpse into a world often concealed, and Parkin s struggle to gain acceptance makes the book a truly inspiring read. RoadCyclingUK.com

"

From the Back Cover

"The most authentic book ever written on making a living as a pro cyclist in Europe." Bob Roll, Versus TV cycling commentator

I saw my first pro kermis race during my first week in Belgium, and it felt like trying to escape a hall of mirrors but not being able to read the exit signs. Everything was larger than life and more grotesque than I had imagined. But kermis racing was not all about the drugs. If the grand tours are like classical music, kermis racing is punk rock, Belgian-style.

At some point during the season, our team was invited to a stage race in France, but our team director had made an agreement for us to race a big kermis in Brugge. My buddy Cocquyt decided that we should go as hard as we possibly could from the gun in the kermis, team time trial style, and then peel off at the end of the 11-kilometer lap, laughing at all the guys we had tortured as we took off for the other race. Of course, we all coughed up blood for the entire trip to France, but it was strangely worth it, as if we had smashed our guitars, poured beer on the audience, and walked offstage before the end of the first song.

Joe Parkin s life changed when he left America to become a professional bike racer in Belgium. In this brutally frank memoir, Parkin celebrates the glory of racing but doesn t flinch from the cold reality of that life the drugs, the payoffs, the betrayals by teammates, the battles with team owners for contracts and money, the endless promises, and the sheer physical pain of racing day after day.

Set in the hardest place in the world to be a bike racer, "A Dog in a Hat" is one rider s story of his love affair with professional cycling. "


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2019 KB
  • Print Length: 205 pages
  • Publisher: VeloPress (1 Feb. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1937716023
  • ISBN-13: 978-1937716028
  • ASIN: B007JIIL0M
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #403,014 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Format: Paperback
Being a Flemish cycling enthousiast(after all, our love for cycling is a genetic feature of most Flemings...) I was really curious to read the story of this "Yankee at the World Centre of Cycling". I must say I was positively surprised by his no-nonsens approach, with easy to read, well written chapters and a nice set of glossy colour pictures. The odd Flemish expressions and curses thrown in, add a nice local flavour to the stories and enhance their credibility. Joe is very straightforward, outspoken and - I want to believe - honest in his analysis of the tough small inner circle of life on the racebike in Europe, especially Flanders, where he came to look for a career in professional cycling. The backroom politics, backbiting amongst riders donning the same jersey, the relation with the directeurs sportifs, the way races are "pre-arranged", all confirm the fact that the only message for naive newcomers is to accept the unwritten rules of the peleton or get destroyed... Joe doesn't dodge the tricky issue of organized doping either, which shows how doping had become generally accepted in cycling and inherited by one generation of riders to the next one. The book is a real page turner and reads like a 53 X 11 gear during a descent. Most recommended to anyone interested in sports in general and cycling in particular.
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Format: Paperback
This memoir would not have been published a decade ago. Then, cycling books were idealized, all sunflowers, suntans and white teeth. If the Festina Affair was some kind of milestone, more recent events have stripped the veneer from pro cycling to expose a drug-fuelled sham. Its aspiring saviours face a huge challenge.

Joe Parkin wanted to be the best. Arriving from the USA as an innocent, he witnessed in Belgium the darker side of cycling at his first pro event with riders openly injecting themselves as part of pre-race preparation.

Parkin was a nearly man. Fate, or ability that fell short, kept him from the big win that would make his name. But he kept trying, absorbing Flemish culture and speaking the language. He was accepted.

Kermis - or kermesse - racing is the staple diet of Belgian cycling. Jim Ochowicz told Parkin that kermis riders were 'a dime a dozen' and that he should have ambition for the big races. Parkin himself found his dressing room peers generally dim. However, he was a man trying to do a superman's job. It wasn't long before dope claimed him, too.

The drudgery, race-fixing and duplicity of riders, managers and sponsors -and not merely in the second stream - comes through Parkin's words. There's not much glamour for the journeyman professional. He stayed just a few years in Belgium and then did not return. Who could blame him?
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Format: Paperback
I bought this book after reading a review in procycling magazine.I wasn't dissapointed.Its a great read,well written and an honest and open account into pro cycling.I couldn't put it down.Its worth putting on your wish list or getting it for a xmas present.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I had taken the opportunity to read a chapter of this book that I had downloaded earlier from the internet and the complete book did not disappoint.
I am a pretty committed cyclist and sports fan and as such, much of the material was familiar to me.
I am not sure how a non-cycling fan would view the book, but what struck me about Joe's story is the courage and sacrifice it took for him to go to another continent and absorb himself in the culture of what in my opinion is one of the hardest (yet most beautiful) of sports.
I particularly enjoyed the explanations about the Flemmish language and community.
In my experience, a lot of sports books, especially those about cycling that are written with the American market in mind, tend to spend a lot of time explaining fairly basic background and that can get in the way of what I consider to be the really interesting material. Joe's book does not do that.
I am not sure what the Flemish equivalent of "Chapeau"! is, but "hat's off" to the author for producing a very readable and real story which I would certainly recommend to any follower of not just cycling, but sport in general.
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These are the hard men of cycle racing. This book is written about the grass roots of moving to a different culture, racing in wind, rain and on cobbled roads with people who don't particularly want you there in the first place. Having to 'earn your stripes' as it were before eventually being accepted. Joe Parkin had the guts and drive to stay and make his mark. Most just simply go home because they can't take the culture shock or bad weather of Northern Europe. There is no serious money to keep you motivated, just a love of the sport.
This book is certainly one for a cyclist's collection.
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Format: Paperback
This book is a very easy read and a real 'page flicker'. The dream that all wannabe racers have as young guns should read this to appreciate the dedication and skullduggery that the real world of bike racing is all about.
It is written from the heart and explains all about the sacrifices you have to make and the disappointment that goes with being a team player and working for others when you feel you could win but team orders dissallow this. The book will make you laugh out loud sometimes (read about the time trial when he goes flat out and rides his all time best but loses. He soon finds out why!)

Anyway....buy it,read it and enjoy.
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