- Paperback: 160 pages
- Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (3 Jun. 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0747559414
- ISBN-13: 978-0747559412
- Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 221,560 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Rider Paperback – 3 Jun 2002
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Tim Krabbé is one of Holland's leading writers. He is also a cycling (and chess) enthusiast. In The Rider he has created a book unique in the ranks of sporting literature, and probably elsewhere. Already acclaimed as a cycling classic, this translation from the original Dutch serves not only to evoke the endeavour and exhaustive struggle of road racing, but also inspires as a study into the workings of the human mind, from the context of a racing cyclist. The narrative is driven by an analysis equal parts psychological and philosophical, strategic and surreal. The reader might feel that Krabbé is presenting the race or the rider as a metaphor for life in general, but the author might argue that it is more than that as he brings the ecstasy and the agony of the race, and the descriptions of his fellow competitors, to such a prominent position that all else is somehow of little significance. Perhaps Krabbé's real point is that only the rider can truly understand what makes the feelings engendered by the race so vital. For the rest of us, his description might be the nearest we get. Nevertheless, The Rider stands as a masterpiece, and alone of its kind. The feelings experienced by the actors of endurance sports have never been so well captured, nor the power and the pain of cycle racing captured in such a cerebral yet compelling manner.--Trevor Crowe
"The Rider a beautiful brute, as hard and fast as a thin wheel in a concrete road." -- The Observer, June 23rd 2002
"its 148 pages will flash by in a blur of reckless, high-speed pleasure." -- The Independent, July 1st 2002
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great wee book giving the rider's perspective of one-day race over the cols of France, his inner thoughts, race tactics, interspersed with short reflections of how he started... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Barbuto ma calvo
In either Dutch or English this book takes the reader on the road with an ageing pro cyclist/chess player. Will he/won't he?Published 4 months ago by Mark Smith
This is one of the best books about bike racing and one of the most compelling interior monologues you'll ever read.Published 10 months ago by Amazon Customer
super book for ex roadracer lived every minute of the racePublished 16 months ago by Amazon Customer