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The Rider Paperback – 3 Jun 2002

4.7 out of 5 stars 62 customer reviews

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Product details

  • 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)
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Product description

Amazon Review

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

Review

"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

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Possibly the best book on the cycling experience there is.
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By prisrob TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 14 Aug. 2005
Format: 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.
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Format: 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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Format: 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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I'm not sure if quite a bit was lost in translation. I thought the book a bit weird and it didn't meet my expectations.
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I've read better
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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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