Following in the tracks of The Cycling Anthology Volume 1 we now have a second book, this time dedicated to the Tour de France. But this is a different Tour, no lists of winners here, nor acres of statistics. Instead we are presented with original writings from a distinguished group of commentators, each of them taking a sideways look at a particular aspect or personality tied up with the world's biggest annual sporting event. Of the fourteen chapters I enjoyed all but a couple of duds. Particular mention must go to Ned Boulting's illuminating story of a man I had never heard of, Brian Venner, whose vision and eccentricity was critical to televisions adoption of the race. How history is shaped by the confluence of trivial events indeed. And Britain's own Dan Lloyd provides an entertaining and insightful tale of the life of a domestique, the essential but less glamourous rider who sacrifices his own chances for his team leader. Worth the money? If you are even slightly interested in the great rolling extravaganza that is le Tour, absolutely. I'm hoping to get Volume 3 for Christmas.
Hey Ellis! Aren't you the author of that appalling 'World's 300 Greatest Cycle Races' or some such trash? Then how come you can ascend from that low to the peak with this wonderfully edited anthology. I absolutely love the two volumes you have created thus far. Full of great incisive writing in a format that you can't put down once you've started. I know ... the power cut at 2am left me searching for candles so I could continue reading. I would love to contribute (if invited) to a future volume because to be amongst this array of well edited brilliant writers would cap my career as a penpusher! Come on Ellis, get Collins to dump that other stupid book and put your undoubted talents into great tomes like this one!
Well, the first was a cracking little book. In keen five star anticipation of the book's publication I'm sure this second will also be a cracking little book. Same format no doubt, style and delivery too. Anything cycling is a winner in my book but some are just a cut above. No. 1, for me, was one of those. Tea and biscuits await.
Late June, 2013
A solid thud after a letter box clink and Cycling Anthology Vol. 2 had arrived. I must say that I enjoyed this second Anthology just as much as the first. I discovered the first purely by accident while browsing the cycling section of a bookshop. From the very first page I could not put it down, same with Vol. 2. Here we have purely words, only words in their most basic, austere and typeset form. No photos. There's more than a whiff of the greatest historic cycling journalists permeating throughout each and every gem. Crafted work, well written, insightful and down right wonderful. There really isn't anything like it. Whether an enthusiast or new to the subject this is a must have. The format is ideal, cover work perfect and inside it's those words by terrific writers that captivate and enthral, they lead us to places new, old, fresh and vibrant. Utterly perfect. It's going to be a tantalising wait for Vol. 3.