To be a well-rounded cyclist, you have to do more than just ride, — and lift weights at the gym. Study the ins and outs in books like the ones we’ve selected below.
READ: “THE CYCLIST’S TRAINING BIBLE”
If you look up cycling books, many of them will be oriented towards training. My personal favorite is Joe Friel’s “Training Bible” series since it’s been around for many years but is constantly being updated into new editions with the latest training science. This series contains many of the common and best practices in coaching and cycling training, which makes it a great place to start learning about all the elements of training. Athletes who get caught up in the latest and greatest fads and trends will benefit from reviewing the best practices in this book.
READ: “IN PURSUIT OF EXCELLENCE”
Mental training or sports psychology has been a newer area of growth both generally and in terms of the popular literature released. One of my favorites is “In Pursuit of Excellence” by Terry Orlick because it contains many of the key concepts of sports psychology and several case studies where the techniques are used with real athletes.
Runner-up: A newer book I’ve been telling my athletes to read is “Endure“by Alex Hutchinson, which details the extreme examples of human endurance and how our limits are influenced by much more than simply our physical fitness.
READ: “MASTERING MOUNTAIN BIKE SKILLS”
Learning to ride your bike well is a lifelong pursuit and reading about it won’t make you a great rider, but it can help you understand techniques and improve your on-bike practice. “Mastering Mountain Bike Skills” by Lee McCormack and Brian Lopes is now in its third edition. It provides a good system to start progressing your bike skills, perhaps interspersed with clinics or one-on-one bike skills coaching.
Mechanical skill is something that has historically been based on written instructions and lends itself to written text and images. No book sticks out more for bike mechanics than “Zinn and the Art of Road Bike Maintenance,” which is also out in a new edition — there’s also a mountain bike version available. Any mechanical task you can learn to do yourself will be a confidence booster for in-ride breakdowns, and will save you money and time.
READ: “THE ENDURANCE DIET”
Second to training in terms of ‘what will make you faster’ is nutrition. Like training, it is important to focus on the general principles and be wary of fads. Matt Fitzgerald’s “Endurance Diet” and Molly Hurford’s “Fuel Your Ride” are both books for meant to help you understand what matters in your diet and how to manipulate it for the best performance, body composition and energy. Both go through variations that different athletes make (e.g., vegetarian, Paleo) while still adhering to central tenants of good cycling nutrition.
READ: “MAXIMUM OVERLOAD FOR CYCLISTS”
Strength training is a newer concept for cyclists and there will be many more books on this in the coming years, I am sure. But right now, one that is well-received by my clients with low back pain or who desire a quick core routine to do at home is Tom Danielson’s ‘Core Advantage’, which gives you a quick routine to do anywhere. A newer book with a good series of exercise and a neat set of walking lunges is Jacques Devore’s “Maximum Overload for Cyclists.” While the walking lunges is a neat exercise to try for a block or two, I think the strength of this book is in the simple routines you can adapt to your setting and progress over a season.