Book Review: The Rider

Tim Krabbe, The Rider, Translated from the Dutch by Sam Garrett. 2002, Bloomsbury, London.

I don’t think I can imagine a better, more exciting account of a bike race than this.  Krabbe does a brilliant job of getting you into the head of the rider as he struggles through the pain of a day’s cycle – heading towards triumph or defeat: the result is in doubt until the very end.

Krabbe assembles a wonderful cast of characters: the gifted, the slogger, the over the hill vet, the pack riders and the self-seeker.  You really care for the characters and feel for them on the road.

The story of the ride is told kilometre by kilometre, with cut-aways to describe the earlier career of the author.  Its a very short book (148 pages) with hardly a wasted word.  The author does a great job of enticing you to keep turning the pages.  At every turn he finds a new way to get you into the head of the racing cyclist and holds your interest right through to the thrilling climax.

If you are interested in cycling this is a great read: if you are not, its still a good read.

Just the most exciting book about a cycle race you can ever imagine.


Tim Krabbe, The Rider, Translated from the Dutch by Sam Garrett. 2002, Bloomsbury, London.  Recommended with 4 stars. 

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