We’re still celebrating the latest heroics from the Tour de France here on Baking Thad Books, so here’s another belter to kick-start your week: Put Me Back On My Bike, William Fotheringham’s fantastic biography of the late, great Tom Simpson.
Long before Chris Froome and Bradley Wiggins found glory in the world’s greatest cycling race, Tom Simpson blazed a trail for British cyclists, heading over to the continent with £100 in his pocket to make his name on the biggest stage of all.
Simpson’s shadow looms large over British cycling – he was brilliant at PR (posing in bowler hats for the press), the first British cyclist to win a major event in the sport (for years no British Cyclist came close to winning the World Championship as he did in ’65), a meticulous professional (inventing a new kind of bike seat which is the standard today), and crammed himself choc-ful of drugs.
His death on the dusty roadside of Mont Ventoux in the 1967 Tour, with amphetamines in his system and drugs in his pocket was a nadir for the sport, whilst also feeling inevitable – drugs were just another aspect of being a professional cyclist in ’67.
Fotheringham’s biography is brilliant – well written, warm, and unflinching. You’ll find yourself seduced by Simpson’s charm and charisma. As cycling books go, I’d say this one is a must read.
So what do you think? Have you read it? Did you like it? Would you recommend it? Know any other biographies that sound half as mad?
Let me know in the comments!
If you’re after another book on cycling, then why not try these: