Thursday, May 14, 2009

Beautiful Machine by Graeme Fife

Got this out of the blue for my birthday.Wasn't really sure what to expect, but I needed a new book to read so off I went. Right of the bat it's like Ham on Rye with a bike (or maybe Ten Points-which was more like Natural Born Killers with a bike). Tough childhood leads to escape and illumination through endurance sports.
The author is a veritable quote machine and he had me turning page corners to mark especially good ones.
"I knew what that bike promised. It promised freedom
"The true measure of gradient is what it does to you and what you have to contrive to do back to it"
"I am inhabiting the gap between the mental image and the reality, treading the gulf between what I had nursed as possibility across to the insuperable fact of my own limitations"
These two are just examples from several dog eared pages. I could really imagine Paul Sherwin or Phil Ligget narrating this as a book on tape. He captures the suffering on the bike-the indecision, the pain,the self doubt and also the solo meaningless accomplishments that make it all worth while.

It took me until mid way through to realize that this was the guy who did the Great Climbs of the Pyrennes book-an item I lust after, but haven't purchased.
This guy is deep in the cycling game and has a pretty much perfect view of life on the bike-not racing, just riding.
The sections about riding in Africa are pretty amazing.
As an added bonus,as I was almost done he has a couple chapters where he is on the East Coast-Cape Cod and Boston area. He does rides we all do every week. Small world and a cool surprise.
This is a book that is about all the places the bike can take you and all the lessons it teaches.
Well worth you time. He has a website (thankfully no Myspace!)

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