The Rider could be you or me. A weekend warrior, racing the biggest race of the year, under an immense amount of self-imposed pressure to do well. No crowds. No real money on the line. Just a passion and dedication for what some may call a hobby, but we’d call more of a way of life.
In a quick read, the narration of the story consists of a bike race in the hills of Holland, complete with the vast array of emotions riders go through during excruciatingly long bike races. Moments of strength give way to moments of emptiness; things look to be going well until they go horribly wrong; allies become rivals, and rivals become enemies.
Throughout the storyline of the race, a backdrop of the author’s life is explored. His first experiences as a child watching professional races, getting into the sport, and then getting out of the sport as a lack of talent and increase in other interests force the author to grow up and move on. After school is completed and a career in journalism begins, the author finds his way back into the sport that once captured his imagination as a child. Riding becomes his one obsession, and this race the culmination of a return to the sport that moves his soul like nothing else.
The book’s theme matches the sport it idolizes so well; a personal history, sacrifice, dedication, and a willingness to step forward and compete are global experiences for cyclists past and present. Written at a quick pace, The Rider by Tim Krabbe is a must-read for cyclists of any age.
You can ask your local bookstore to get you a copy or use your local library to get a copy for free. Wes also has a copy to pass along as courtesy to the always generous Dave Hagan. Thanks, Dave!