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The Rider by Tim Krabbé

The Rider (1978)

by Tim Krabbé

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3921527,329 (3.95)20
  1. 00
    Once a Runner by John L. Parker, Jr. (nickl)
    nickl: If you like running, and also like cycling. "The Rider" and "Once a Runner" are the two best fictional sports books I've ever read.
  2. 00
    What I Talk About When I Talk About Running: A Memoir by Haruki Murakami (gust)
    gust: Krabbé heeft het over wielrennen. Ook autobografisch, maar literair beter uitgewerkt dan Murakami.

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English (7)  Dutch (5)  Spanish (3)  All languages (15)
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
Unless you're a cyclist you probably won't enjoy this. As a cyclist, it was a lot of fun to read. ( )
  bicyclewriter | Jan 8, 2016 |
Wonderful book. Dutch amateur road cyclist Tim Krabbé recounts how he raced the Tour de Mont Aigoual, known from Tour de France, interspersed with stories from his cycling career, Tour de France, and the nature of road racing. Recommended. ( )
1 vote ohernaes | Feb 28, 2015 |
This is a book for cycle enthusiasts. It gives a good understanding of the pschology underpinning the drive of a competitive cyclist during a race
1 vote nickrenkin | Mar 31, 2012 |
You don't even need to like cycling to find this novella constantly interesting and nail biting (quite literally in my case) description of one mans amateur endurance race. I usually prefer watching paint dry to the Tour de France but I couldn't put this book down for anything.

Tim Krabbe uses the superb device of breaking the race, and it's description, into kilometres, swathes of flat country pass by in a flash but crawling up mountains slows to mere metres and then to millometeres as he fights for his position. Although don't be put of it's not a mere description, we ride with Krabbe, in his head; his thoughts and feelings, his constant planning, his reminisemces, his hatred of losing, his psychological dismissal of competitors, his wildy meandering sudden thoughts. It all builds a vivid picture, one that seems to play out in real time, you can almost feel the mental and phsyical toll, taste his sheer force of will to win.

Of course it helps that Krabbe doesn't come accross as a single minded, arrogant sportsman. He is a funny, engaging and dryly passionate author that writes prose that is so tight a crow bar couldnt find purchase. He pacing is masterful he knows when to break away to tell an amusing remenencse of his early sporting encounters, drop in a fact or two and then back in to the race.

I cannot recommended it enough, if you want something different, quick and forceful go get a copy right now. I for one am going to track down the rest of the books forthwith. ( )
  clfisha | Aug 4, 2011 |
This is often referred to as the classic book about cycle racing, although no-one seems to be quite sure whether to describe it as a memoir, a novella, or a piece of journalism. On the surface it's simply a first-person account of a tough road race in the Cevennes in 1977 where Krabbé took part: although better known as a journalist and chess player, he was also a keen amateur racer in his day.

It's a very literary kind of work. This is not a raw report of the race, but a carefully constructed analysis of what is going on in the rider's mind as we go through all the various elements of road racing: preparation, riding in the péloton, climbing, descent, making a démarrage, riding in a breakaway group, the sprint, the post-mortem. The course of the race is used to illustrate tactics, the way different personalities ride, the effects of weather and fatigue, and so on.

Krabbé points out that the only rider whose pain he has ever experienced is Tim Krabbé: he's trying to get beyond that, to generalise and relativise his subjective experience and make it accessible to the reader. One way he does that is by punctuating the narrative with anecdotes from cycling history and from his own experience, as well as with passages in which he describes dreams and imagined meetings with great cyclists.

Cyclists clearly like this book, but I think this is also a book about sport that works for people who aren't particularly interested in sport as a subject. A bit like "The loneliness of the long-distance runner" - Krabbé doesn't reduce this extreme sport to a metaphor for something else, but he does connect it to human experience in a way that perhaps doesn't explain it, but does give us a bit of insight into why someone would do something as crazy as entering a 150km race over four cols. ( )
1 vote thorold | Dec 21, 2010 |
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
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"Warm, bewolkt weer. Ik pak mijn spullen uit de auto en zet mijn fiets in elkaar. Vanaf terrasjes kijken toeristen en inwoners toe. Niet-wielrenners. De leegheid van die levens schokt me."

"Hot and overcast. I take my gear out of the car and put my bike together. Tourists and locals are watching from sidewalk cafes. Non-racers. The emptiness of those lives shocks me."
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0747559414, Paperback)

THE RIDER describes one 150-kilometre race in just 150 pages. In the course of the narrative, we get to know the forceful, bumbling Lebusque, the aesthete Barthelemy, the young Turk Reilhan and the mysterious 'rider from Cycles Goff'. Krabbe battles with and against each of them in turn, failing on the descents, shining on the climbs, suffering on the (false) flats. The outcome of the race is, in fact, merely the last stanza of an exciting and too-brief paean to stamina, suffering and the redeeming power of humour. This is not a history of road racing, a hagiography of the European greats or even a factual account of his own amateur cycling career. Instead, Krabbe allows us to race with him, inside his skull as it were, during a mythical Tour de Mont Aigoual.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:12 -0400)

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