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Petite philosophie du vélo by Bernard…
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Petite philosophie du vélo

by Bernard Chambaz

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AMG (1) cycling (1) essays (1) French (1) philo (1) philosophy (1)

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This one couldn't be more French. As well as being a novelist and teacher, Chambaz is a keen road-biker, who has completed the amateur versions of the Tour de France, Giro, Vuelta, etc., and ridden coast-to-coast across the USA. For him, "le vélo" is not about getting to where you need to be (that menial process he dismisses as "la bicyclette"), rather, it's the means to engage in an epic struggle to overcome physical and psychological weaknesses and the obstacles that nature throws in your path (mountains, weather, your competitors...) and complete the challenge you have set yourself.
Chambaz analyses the concepts and processes involved in his kind of cycling in a series of about a hundred short, semi-frivolous essays, in which he cleverly mixes together philosophical ideas originating from celebrated riders with approaches to cycling taken from great philosophers. Heidegger, Kant, Plato and the rest can all be found riding with him in the péloton. The technique is a bit like Barthes' essay on the Tour de France as a version of the Iliad, but expanded into a complete philosophical scheme.
An entertaining little book to keep by your bedside and dip into, but probably not something you would want to read from cover to cover. ( )
  thorold | Aug 28, 2017 |
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