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The Rider (1978)

by Tim Krabbé

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4982335,268 (3.98)26
The Rider describes one 150-kilometer race in 150 pages. In the course of the narrative, we get to know the forceful, bumbling Lebusque, the fine-snared aesthete Bartholemy, 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 cols, 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 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.… (more)
  1. 00
    Once a Runner by John L. Parker (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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» See also 26 mentions

English (11)  Dutch (8)  Spanish (2)  All languages (21)
Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
This was The Peregrine all over again except it was about cycling, competition cycling. Throughout the whole of the book you are on that bicycle sweating, pumping, calculating and grinding your way up those hills. To say this book is intense is a complete understatement, it is more like a mind swap. I could feel the rain on my face and feel the spray from the bicycles in front of me every step of the way. Even if, like me, you have no interest in cycling or indeed any other sport, this book should be read just for the sheer concentration and intensity that went into it. ( )
  Ken-Me-Old-Mate | Sep 24, 2020 |
A first person account of a race with great personality, of a healthy respect for middle aged mediocrity. Loved it! Fresh! ( )
  bsmashers | Aug 1, 2020 |
A fantastic, dense, fast paced first-person account of riding the 137 km Tour de Mont Aigoual bike race. At the start Tim Krabbe glances at the tourists and locals watching and thinks, 'Non-racers. The emptiness of those lives shocks me.' The kilometres of the race roll and are described as riders make a break or get left behind. Tim Krabbe is in the leading break and is hoping to win. The tension increases as I turned each page. Occasionally the narrative leaves the race to describe previous races or tell us about cycle racing heroes, we are in Tim Krabbe's head as his thoughts wander through his own short racing history and the longer history of the sport. As the race goes on and he becomes more tired his thoughts make less sense and we enter a dream world for a time. The reader is taken to the depths of despair with a poor descent and a puncture and to the highs when all is going well and another rider is left behind. The drive and the selfishness of a racing cyclist is displayed as well as the frustrations of a cyclists who refuses to take his turn at the front of a break, a 'wheel sucker'. Towards the end he writes, 'At any given moment, every human being has at his disposal a brief, intense death struggle that doesn't hurt and which lasts twelve seconds. That's the animal sprint. Of all the things that prevent the rider from achieving the speed of light during those twelve seconds, pain is not one.' If you have ever watched a cycle race and tried to guess what is going on in the rider's minds as they sit in the peloton or make a break for the lead then this book will answer all those questions. It is well written and a brilliant read. The adrenaline and pain, the joyous victories and the despair of losing, the loyalty and the competitiveness are all here. ( )
1 vote Tifi | Jan 5, 2017 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Tim Krabbéprimary authorall editionscalculated
Hedlund, MagnusTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Penta basics (95B05)
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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."

English:
"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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The Rider describes one 150-kilometer race in 150 pages. In the course of the narrative, we get to know the forceful, bumbling Lebusque, the fine-snared aesthete Bartholemy, 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 cols, 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 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.

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