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The Rider Paperback – Jun 12 2003


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Von Holtzbrinck Publishing Services; Reprint edition (June 12 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1582342903
  • ISBN-13: 978-1582342900
  • Product Dimensions: 1.1 x 12.7 x 28.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 45 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #130,542 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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By Brian G Atkinson on Feb. 5 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
All I can say is that you really seem to be a part of this race as you fly through the pages.
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By Peter on Oct. 8 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I like how the book reads. No chapters but in distance. Gets kinda confusing when it puts on a cliffhanger than drops a story about a old race. Maybe in my top 10 books i have ever read...proabably because i havent read enough
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Eric J. Lyman on April 27 2004
Format: Paperback
Cycling holds a unique niche in the world of sports. It is a delicate balance between rider and machine, between strength and tactics, between the individual and the team, between man and the elements. Anyone who has ever ridden seriously knows that almost any serious ride is an epic journey, an endless series of choices and possibilities, of suffering and pleasure.
To date, I have read nothing that captures the real essence of that experience nearly as well as Tim Krabbé's The Rider, which was originally published in 1978 in Amsterdam and which appeared in English only in 2002. Like a racing bike that has been relieved off all excess weight and trimmed of anything that could increase resistance against the wind, The Rider is prose in its most basic and stripped down form. There is hardly a wasted or misplaced word here: the writing is crisp, powerful, efficient, and compelling.
The little book weighs in at just 148 pages, just a little more than one for each of the 137 kilometers of the Tour de Mont Aigoual, by all rights a nondescript semi-pro bicycle race through the rolling mountains of Cévennes, in south central France. It may not sound like much, but Mr. Krabbé breathes life into it by describing perfectly what goes on inside a racer's head: everything from relevant glimpses at strategy -- in addition to being a strong rider and an even better writer, Mr. Krabbé may be best known as a chess champion, and his eye for tactics and detail shows -- to interesting thoughts about his own athletic career, about philosophy, fantasy, his competitors, and fascinating memories from cycling history.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Leslie Reissner on Feb. 21 2004
Format: Paperback
An utterly engrossing book, "The Rider" by Tim Krabbé is a first-person account of a competitor in a French amateur cycling race. Kilometer by kilometer, the author describes, economically, but with plausible feeling, the range of emotions he goes through. It is clear that he rides for the love of cycling, but his writing reveals the mental calculations, often not very flattering, that go through the mind of a rider. A chess player, he is out on the road playing a form of chess with his opponents, considering their weaknesses, weighing their histories, examining his own position on the board, so to speak.
In this short book about a 150 km long race, Tim Krabbé also travels back in his mind, recalling legends of bike racing as well as his own dreams of sporting success in Holland. These include some wonderful absurdist episodes, including a brief "Little ABC of Road Racing" where he fantasizes about riding with Merckx and Anquetil and the other greats in a series of bizarre circumstances. And all through this one is conscious of the race going on, the change of scenery and weather and how the cyclist must constantly monitor his situation-now trying to make up for his downhill lack of skills, now attacking as the others weaken, now preparing for a sprint. One is struck by the fundamental cruelty of the sport, how one must endure pain and inflict it as well.
Anyone who has ridden fairly seriously will love this book, as will those who admire strong, clean writing. The author has brilliantly portrayed a concentrated moment. This is a world of intense focus and narrow but exhilarating boundaries.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Krichman on April 8 2003
Format: Hardcover
Cycling fanatics will find great pleasure in this literary cult classic. The author clearly knows what it's like to be a competitive cyclist, and he does an exceptional job of revealing what goes on inside the head of such a person. This book is as much about the athletic psyche as it is about a race. And that's what makes it so interesting. Anyone who has competed in any kind of race, especially a distance race, will be able to relate to the often bizarre, irrational thoughts that one's mind produces. Krabbe's anecdotes about inventing words in his head to keep himself amused during training rides, or telling himself repeatedly that his lowest climbing gear is clean as a whistle, are just two examples of the intimate psychological glimpses that readers will surely enjoy. I think the point of the story is that you have to be just a little bit crazy to be a professional cyclist, but at the same time, the cyclist's neuroses are completely human and natural.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lit fiction fan on Jan. 2 2010
Format: Paperback
This is an `inside the head of the cyclist' account of a 1970's amateur, 150 kilometer cycle race in France. Only 148 pages, the novella is not written in chapters but broken down into kilometres travelled. This is effective in terms of conveying the unbroken nature of the race. The writing is sparse and pared down; in places it felt as hard and real as a bicycle saddle. This clean, efficient prose helps to convey the clinical sense of competition amongst the racers. It brings a strong sense of realism but perhaps at the expense of warmth and emotion. I felt I understood the characters but I didn't form any lasting connection to them. The Rider doesn't try to be something it isn't - its main aim is to give the reader an 'in-situ' 150 kilometre saddle-ride, and it achieves this. Without question, The Rider works as a specific, cult piece of work.
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