The Rider Paperback – Jun 12 2003
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.
To get the free app, enter your e-mail address or mobile phone number.
Tim Krabbé is one of Holland's leading writers. He is also a cycling (and chess) enthusiast. In The Rider he has created a book unique in the ranks of sporting literature, and probably elsewhere. Already acclaimed as a cycling classic, this translation from the original Dutch serves not only to evoke the endeavour and exhaustive struggle of road racing, but also inspires as a study into the workings of the human mind, from the context of a racing cyclist. The narrative is driven by an analysis equal parts psychological and philosophical, strategic and surreal. The reader might feel that Krabbé is presenting the race or the rider as a metaphor for life in general, but the author might argue that it is more than that as he brings the ecstasy and the agony of the race, and the descriptions of his fellow competitors, to such a prominent position that all else is somehow of little significance. Perhaps Krabbé's real point is that only the rider can truly understand what makes the feelings engendered by the race so vital. For the rest of us, his description might be the nearest we get. Nevertheless, The Rider stands as a masterpiece, and alone of its kind. The feelings experienced by the actors of endurance sports have never been so well captured, nor the power and the pain of cycle racing captured in such a cerebral yet compelling manner.--Trevor Crowe --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
'On the one hand it is a literary masterpiece that will still be read a hundred years from now; on the other, it is the best book on sports in the Dutch language' Leeuwarder Courant 'Whenever I hit rock bottom I always think of those immortal words from The Rider by Tim Krabbe - Battoowoo Creakcreak - and everything seems just fine again' Maarten Ducroit, racing cyclist 'Classic account of the fictional Tour de Mont Aigoual. Like all the best sports writing, The Rider manages to convey the excitement, determination and skill of the competitors even to readers who have little or no knowledge of the sport. Above all, he evokes the heightened focus of the cyclists, for whom nothing seems real apart from the race' London Review of Books --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.See all Product Description
Inside This Book(Learn More)
Browse and search another edition of this book.
What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
The stripped-down prose style (common to all Krabbé's work), works especially well in the context of a race where the long distances can lead to almost a trance-like state. The mind wanders all over the place, and that is captured brilliantly in the rider's musings-for example, one part describes how he tries to invent words to keep himself amused during long, boring training rides. At the same time, the race itself is very tense, and Krabbé does quite well at describing the various tactical gambits employed along the way. The main competitors emerge as distinct figures-allies and foes in both a psychological and physical sense (I especially liked the unknown in the blue Cycles Goff jersey). Interwoven with it all are tidbits of cycling history, which are intermittently interesting to the non-racer.
It's not a reach to call this a masterpiece of sports literature. The story does a remarkable job at conveying the tension and flow of a race to the outsider. At the same time, the insights into the psychology of the athlete are so acute as to be universally recognizable across cultures and sports.
Most recent customer reviews
All I can say is that you really seem to be a part of this race as you fly through the pages.Published on Feb. 5 2014 by Brian G Atkinson
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. Read morePublished on Oct. 8 2013 by pierog
Here how goes the first sentences of this book:
"Hot and overcast. I take my gear out of the car and put my bike together. Read more
This is an `inside the head of the cyclist' account of a 1970's amateur, 150 kilometer cycle race in France. Read morePublished on Jan. 2 2010 by Lit fiction fan
I think the appeal of this book is primarily the way the author has captured the thoughts and strategies that are zooming through the mind of the racing cyclist like a sprint for... Read morePublished on March 16 2003 by LoraxMan
You needn't be a racer, nor for that matter a cyclist, to revel in this gem of a book:
The exhiliration - "I was in the lead group for one sweep of the cranks, then ... Read more
A very enjoyable reading experience, with plenty of meat on the bone. Krabbe is a supremely intelligent and observant narrator, and a superb writer. Read morePublished on Jan. 5 2003
If you race, you will feel right at home with this book and its description of the Mont Aigoual bicycle race. Read morePublished on Nov. 1 2002