Ned Boulting has noticed something. It's to do with bikes. They're everywhere. And so are their riders. Some of these riders seem to be sporting sideburns and a few of them are winning things. Big things. Now Ned wants to know how on earth it came to this. And what, exactly is 'this'.
In On the Road Bike, Ned Boulting asks how Britain became so obsessed with cycling. Ned's search puts him in contact with some of the wonderful and wonderfully idiosyncratic people who have contributed to this nation's two-wheeled history. It's a journey that takes him from the velodrome at Herne Hill to the Tour of Britain at Stoke-on-Trent via Bradley Wiggins, Chris Boardman, David Millar (and David's mum), Ken Livingstone, both Tommy Godwins, Gary Kemp (yes, him from Spandau Ballet) and many, many more. The result is an amusing and personal exploration of the austere, nutty soul of British cycling.
©2013 Ned Boulting (P)2013 Random House AudioGo
Ned's obvious interest in the subject, open personality and self deprecating humour make for a very enjoyable read. Of particular interest to cycling fans, especially those who've been involved in the Britain's less glamorous but charming past, but as it's more about people and their fascinating stories, there's enough to keep non cycling folk interested too.
I listened to it across a few longish Sunday rides (using bone conduction headphones so I could still hear the traffic). Most chapters stand up fine as individual pieces, but with a thread that links them together.
Some really interesting stories coupled with great writing and good narration made for a really good audiobook.
A mis-mash of characters from the world of cycling presented in an interesting and intriguing fashion. Well written and excellently read by Boulting (minus the odd ropey accent!). Which makes no excuses for being a bit London centric and effectively unravels as a semi-autobiographical account of Neds time in the saddle with all his cycling buddies (many well know in the world of cycling). It does go into the depths of some very interesting characters and captures the spirit (as best it can) of cycling on the road in Britain.
Listening to Ned Boulting is always interesting and it's great that he read his own book here - which is important. But the book lacked a bit of flow. Each chapter seemed pretty much unconnected to the one before and appeared to consist of just a series of interviews, told in the narrative style. While interesting in themselves didn't really fit together well enough to make a coherent book.
Ned's writing was a bit too flowery at time too, not that there's anything wrong with that it just seemed to come out of nowhere and disappear just as quickly.
It was rather strange listening to this book on the drive home then Ned commentating on the Tour de France highlights that night - a job to which he's well suited!
Sometimes I not so sure wherher I'm listening to poetry as neds poetic licence to embellish the tales he casts so well is endless!. Its clear his English teacher taught him well. Nevertheless it's charming and most valued for the learned tales of those so forgotten of our beloved sport. Thankyou Ned
Ned Boulting's voice and performance lends this book a sense of innocence and wonder that is wholly captivating.
Ned's seemingly endless contacts book drew him to meet people involved in cycling in all levels, and all ways.
This is right up there with the peak of Real Peloton. So probably on a par with the third episode (of 47).
No, I preferred taking my time through the book and enjoying it over a couple of weeks on my morning and evening commutes.t
I'm disappointed there's no audiobook for any of Ned's other books as this is an exceptional performance, especially for Ned.
Really well narrated and a good balance of funny chapters combined with real insight into the world of cycling and the very human world of the individual cyclist.
Description of meet the Rapha boys and David Millars Mother
Overall a great book-
Love Ned's dry observation. As a journalist and broadcaster it's one of those rare books I think works when read by the author. Love the randomness of the subjects in it linked by the common thread of bikes!
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