Recommend me an inspirational book

Hey cyclists.

Can you provide recommendations for inspirational books? My lovely friend badly injured her leg about 18 months ago and, because of the severity of the metalwork repair, she has had to make the decision not to push her limits off road.

I am looking for a good cycling/mountainbiking related book for her to show that life isnt all about riding technical trails, but that you can have so much fun and adventure on a bike, however you ride.

Positive stories, particularly female focused, from normal people would be particularly great. There is so much out there from the pro riders, but I’m looking for something showing relatable ordinary/disadvantaged people doing extraordinary things.

Any help appreciated :slight_smile:

I don’t know if there are any similar ones mentioned here, but you may find one in the book topic.

1 Like

Not cycling, but fun reads about athletes…
Running with Sherman (about a guy training/racing with a rescued donkey)
Boys in the Boat (story of the 1936 US Olympic rowing team)

The first one in particular was very relatable - present day, a real person, and a badly neglected donkey, both of whom needed a lot of mental “rehab”. Also just light-hearted.

second for “boys in the boat”, reads like a movie script

most inspirational book I’ve ever read is “Fearless” by Eric Blehm. about Seal Team 6 operator Adam Brown. has an endless stream of twists and turns that are truly motivational

favorite sports related novel is “once a runner” by john parker


I read a lot of mountaineering and thru-hiking stuff because there aren’t a lot of cycling books like this. I should write one…

ETA: Ultra running too

1 Like

Sadly, the most obvious example in this genre comes from a now disgraced Texan…

The following website also showcases some notable stories.

BBC Wales - BBC Wales - The sportsmen who overcame adversity to excel in their sport

The Netflix documentary about the Transcontinental race might also pique her interest; iirc, some of the participants in that had battled various issues.

1 Like

Ah yes, I think I have a copy of this somewhere. Thank you for the reminder!

Thanks folks, a few suggestions there to look into :slight_smile:

Check out titles by Dervla Murphy and Anne Mustoe. Well written books by normal, inspiring women. Murphy’s " Full Tilt" is a particularly good read. Sadly, both of them are no longer with us.

Also worth a mention is Jane Tomlinson.

1 Like

+1 for Fearless
Boys in the Boat is also very good

Pretty sure the Vegan Cyclist broke his leg at the end of one of his Impossible Routes. I don’t have a great recollection but I’m pretty sure he talks about the injury and the emotional toll with his typical positive outlook. You should be able to find all of this on YouTube.

Years ago, I read " Engage: The Fall and Rise of Matt Hampson" (

Not cycling related, but I found his ability to find the positives of his situation inspiring.

Divide By One

Grace overcomes a lot of obstacles to complete the Tour Divide. Good read. Not the best book in the world, but I think it hits what you’re looking for.
(I really loved The Boys in the Boat.)
I’d also recommend Lessons in Chemistry. Not totally sports related, but a lot of woman-overcoming-many-obstacles.

Further, you might also recommend to your friend Carrie Jackson’s The Injured Athletes Club. There’s a book, podcast, website… lots of stuff.