30 books like Bicycle

By David V. Herlihy,

Here are 30 books that Bicycle fans have personally recommended if you like Bicycle. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Third Policeman

Evan P. Schneider Author Of A Simple Machine, Like the Lever

From my list on the beautiful act of bicycling.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a cyclist from a young age (thanks to the encouragement and engineering of my dad—he literally welded one of my first bikes together from the carcass of another kid’s bike that was run over by a car in his driveway on accident), I’ve always had a fondness for bicycles and, more specifically, *riding* bicycles. So, as is probably common for anyone who is fond of something, I’ve spent years exploring it from as many angles as possible. In the process, I’ve loved studying bicycles in motion, along with collecting artistic and philosophical expressions that center the act of getting around on two wheels under your own power. 

Evan's book list on the beautiful act of bicycling

Evan P. Schneider Why did Evan love this book?

I’ll caveat that The Third Policeman isn’t going to delight everyone—it’s a wacky, somewhat bewildering book to wander through.

But it’s also masterfully written, and one of the most creative and exalted ways I know of bicycles appearing in literature.

Probably better known for his novel At Swim-Two-Birds, O’Brien brings the bicycle to life in this murky murder mystery that doubles as a philosophical exploration on humanness and reality.

It’s as if Samuel Beckett wrote a play that prominently features bicycles, directed by the Coen Brothers.

By Flann O'Brien,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Third Policeman as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Third Policeman is Flann O'Brien's brilliantly dark comic novel about the nature of time, death, and existence. Told by a narrator who has committed a botched robbery and brutal murder, the novel follows him and his adventures in a two-dimensional police station where, through the theories of the scientist/philosopher de Selby, he is introduced to "Atomic Theory" and its relation to bicycles, the existence of eternity (which turns out to be just down the road), and de Selby's view that the earth is not round but "sausage-shaped." With the help of his newly found soul named "Joe, " he…


Book cover of Around the World on a Bicycle - From San Francisco to Tehran

Peter Zheutlin Author Of Spin: A Novel Based on a (Mostly) True Story

From my list on bicycles and cycling.

Why am I passionate about this?

About thirty years ago I learned that my great-grandaunt Annie was, arguably, the first woman to circle the world by bicycle (1894-1895) and I spent years rescuing her story from the trash bin of history, for she was virtually forgotten for more than a century. An avid cyclist myself, Annie became both my muse and my inspiration. She was an outlandish character who stepped far outside the bounds of what was expected for women of her time; among other things, she was the married mother of three young children when she took off from Boston for fifteen months on the road, and she pioneered sports-related marketing for women, securing corporate sponsors and adorning her body and her bicycle with advertisements wherever she traveled.

Peter's book list on bicycles and cycling

Peter Zheutlin Why did Peter love this book?

First published in 1887, Stevens was the first person to circumnavigate the earth on a bicycle, and a high-wheeler at that. Over three years he pedaled, pushed, and dragged his bicycle through all corners of the globe on one of the most epic journeys ever undertaken.

By Thomas Stevens,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Around the World on a Bicycle - From San Francisco to Tehran as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Around the World on a Bicycle - From San Francisco to Tehran" is a fascinating and profusely-illustrated account of an epic bicycle journey around the world. Starting in America and travelling through Europe, the Middle East, and Finally Asia, the author's entire adventure is here chronicled for the enjoyment of bicycle and travel enthusiasts alike. Contents include: "Over the Sierras Nevadas", "Over the Deserts of Nevada", "Through Mormon-Land and over the Rockies", "From the Great Plains to the Atlantic", "From America to the German Frontier", "Germany, Austria, and Hungary", "Through Slavonia and Servia", "Bulgaria, Roumella, and into Turkey", "Through European…


Book cover of Catfish and Mandala: A Two-Wheeled Voyage Through the Landscape and Memory of Vietnam

Peter Zheutlin Author Of Spin: A Novel Based on a (Mostly) True Story

From my list on bicycles and cycling.

Why am I passionate about this?

About thirty years ago I learned that my great-grandaunt Annie was, arguably, the first woman to circle the world by bicycle (1894-1895) and I spent years rescuing her story from the trash bin of history, for she was virtually forgotten for more than a century. An avid cyclist myself, Annie became both my muse and my inspiration. She was an outlandish character who stepped far outside the bounds of what was expected for women of her time; among other things, she was the married mother of three young children when she took off from Boston for fifteen months on the road, and she pioneered sports-related marketing for women, securing corporate sponsors and adorning her body and her bicycle with advertisements wherever she traveled.

Peter's book list on bicycles and cycling

Peter Zheutlin Why did Peter love this book?

This New York Times Notable Book of the Year by a Vietnamese-American who was forced to flee his native country after the fall of Saigon is both travelogue and memoir, beautifully written, and a profound meditation on identity.

By Andrew X. Pham,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Catfish and Mandala as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Jack Kerouac meets "Wild Swans".' The Times. A voyage through Vietnam's ghost-ridden landscape, at once a moving memoir, travelogue and compelling search for identity.

Vietnamese-born Andrew Pham finally returns to Saigon, not as a success showering money and gifts onto his family, but as an emotional shipwreck, desperate to find out who he really is. When his sister, a post-operative transsexual, committed suicide, Pham sold all his possessions and embarked on a year-long bicycle journey that took him through the Mexican desert; around a thousand-mile loop from Narita to Kyoto in Japan; and, after five months and 2,357 miles, to…


Book cover of Life Is a Wheel: Memoirs of a Bike-Riding Obituarist

Peter Zheutlin Author Of Spin: A Novel Based on a (Mostly) True Story

From my list on bicycles and cycling.

Why am I passionate about this?

About thirty years ago I learned that my great-grandaunt Annie was, arguably, the first woman to circle the world by bicycle (1894-1895) and I spent years rescuing her story from the trash bin of history, for she was virtually forgotten for more than a century. An avid cyclist myself, Annie became both my muse and my inspiration. She was an outlandish character who stepped far outside the bounds of what was expected for women of her time; among other things, she was the married mother of three young children when she took off from Boston for fifteen months on the road, and she pioneered sports-related marketing for women, securing corporate sponsors and adorning her body and her bicycle with advertisements wherever she traveled.

Peter's book list on bicycles and cycling

Peter Zheutlin Why did Peter love this book?

Weber was for many years the lead obituary writer for The New York Times, hence the somewhat odd subtitle of this wry chronicle of a bicycle journey from Oregon to New York City. Weber has a sardonic wit that may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

By Bruce Weber,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Life Is a Wheel as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Life Is a Wheel chronicles the cross-country bicycle trip Bruce Weber made at the age of fifty-seven, an “entertaining travel story filled with insightful thoughts about life, family, and aging” (The Associated Press).

During the summer and fall of 2011, Bruce Weber, an obituary writer for The New York Times, bicycled across the country, alone, and wrote about it as it unfolded. Life Is a Wheel is the witty, inspiring, and reflective diary of his journey, in which the challenges and rewards of self-reliance and strenuous physical effort yield wry and incisive observations about cycling and America, not to mention…


Book cover of Wheels of Change: How Women Rode the Bicycle to Freedom (with a Few Flat Tires Along the Way)

Peter Zheutlin Author Of Spin: A Novel Based on a (Mostly) True Story

From my list on bicycles and cycling.

Why am I passionate about this?

About thirty years ago I learned that my great-grandaunt Annie was, arguably, the first woman to circle the world by bicycle (1894-1895) and I spent years rescuing her story from the trash bin of history, for she was virtually forgotten for more than a century. An avid cyclist myself, Annie became both my muse and my inspiration. She was an outlandish character who stepped far outside the bounds of what was expected for women of her time; among other things, she was the married mother of three young children when she took off from Boston for fifteen months on the road, and she pioneered sports-related marketing for women, securing corporate sponsors and adorning her body and her bicycle with advertisements wherever she traveled.

Peter's book list on bicycles and cycling

Peter Zheutlin Why did Peter love this book?

Written for young adults and kids, this book does an excellent job teaching an underappreciated (and relatively unknown) chapter in women’s history. We take the bicycle for granted today, but it was the catalyst for radical changes in the lives of women in the U.S. and Europe in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

By Sue Macy,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Wheels of Change as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Take a lively look at women's history from aboard a bicycle, which granted females the freedom of mobility and helped empower women's liberation. Through vintage photographs, advertisements, cartoons, and songs,aWheels of Changeatransports young readers to bygone eras to see how women used the bicycle to improve their lives. Witty in tone and scrapbook-like in presentation, the book deftly covers early (and comical) objections, influence on fashion, and impact on social change inspired by the bicycle, which, according to Susan B. Anthony, "has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world." NCSS-Notable Social Studies Trade Books in the…


Book cover of The Rider

Kathleen Jowitt Author Of A Spoke in the Wheel

From my list on cycling novels that put you right in the heart of the action.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a cyclist and a cycling fan. I’ve commuted through the Surrey countryside by tricycle and explored the cycling city of Cambridge by bike. I’ve stood at the side of the road to cheer on the Olympic road race, the Tour de France and the Tour of Britain, and the World Road Cycling Championships. I kept on cycling until I was eight and a half months pregnant and was reading a biography of Beryl Burton when I went into labour. There aren’t a lot of cycling novels out there, but I’m proud of having added one to that small number.

Kathleen's book list on cycling novels that put you right in the heart of the action

Kathleen Jowitt Why did Kathleen love this book?

It takes a certain kind of person to succeed in the sport of cycling, and The Rider is possibly the closest I’ll ever get to understanding that mindset. This book tops every list of recommendations of cycling novels that I’ve ever seen and with good reason.

Told in the first person, it’s completely immersive. We follow the narrator through a single day’s race, and we feel all of it as he does: the slog, the suffering, the drive to win. I might have wondered why he kept going, but the simple act of reading the book answers that question: you can’t stop. I barely drew breath.

By Tim Krabbé,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Rider as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

At the start of the 137-kilometre Tour de Mont Aigoual, Tim Krabbe glances up from his bike to assess the crowd of spectators. 'Non-racers,' he writes. 'The emptiness of those lives shocks me.' Immediate and gripping from the first page, we race with the author as he struggles up the hills and clings on during descents in the unforgiving French mountains.

Originally published in 1978, The Rider is a modern-day classic that is recognised as one of the best books ever written about the sport. Brilliantly conceived and best read at a break-neck pace, it is a loving, imaginative and…


Book cover of Bicycle

Evan P. Schneider Author Of A Simple Machine, Like the Lever

From my list on the beautiful act of bicycling.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a cyclist from a young age (thanks to the encouragement and engineering of my dad—he literally welded one of my first bikes together from the carcass of another kid’s bike that was run over by a car in his driveway on accident), I’ve always had a fondness for bicycles and, more specifically, *riding* bicycles. So, as is probably common for anyone who is fond of something, I’ve spent years exploring it from as many angles as possible. In the process, I’ve loved studying bicycles in motion, along with collecting artistic and philosophical expressions that center the act of getting around on two wheels under your own power. 

Evan's book list on the beautiful act of bicycling

Evan P. Schneider Why did Evan love this book?

One of the most compelling parts of this gem of a book are Adam Thompson’s immaculate line drawings that capture the artfulness, and beautiful simplicity, at the heart of a bicycle ride—their white space pulls you in and invites you to imagine the landscape and circumstances around them.

Bicycles, and the paths they forge, take many shapes, but in the hands of Fattaruso and Thompson those shapes take center stage, and the essence of bicycling shines.

It’s a lovely interlude that always makes me nostalgic for riding a single speed on a rural road at the height of summer.

By Paul Fattaruso, Adam Thompson (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Bicycle as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Somewhere between prose poem and sacred incantation lies Bicycle. In spare, comically surreal and beautiful prose, Paul Fattaruso does for bicycles what Richard Brautigan did for trout—he elevates them to the status of an idol. An intimate, inventive, and vibrant book.

Paul Fattaruso is the author of Travel in the Mouth of the Wolf. His work has appeared in Volt, Jubilat, Fence, Black Warrior Review, Another Chicago Magazine, The Tiny, and others. He lives in Massachusetts with his wife Kristin and his son Max. He rides a silver bicycle.


Book cover of The Best of Boneshaker: A Bicycling Almanac

Evan P. Schneider Author Of A Simple Machine, Like the Lever

From my list on the beautiful act of bicycling.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a cyclist from a young age (thanks to the encouragement and engineering of my dad—he literally welded one of my first bikes together from the carcass of another kid’s bike that was run over by a car in his driveway on accident), I’ve always had a fondness for bicycles and, more specifically, *riding* bicycles. So, as is probably common for anyone who is fond of something, I’ve spent years exploring it from as many angles as possible. In the process, I’ve loved studying bicycles in motion, along with collecting artistic and philosophical expressions that center the act of getting around on two wheels under your own power. 

Evan's book list on the beautiful act of bicycling

Evan P. Schneider Why did Evan love this book?

If you’ve ever found yourself commuting by bicycle across a city on a wet winter’s night, or wondered about riding across the country, there are nuggets of raw truth and solidarity in the essays, interviews, stories, artwork, and poetry that compromise The Best of Boneshaker.

Ten years in the making, this throwback, almanac-inspired collection features contributors that range from Lee Ranaldo (of Sonic Youth) to writer Kjerstin Johnson, poets Michael Bazzett and Susan Moore, and Colorado Book Award-winning author and journalist Jonathan Waldman.

It’s been called a delightful companion for you and your bike, and for good reason. If you’re looking for inspiration to get out on your bike more often, it lies within these pocket-sized pages.  

By Evan P. Schneider (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Best of Boneshaker as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Book cover of The Wheels of Chance

Kathleen Jowitt Author Of A Spoke in the Wheel

From my list on cycling novels that put you right in the heart of the action.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a cyclist and a cycling fan. I’ve commuted through the Surrey countryside by tricycle and explored the cycling city of Cambridge by bike. I’ve stood at the side of the road to cheer on the Olympic road race, the Tour de France and the Tour of Britain, and the World Road Cycling Championships. I kept on cycling until I was eight and a half months pregnant and was reading a biography of Beryl Burton when I went into labour. There aren’t a lot of cycling novels out there, but I’m proud of having added one to that small number.

Kathleen's book list on cycling novels that put you right in the heart of the action

Kathleen Jowitt Why did Kathleen love this book?

I thought I’d finish this list with something more directly relevant to me and the millions of others who cycle just for pleasure and transport.

This charming book, in which a young man takes a holiday from his tedious job and encounters an equally liberated young woman, dates from the early days of the bicycle, and for me, it still captures the sense of freedom, of horizons opening up, that I experienced myself when I really got into cycling.

For me, it had an extra layer of enjoyment: I used to live in Surrey, and even at over a century’s remove, I could recognise some of the towns and landscapes the protagonists travel through. I really enjoyed the journey!

By H G Wells,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Wheels of Chance as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Complete and unabridged edition.

The Wheels of Chance was written at the height of the cycling craze (1890–1905), when practical, comfortable bicycles first became widely and cheaply available and before the rise of the automobile (see History of the bicycle). The advent of the bicycle stirred sudden and profound changes in the social life of England. Even the working class could travel substantial distances, quickly and cheaply, and the very idea of travelling for pleasure became a possibility for thousands of people for the first time. This new freedom affected many. It began to weaken the rigid English class structure…


Book cover of The Wheels of Chance: If You Fell Down Yesterday, Stand Up Today.

Roff Smith Author Of Cold Beer and Crocodiles: A Bicycle Journey into Australia

From my list on the golden age of globetrotting.

Why am I passionate about this?

Roff Smith is a travel writer, photographer, and longtime contributor to National Geographic magazine. He is the author of Cold Beer & Crocodiles, the story of his 10,000-mile nine-month solo cycling trek through the Australian outback, and Life on The Ice about his travels in Antarctica. Presently working on Travels at Home: A Cyclist on The English Landscape – a pandemic-inspired photography project.

Roff's book list on the golden age of globetrotting

Roff Smith Why did Roff love this book?

A work of fiction rather than a travelogue, this is a gently told story of a young cockney draper’s assistant, Hoopdriver, who sets off on a two-week cycling holiday along the south coast of England in the summer of 1895 – when the great Victorian cycling boom was at its peak. Revelling in his independence and the sense of boundless possibility that comes over him as he pedals grandly through the countryside, Hoopdriver finds himself coming to the aid of the mysterious and beautiful Young Lady in Grey, an upper-class female cyclist who is seeking to avoid the attentions of another cyclist, a wealthy cad named Bechamel. A shrewd social observer and a keen cyclist himself, Wells saw the bicycle as a vehicle for change, equality, and the breaking down of class barriers. Wheels of Chance captures beautifully that all too brief fin de siècle period when the future really…

By H.G. Wells,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Wheels of Chance as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is the annotated edition including the rare biographical essay by Edwin E. Slosson called "H. G. Wells - A Major Prophet Of His Time".

Mr. Wells's Wheels of Chance is assuredly one of the best books he has written. It is as delightful a jeu d'esprit as we have seen for many a day. Mr. Wells has a vein of the richest and most delicate humor, which enlivens every page. The hero is an original conception—original, because he comes from so very familiar a type that he is, indeed, the last hero a novelist would ordinarily select. He is…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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