There are two main ways to learning and becoming a good all-around cyclist: learning from others and reading. Combining both is going to teach you the most in the shortest amount of time. With cycling there is so much to know that an entire career can be dedicated toward learning the in’s and out’s and what works best. Fortunately a number of top cycling coaches in the industry have put together their own books to help guide you toward getting the most out of your cycling. Even if you have the world’s greatest coach no one is going to know better than you how you feel and how your body responds to training, recovery, and all the other things that go into improving your cycling. Knowing more of the “science” behind training and why you should do things a certain way will help guide you in creating your own training plan as well as fine tuning it even if someone else is coaching you. All of these books below are great resources to bettering your cycling. They all are a bit different in their approach so finding the best one for you and your cycling is key.
The Cyclist’s Training Bible by Joe Friel
Price: $11 – $19
When a title has the word “Bible” in it, you know it must be good and encompass nearly everything you would need to know surrounding that topic. This book has it all on the training side of things. It is a bit more “science-y” and goes into a good bit of detail on why you should do things a certain way.
It includes how to set-out and create a year-round training plan that can be curtailed to your events as well as the areas that need work. It also includes what you need to do to optimize recovery including parts in nutrition as well as managing your body and injuries. As with any book of this nature, you probably won’t sit down and read it cover to cover but after you read the parts that you’re most interested in you will constantly flip back to it to consult on current issues or questions. This is a book that you will find on many cyclist’s book shelves as it’s worth its weight.
The Time-Crunched Cyclist by Chris Carmichael and Jim Rutberg
Price: $11 – $16
This book is much less detailed than that of The Cyclist’s Training Bible as it gives you what you need to do to get in shape in a short amount of time. This is for the rider who neither has enough time to ride and train to the degree that they would like nor has enough time to read a lengthy book.
There are many approaches to getting faster as a cyclist and this takes the approach of interval training which gives you the most “bang for your buck” for time. It includes a number of exact training plans that you can follow to get the most out of your riding. It also includes tips on nutrition and strength training to better your cycling from multiple perspectives.
Bike Racing 101 by Kendra Wenzel & René Wenzel
If you’re also getting into road racing specifically this book is your go to and is great in conjunction with The Cyclist’s Training Bible if you want a bit more detail on the ‘why’. It gives a bit of training advice but not to the same degree as the other two above. It has a larger focus around the racing and preparation itself including equipment, clothing, skills, nutrition, as well as tactics and etiquette in a race. It may seem a bit dated with the cover but the in’s and out’s don’t change, plus they have newer editions. This book can be used as a reference but you will get the most benefit if you sit down and read it cover to cover regardless if you’re looking to get into racing or already started and are finding some things a bit frustrating such as tactics.
Training and Racing With a Power Meter
Price: $11 – $14
Hunter Allen and Andy Coggan, PhD have completely revised the book that made power meters understandable for amateur and professional cyclists and triathletes.
Power meters have become essential tools for competitive cyclists and triathletes. No training tool can unlock as much speed and endurance as a power meter–for those who understand how to interpret their data. A power meter displays and records exactly how much energy a cyclist expends, which lends unprecedented insight into that rider’s abilities and fitness. With the proper baseline data, a cyclist can use a power meter to determine race strategy, pacing, and tactics.
Training and Racing with a Power Meter makes it possible to exploit the incredible usefulness of the power meter by explaining how to profile strengths and weaknesses, measure fitness and fatigue, optimize workouts, time race readiness, and race using power. This new edition:
- Enables athletes to predict future performance and time peak form
- Introduces fatigue profiling, a new testing method to pinpoint weaknesses
- Includes two training plans to raise functional threshold power and time peaks for race day
- Offers 75 power-based workouts tuned for specific training goals
- This updated edition also includes new case studies, a full chapter on triathlon training and racing, and improved 2-color charts and tables throughout.
Training and Racing with a Power Meter, will continue to be the definitive guide to the most important training tool ever developed for endurance sports.
All of these books will be incredibly helpful in your cycling endeavors. You can find them, as with anything these days, online, but they’re also probably in your local bookshop and/or bike shop. Also, since they are such great books, a lot of cyclists get them when they first start out and graduate from them and then they sit on their bookshelf untouched for years. Ask around your local cycling community if anyone has any of these that you could borrow or any ones like them as there are many. Read one, or all, and learn how to get the most out of your riding. There’s a lot more to training and racing than you ever would imagine and these books are great starting points.