The Rider

  • by Tim Krabbé
  • Narrated by Mark Meadows
  • 4 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

With The Rider, Tim Krabbé has created a book unique in the ranks of sporting literature. He describes one 150-kilometre race in just 150 pages. In the course of the narrative, we get to know the forceful, bumbling Lebusque, the aesthete Barthelemy, the Young Turk Reilhan, and the mysterious rider from Cycles Goff'. Krabbé battles with and against each of them in turn, failing on the descents, shining on the climbs, suffering on the (false) flats. The outcome of the race is, in fact, merely the last stanza of an exciting and too-brief paean to stamina, suffering, and the redeeming power of humour.
This is not a history of road racing, a hagiography of the European greats or even a factual account of his own amateur cycling career. Instead, Krabbé allows us to race with him, inside his skull as it were, during a mythical Tour de Mont Aigoual.


What the Critics Say

"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)
"A paean to pain and a hymn to the fellowship of the road. Nothing better is ever likely to be written on the subjective experience of cycle-racing." (The Guardian)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Ah, the beautiful words...

One of my favorite quotes from the book: "Every once in a while someone along the road lets us know how far behind we are. A man shouts: ‘Faster!’ He probably thinks bicycle racing is about going fast." Part memoir, part rant, part poetry, it is the story of a bike race in the subjective voice of one racer. The fictional 150 km 'Tour de Mont Aigoual' is the scene, and the characters are the fellow riders and the unforgiving terrain. I love how Krabbe so accurately renders the ceaseless inner monologues that occur while cycling. This book is perfectly suited to the audio format, and wonderfully performed by narrator Mark Meadows. The words, the language, are so beautifully crafted, so incisive, witty, and economical… I am so pleased that Krabbe turned his copious literary gifts toward cycling. This book has earned its status as a classic of sport writing.
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- Sparkly

Made me feel like I was racing along with him

What made the experience of listening to The Rider the most enjoyable?

As an amateur cyclist myself - I was looking for a book that took me inside the mind's eye of racer. This book did exactly that. Krabbe' takes the reader through a 135 Kilometer race - the Tour du Mont Aigoual, describing it in the first person. You will feel like you are along side him. Along the way, he describes a bit of history of his competition and has flashbacks to his youth. Whether as the kid racing friends around his block, a Chess Grandmaster, or, as he is now, a professional cyclist, Krabbe' has a competitive spirit that take him to the top cycling in that era.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Tim Krabbe' - he was the main Character / Racer in the tour and described things beautifully

Have you listened to any of Mark Meadows’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Not yet - but Mark Meadows did a fine job narrating it.

If you could rename The Rider, what would you call it?

As Hard as I can go - one rider's memoir about one of the toughest bike races in Europe.

Any additional comments?

I enjoyed the book a lot - there were one or two chapters which dragged on a little but by the last chapter - I was glued to my iphone listening to the narration like I was watching the final seconds of the Superbowl, with both teams tied and watching a long pass to the end zone. That's how I felt.

Good Job Tim - I'm going to be Googling you and this race and the riders you mentioned to find out more - you sparked my curiosity.

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- James

Book Details

  • Release Date: 02-27-2012
  • Publisher: Audible Studios