A Racing Cyclist's Worst Nightmare

Tony Hewson
230pp plus 49pp b/w plates
ISBN-13: 978-1-874739-53-1(paperback)
£12.95


 
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A Racing Cyclist's Worst Nightmare and other stories of the Golden Age

Sheffielder Tony Hewson is a former champion racing cyclist who won the 1955 Tour of Britain and went on to represent his country in the Warsaw-Berlin-Prague and the Tour de France. His first book, In Pursuit of Stardom, was a widely acclaimed memoir of the 1950s telling how he and his companions faced handicap and privation in their struggle to earn a living a-wheel on the European continent. A Cyclist's Worst Nightmare covers a similar time-scope, though as a collection of individual but interrelated stories it employs a variety of different literary genres - autobiography, biography, discourse and fiction. Each piece can be enjoyed in its own right, while the work as a whole casts light on an era of UK cycling history in the aftermath of World War II that until now has been somewhat neglected and forgotten. Some events, for example, the tumultuous birth and demise of the rebel British League of Racing Cyclists that split the sport and framed its future, have ramifications to this day. From foul-mouthed Jean Robic ('I haven't enough enemies!') to aggressive Korean war-veteran Reg ('Heroes we were - fat thanks we get.') via bullied national service 'nutter' Michael ('a queer boy wi' them fancy togs n' that weird show-off bike'), the mood is one of a shared sense of grievance from real and imagined characters who see themselves as put-upons in search of recognition. The theme of the social outsider will ring bells with any reader who has ever been a committed cyclist in the British Isles, and will also be of interest to many who have not.

  1. The Fabulous Elsecar Cycling Club
  2. Furious Riding: Jean Robic
  3. Being Robic
  4. The Fraternity of the Buckshee Wheelers
  5. Itinerants
  6. Up the Leaguer
  7. Warsaw-Berlin-Prague 1956
  8. A Racing Cyclist's Worst Nightmare
  9. The Anatomy of a Road Race
  10. Nutters
  11. First Race, First Club
  12. Pusey and Me - Alter Egos
  13. The Day a British Tour was Lost and Won
  14. The Old Man and the Bicycle

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