Cycling can be a beautiful and dramatic sport on one hand and a wonderfully noble and enriching form of transport on the other. It has inspired some great literary genius’ over the last century and many coffee table books of spellbinding colour and imagery. Here I’ll write-up my latest read – generally the sportier kind and give credit to those with the courage to go from pen to publish. 

Come and Gone

A True Story of Blue-Collar Bike Racing in America

Bike racing is hard. Making a living out of doing it is therefore up there with the most difficult, body slamming professions there are. The races and glamour you see on TV, OK, “Le Tour…” are beyond even most of the guys and girls in this humbling job. So where are they at? What is their story?

Joe Parkin pens the picture in his Sequel novel to the beautifully gritty A Dog in a Hat. In Come and Gone Joe takes us away from his adopted home and center of bike racing universe, Belgium; back to his country of origin; the USA. Ironically fighting culture shock Joe struggles to come to grips with being a “pro” in the States, and without a worth while team and salary he is forced to check out the new school of cycle racing – mountain biking.

Now back in the early 90’s, Mountainbiking was riding a massive wave. Good money could be earned racing NORBA and World Cups. But true to Joe Parkin form, he was destined not to get enough results and remain on the fringe of the elite. Honest, humbling, and delivered straight up no chaser. If you want a great insight into the “real” world of trying to make it, then this is a worth while starting point – although I’d strongly recommend you give Joe’s hard-fought battles (and Bank balance) some extra credit and read A Dog in a Hat first.

Warning: this is not a motivator. There is no cancer surviving, and for his many years of service there are not really that many victories to gloss up. By the end of the book you can be a little disheartened and flattened by it all; pending on your perspective, this can be at once refreshing and discouraging. Through thick and thin, I’ll still love the sport and Joe’s tale makes it that much richer for me – 4 out of 5 starnut’s.


2 responses

9 11 2011
Evan Welsch

Heya Scott!
Nice to see what is going on over there!! How was your winter???
Quick question for you; what is the name of that sleek looking mag that you were planning to distribute?? I am trying to track it down for my coffee tables here… I miss seeing/working on bikes bro!!

Hope all is seriously great there, i really hope to run into you again someday!!

Evan Welsch

20 11 2011

Hey Mate,

I tried emailing back tou you but got shot down?! Rouleur is mag you want same as the one I “reviewed” on this blog a while back (main page). They are also doing a MTB mag now called Privateer that I reckon you’d seriously also love – very photograph driven and articles writen from the non-complromising heart. Still looking at bringing into NZ – watch this space…

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