Putnam Books It's Not About the Bike Book

4.81/5 (21 Reviews)
MSRP : $24.95


Product Description

The inspiring journey of world-class hero Lance Armstrong, from the dark night of advanced cancer through his dramatic victory in the 1999 Tour de France, and beyond. ISBN: 0399146113


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Reviews 1 - 15 (21 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by brendan a Cross Country Rider from pittsburgh, pa, usa

Date Reviewed: December 3, 2007

Strengths:    the best autobiography i have ever read and Lance is one of the most interesting and unique individuals in the world today. Completely determined and a competitive machine, but he is no idiot, this book reads better than anything most authors have ever written.

Weaknesses:    I didn't read it sooner.

Bottom Line:   
its definitely better than watching cycling on tv!

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Favorite Trail:   bavington

Duration Product Used:   More than 3 years

Purchased At:   gift

Bike Setup:   two wheels, handlebars, drive chain, brakes and a seat/seat post.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by adam from earth

Date Reviewed: December 23, 2002

Bottom Line:   
this is a good book and i dont read, ever. my girlfriend bought me this book after i looked at it and read it in about 5 days. i learned about lance's background, family and racing as well as getting a lot better understanding of what the cancer was like. i would say if you have an intrest about this, read the book

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Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month


Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Sprocketeer a Cross Country Rider from Narashino, Chiba, Japan (native of New York)

Date Reviewed: March 5, 2002

Strengths:    Hard cover withstands most crashes.

Quality paper repells bicycle grease better than most.

Just fits in my CamelBak M.U.L.E..

The ink doesn't run after riding in a typhoon, though it takes a long time to dry out the book.

The ink smells of adrenaline.


Weaknesses:    Heavier than a paperback, making hill climbs more difficult.

Dark blue cover is hard to see during a night ride--requiring the addition of reflective stickers or a flashing light for safety.

"Hey! This book really ISN'T about the bike. Dammit!!"


Bottom Line:   
I had to stop myself from reading this book all in one day and managed to pace myself out to five days. I'm a rather careful reader, but this was one of those books that I couldn't put down--which is unusual for me.

For one thing, this book is SO GOOD despite that the writing doesn't come across as the work of a professional writer. Sally Jenkins managed to maintain Lance Armstrong's voice on the page, so that it mostly reads like a very long e-mail or conversation over beer with Lance Armstrong himself. You would never get this kind of personal-style expression and energy out a person in an interview, giving me the feeling that this really is a book BY Lance Armstrong with significant guidance and help by Sallie Jenkins. The ink smells of adrenaline.

A couple of the chapters do read like professional writing, but it's not overdone and strengthens the readability and enjoyment of the book.

I can only think of one chapter--which was entirely about the bike--that started to get boring because it was full of Lance Armstrong just blowing his own horn. On the other hand, it was kind of Mohammad Ali, "Fly like a butterfly, sting like a bee" of him, and showed the real mind of a competitive athlete. All of us who have competed in a hardcore sport on a national or international level have that attitude about ourselves, and it just serves to show that Lance Armstrong is/was no different. It served to connect all of us jerks to the one we admire the most, to evaluate our attitudes and then get a lesson from Lance Armstrong's experience of fighting for his life and his humanity rather than just fighting to win more.

What makes this book really great is that it seems like it's several books, but they're all tied together well. Yeah, it is about the bike at some points, about the Tour at others, about racing, cancer, and his mother--but it's not a jumble of these things. Nor is it some junkie book about a person who just happened to catch national attention, like The Amy Fischer Story or whatever crap is out there about Tonya Harding or some of our instantly famous heros who cash in on that first fifteen minutes of fame. It's not understated, and not overstated.

Will people who are not athletes or related in some way to serious athletes enjoy this book? I have no idea. Maybe they can't relate, maybe they'll like it for some other reason, but for us titans out there--in sports or business or whatever--this is a great read.

What the Book of Five Rings is to teaching people how to be more competitive, this book is to teaching competitive people to be more human.

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Favorite Trail:   I like it rough and dirty, baby!!

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Purchased At:   It was a birthday gift. My mother knew I REALLY wanted it.

Similar Products Used:   I graduated from an ivy league college--OK, I confess, it was Harvard, commence hating me now. Needless to say, I've read hundreds upon hundreds of books--I could probably wear the maillot jaune in the Tour de Waterstone's--but I can only think of five books out of all of those that I enjoyed as much as this one.

Bike Setup:   Trek racing geometry frame with race level components I chose and mostly installed myself. Next month I'm buying a Trek 8000, my first completely brand new, fresh-from-the-manufacturer bicycle. After reading this book, I'm basically ready to spontaneously combust with anticipation.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Al from Lincoln, NE USA

Date Reviewed: October 4, 2001

Bottom Line:   
Read it. I checked the book out from the library to have something to read on the airplane, but I couldn't put it down and read it in 24 hours. I had to read magazines on the plane. Lance portrays himself (appropriately) as a tough competitive racer, and he says some nice things about himself, but he also reveals sides of him that one would not want to emulate. You will find yourself inspired, but you won't find yourself wanting to imitate every aspect of Lance's character. I sensed that reflected honesty in the book and I appreciated it.

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Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Bike Setup:   Roadie - Nice 1972 Schwinn Paramount with original Campy, 2001 Litespeed Blue Ridge set up for touring, Meridian Ascension tandem.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Kenn a Cross Country Rider from Allen, TX

Date Reviewed: July 18, 2001

Strengths:    Easy reading that is inspiring.

Weaknesses:    None, except maybe more, more, more.

Bottom Line:   
I picked up this book last year just as the TDF was starting. It was pretty cool watching everything unfold on TV as I read the book. Like the title says, it is not a book about riding. There are parts about his riding, but that is not the focus. You will learn and understand the sometimes cocky and brash Lance, but being that way is a quality that got him where he is today. It shows how faithful he is to his true friends and family. Lance lets you see the good and bad in him, rather than just the fluff. If you are a Lance Armstrong fan at all, it is a MUST READ! ! !

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Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Price Paid:    $15.00


Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Neeek a Weekend Warrior from Sydney, NSW, Australia

Date Reviewed: July 10, 2001

Strengths:    Inspirational, compelling.

Weaknesses:    Nada.

Bottom Line:   
Read it. It'll make you think and re-evaluate what's important and what's not important.

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Favorite Trail:   Mt Stromlo forest

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $15.00

Purchased At:   LBS

Similar Products Used:   Ummm... out of context??

Bike Setup:   Not important...

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Tom from Seattle WA

Date Reviewed: April 30, 2001

Bottom Line:   
I wish my mind and goals were as clear and unscattered as Armstrong's. There's a guy who doesn't suffer from option-induced apathy. Quick, easy read, inspiring, made me weepy.

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Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month


Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:3
Submitted by Corey Kronkhyte a Downhiller from Calaveras

Date Reviewed: February 1, 2001

Strengths:    It reads easy enough and is fairly compelling.

Weaknesses:    A lot about Lance, would have liked to read more about pro racing.

Bottom Line:   
I used to be a big fan of Lance having come from a road background. The more I read the book, and his fight with cancer, the more I expected him to change from rodie prick to good person. But it didn't happen. Not only is he the same, but seems to want to brag about it in his book. I wish I had the money back I spent on the book. It's also going to be interesting how this whole illegal substance thing and the Post Office team and the yellow jersey thing finally washes out. ESPN.com is covering it under "other sports".

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Favorite Trail:   PINBALL

Duration Product Used:   Tested or demo'ed only

Price Paid:    $20.00

Purchased At:   Amazon

Similar Products Used:   none

Bike Setup:   Heckler, LX, XT, XTR. Answer SX LE in front, Fox Binella in back.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Wufei Chang a Cross Country Rider from houston TX

Date Reviewed: January 22, 2001

Strengths:    Great Read, really good book

Weaknesses:    i failed a test at school cause i was reading and not studying

Bottom Line:   
good book, go read it, just go get it, you'll like it, i Guarentee it, oh and ps, screw spell check, eh?

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Favorite Trail:   anthills

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Purchased At:   library

Similar Products Used:   books?!?!

Bike Setup:   sure it matters....

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Talenthound a Cross Country Rider from Flower Mound, TX

Date Reviewed: January 22, 2001

Bottom Line:   
Similar to other reviewers I couldn't put it down once started. It is suprisingly well written and well laid out. I have never read an account of cancer with this amount of detail, what chemo is really like, what your body goes through and your mind. It increased my appreciated of his accomplishments tremendously. His account of his comeback is inspiring to anyone, cyclist or not. Well worth the read.

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Favorite Trail:   Grapevine N. Shore

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month


Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Jorin a Racer from Rosetown, Sk, Canada

Date Reviewed: January 17, 2001

Strengths:    An excellent read!

Bottom Line:   
This book should appeal to more than just cyclists. Funny, frightening (Chemo!) and a joy to read.

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Favorite Trail:   A smooth road

Duration Product Used:   6 months

Price Paid:    $12.00

Purchased At:   Chapters

Bike Setup:   Cannondale CAAD3

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Duane Gran a Racer from Washington, DC

Date Reviewed: January 7, 2001

Bottom Line:   
I devoured this book in 48 hours, unable to put it down at times. It has a natural appeal to cyclists, especially those of us who see a deeper meaning to what we do. Although I just finished reading to book, I feel comfortable saying that its inspirational effect will be long felt. I will be recommending the book to others.

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Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month


Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Pam from Baltimore, MD USA

Date Reviewed: December 15, 2000

Strengths:    A good story. Inspiring. Easy read.

Weaknesses:    None really.

Bottom Line:   
An inspiring story that reads well. The deepest part: When on the drive home from the doctor's, after finding out about his cancer, he is worrying about his cycling career. Then once home and on the phone to tell a friend, he breaks down, realizing that not only could his career be over, but he could die. It's a story for anyone, not just cyclists.

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Favorite Trail:   Schaffer Farm & Patapsco St. Park Avalon

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $20.00

Purchased At:   Barnes and Noble

Similar Products Used:   N/A

Bike Setup:   N/A

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Kenn a Weekend Warrior from Allen, TX

Date Reviewed: December 5, 2000

Strengths:    Great Book, easy reading, captures you attention pretty quick. I read it just as the Tour de France started this year, which made it just that more interesting.

Weaknesses:    None to think of. More picture for those of us that have fallen on our heads once too many.

Bottom Line:   
Great book. The title "It's not about the bike" is only partialy true. Living where Lance grew up and riding some of the same roads, made the book very interesting. Even knowing some of the people mentioned was surprizing. The main part of the book is about his battle with cancer, but you get a very good look at Lance, the man, and what it takes to be a world class rider. You see how brash he was and how he attacked the world. The reader is able to pick up a lot about riding and racing just from the little bit discussed. I found it very inspirational for my personal life as well as for my bike riding. Best book I have read this year. Come borrow my copy if you can't afford it yourself.

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Favorite Trail:   Road or Trail....just get me on the bike

Duration Product Used:   6 months

Price Paid:    $16.00

Bike Setup:   Road: Trek 5200....Trail: Diamondback Z-Tech 4.1

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Brian a Cross Country Rider from Massachusetts

Date Reviewed: September 17, 2000

Strengths:    easy to read
true story of struggle and triumph over incredible odds
has pictures in the middle :)


Weaknesses:    none except there should be a softcover version too for cheap ppl like me

Bottom Line:   
Excellent book, i couldn't put it down, stayed up most of the night reading... its not all about bikes though but it has enough stuff about them to keep anyone happy

Expand full review >>

Duration Product Used:   Less than 1 month

Price Paid:    $20.00

Purchased At:   amazon.com

Similar Products Used:   yes i read books


Reviews 1 - 15 (21 Reviews Total) | Next 15

Review Options:  Sorted by Latest Review | Sort by Best Rating


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