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First published in 1990, Rough Ride is one of the greatest books ever written about the life of a professional athlete. Almost twenty years later, Yellow Jersey is publishing an updated edition of this cycling classic, with a new foreword by the author which reflects on his life both inside and outside the sport.

Paul Kimmage's boyhood dreams were of cycling glory: wearing the yellow jersey, cycling the Tour de France, becoming a national hero. He knew it wouldn't come easy, but he was prepared to put in the graft: he spent his teenage years cycling an average of 400 miles per week.

The dedication began to pay off. As an amateur, he represented his country and finished sixth in the World Championships. In 1986 he turned professional. That's when reality hit. He soon discovered it wasn't about glory and courage, and it wasn't about how much training you put in or how much you wanted to win. It was about gruelling defeats, complete and utter exhaustion, and it was about drugs. Not drugs that would ensure victory, but drugs that would allow you to finish the race and start another day.

Paul Kimmage left the sport to write this book. It is a powerful and frank account that breaks the law of silence surrounding the issue of drugs in sport. An eye-opening expose and a heartbreaking lament, it is a book that anyone interested in any sport should read.


Rough Ride
Average rating
4.5 / 5
Good read for cycling fans
March 12th, 2014
Great insight into the world of professional cycling. Cycling in the 80's does not sound to glamorous for the average domestique. I wonder if it's changed a lot compared to today?
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1 review
A great insight into cycling
December 27th, 2013
This is a great read and although the events are now some time ago, it is very relevant to the recent and devastating exposure of drugs in cycling. If you want to understand how Armstrong could get away with his drug taking, this let's you know how with its opening of the covers in a systemic corruption of the sport.
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1 review
Fantastic book
May 31st, 2013
A great book that dares take the reader into the reality of professional cycling. Hats off and a big Thumbs up to Paul Kimmage.
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1 review
Rough ride
January 10th, 2013
Generally well written, but really, should there still be glaring typos? I appreciate his cynicism, but I found him, as an athlete, to be weak. He quit race after race, stage after stage, and in the end cried, " it wasn't my fault." I used drugs only three times, but the blame lies with the system. He made choices and they weren't Sophie's. By all means attack the system at every level - in this he doesn't quit - but first take personal responsibility. Btw, if I'd had his talent, I'm quite certain I would have doped with the best and the rest.
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1 review

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