Pezcyclingnews: Pez Bookshelf: Switchbacks, Vol. 1 Rhne-alps


Jan 3, 2005
Book Review: Over the years we have reviewed many wonderful cycling books that have come to us from around the world: coffee table books on old steel racing machines; cookbooks and training suggestions; autobiographies of greater and lesser figures in the peloton; and a single book describing Belgian road surfaces. But the best books of all are about great climbs, the roads that hurt so much while providing unforgettable vistas and a sense of accomplishment. Into this category falls an unusual new book by Hank Barlow entitled Switchbacks, with a hopeful indication of Vol. 1.American Hank Barlow has a background in writing, covering skiing as well as cycling at some point and in 1994 he moved to France permanently. This has allowed him to indulge a great passion: the discovery of beautiful climbs, primarily in Southeastern France, on his bicycle, currently a custom titanium Erickson. As he notes he has written articles as a job in the past for the money but this book is a work of pleasure, a labour of love. One conjures up an image of this white-haired foreigner, cruising the back roads of la Grande Nation on his silver bicycle, unfolding his paper map at quiet intersections, chatting with the locals and capturing the odd moments on his camera before turning off into a quaint cafe. He takes enormous joy in his cols and wants to share them with everyone:You know when you eat at some restaurant that just blows your mind, or read some book...

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