This book was short-listed for Cycling Book of the Year at the Cross British Sports Book Awards 2015. Cycling journalist Felix Lowe makes the leap from raconteur to rouleur, taking to the saddle for the first time to complete his very own grand tour of Europe. Lowe's light-hearted and entertaining travelogue charts his progress as he cycles 2,800 kilometres from Barcelona to Rome, crossing three countries and cycling over three mountain ranges, taking in some of cycling's most fabled climbs. As he follows in the tracks of some of the world's greatest wheel men, Lowe puts professional cycling's three major stage races - the Tour de France, Vuelta a Espana and Giro d'Italia - under the microscope, whilst capturing the potent mix of madness, humour and human spirit that make people identify with the sport so strongly.
Powered by local delicacies and his trademark blend of self-deprecating humour and barbed wit, Lowe takes readers on an immersive journey through the Catalonian countryside, over the Pyrenean foothills and the rolling plains of Languedoc, through the flowery fields of Provence, over winding Alpine passes, between the vineyards and olive groves of Piedmont, and down the Apennine backbone of Italy. His epic quest traces the footsteps of the celebrated Carthaginian general Hannibal, who led his own pachyderm peloton of 37 elephants over the Alps and all the way to the gates of Rome. As much about the regions traversed as the cyclists who have left their sweat in the soil, Lowe's insightful account celebrates the sport, examines the psychology of both the crazed amateur and the pedalling pro, and delves into the awesome march of a military genius who almost brought the Roman Empire to its knees.