An entertaining social and cultural history of cycling in post-war Europe seen through the eyes of a veteran racing cyclist.
Written with great literary and historical relish, One More Kilometre examines the spread of cycling’s popularity, how it developed into a sport and how the bicycle has changed people’s lives – all viewed through the eyes of a seasoned 56-year-old racing cyclist/art critic who keeps eleven racing cycles in his garden shed and who never cycles less than 10,000 miles a year.
The book starts with the 1950s, regarded as the golden age of cycling, and when the author, ‘an unhappy communist child’, first discovered cycling and its emancipating powers. Progressing through four decades of cycling social history, the author will examine cycling as a Continental phenomenon, the rise and fall of the Tour de France; the lives of the great ‘trackmen’; cycling in its domestic form, cycling for fun, the ever-popular British cycling clubs – some of which are over one hundred years old and are home to many fellow eccentrics, fanatics and old-timers, like the author’s friend, ‘the Yorkshire junior road race champion of 1954, now living in a caravan, crippled and penniless with his much younger companion a taxidermist – beautiful and cruel’.
One More Kilometre is a lovely blend of personal anecdote, serious history and informed obsession, combining gentle humour, personal reminiscence and good history into a beguiling whole.
‘A deeply affectionate mental scrapbook … Hilton has the skill as a writer to make the subject of cycling fresh and compelling again. Fascinating … Exuberant’ Matt Seaton, Guardian
‘An exhilarating work … just the book for anyone who, shooting past a traffic jam on the way to work, imagines himself wearing the winner’s yellow jersey at the head of the Tour de France pack’ Independent
‘Tim Hilton is a man of sardonic humour as well as high intelligence … his book is one of the most unusual, eccentric and captivating ever written by a “wheelman”’ Geoffrey Wheatcroft, Daily Mail
‘A hugely engaging history of the sport’ Simon O’Hagan, Books of the Year, Independent on Sunday
‘A charmingly eccentric account of his love of cycling, mixed in with a history of the sport’ John Preston, Books of the Year, Sunday Telegraph
‘Hilton is a brilliantly quirky, inventive writer … A wonderful testament to a life in the saddle’ Daily Telegraph
‘Remarkably infectious and richly atmospheric; so much so that the effect is like being hoisted up on to his handlebars and swept along for the ride. His enthusiasm drives everything forward at an exhilarating lick’ Sunday Telegraph
About the author
Tim Hilton has been an art critic on the Guardian and the Independent on Sunday and has written art history books on the Pre-Raphaelites and Picasso, among others. He has been an avid cyclist for over forty years and cycles at least 10,000 miles a year.