Book Review: 21 Nights in July by Dr Ianto Ware

I have never watched the Tour de France, just seen brief excerpts of it on TV during July, but after reading this book, I will have to watch it. Maybe not the whole race, but parts of it at least.

Each chapter commences with an overview of a Tour Stage of the 2008 TdF, then moves onto other topics, either personal anecdotes from Ware’s life, or discussion of various technical aspects of cycling, or some historical information about the TdF. He calls this style of writing the “Chester-Carlson Memorial Non-Linear Narrative Structure”, and has this trade marked, presumably as a joke (I do not know anything about Chester-Carlson or his trade marked writing style). The illustrations are cute and I could not find an acknowledgement of them so I presume they are also the author’s ….Ware’s style is entertaining, light and self deprecating, but we are constantly made aware of his high level of education, both by his including it in his name on the cover, and his references to his doctoral studies. His doctorate is in the area of Cultural Studies, and as such informs his writing, giving us insights into the effects of cycling on our behaviour, all of which I agreed with of course, being an interested and thinking cyclist myself. He also delves into cycling areas I had not thought about or experienced, such as super fast descents and their effect on human perception (or at least the human who is descending super fast), all the while telling a lot about his personal life and his personality, in a way which makes him out to be a social failure, at least in the terms which mainstream society would measure such success or failure. However, Google revealed to me that he is now employed as the manager of Renew Adelaide, Renew of course being a phenonenon that originated in Newcastle and which seeks to makes use of disused buildings for the purposes of, usually, slightly fringe, arts and other businesses.His discussion of motorists I laughed at, as he describes them as panicked cattle and behaving irrationally as such, while cyclists are able to roam relatively safe and free on the roads so long as they “remain confident”. This type of discussion strikes a chord with me and would with all cyclists as we remember times of being not stuck in traffic. I also found most interesting his discussion of cadence, something I have experienced but not actually formulated into words. He makes me want to go out and really test this out on my next ride.

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2 Responses to Book Review: 21 Nights in July by Dr Ianto Ware

  1. Jess says:

    Great to see this book reviewed!! It’s almost impossible to put down isn’t it?

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