Advantages a compelling read
Disadvantages too short
This is the story of an cyclist from Aryshire in Scotland who showed that an amateur with extraordinary vision and determination can take on the professionals and win.The one hour record, one of the most demanding in sport, is brutal in it's simplicity. Get on a bike, start pedalling, and stop after exactly one hour. If you have covered a greater distance than anyone else in this time you now hold the one hour record. In 1993 Graham Obree did exactly that, taking the over the record of Franceso Moser which had been set in 1983. What was more remarkable was that he did it while an amateur, and on a bike of his own design and manufacture. He repeated the feat a year later to win back his own record, and became the world champion in several cycling disiplines in the same year.
This book is unusual for a sporting autobiography, in that no ghost writer was employed. Graham tells his story in his own words with refreshing honesty, and this makes it a compelling read. He has the courage to tell his story warts and all, and it gives a great insight into the sport in general and his unique approach to it. It is well written with just the right amount of detail, and the ocassional flash of self deprecatory humour. The modesty of the man shines through, as his amazing achievements are described in a very matter of fact fashion.As the story unfolds it becomes clear that Graham is not only a very talented althete but also a naturally talented engineer. He designed and built his famous bike "Old Faithful" simply from bits and pieces he had lying around. The design was so good it allowed him to use a unique position which was more efficient than any that had been previously used. So efficient in fact that the governing body banned it. His response to this was to come up with another very efficient new position which was widely imitated by other competitors.
What makes his achievements even more impressive is that as you read through the book is it becomes increasingly clear that they were all acheived despite him suffering from a debilitating mental illness. This ultimately led to several suicide attempts, and finally admission to a mental hospital from which the book was written as a form of therapy.As the book ends it is clear that Graham is on the road to recovery, and there has been coverage in the media recently that he is back in training and may make an attempt on the record again, which is great news.
This is a very inspirational book especially for anyone suffering from mental illness. It shows that the seemingly impossible can be achieved against all the odds, with enough determination and talent.you can buy it from his website
www.obree.co.ukPaperback 288 pages (September 1, 2003)
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