Book Recommendations?

Hello Alex and Other Members,

I have come across Joe Friel’s books and was going to read “Ride Inside” and “Cyclist’s Training Bible”. Are there any others that I should rather start with? I am a beginner in the biking/cycling arena and am just riding in the zone 1 and 2 (based on heartrate).

Long term goal would be to participate in events such as RAGBRAI (Iowa biking event, 7 day riding across Iowa)


1 Like

Hi Sai, What a great goal. I would love to have a goal like that too… maybe when my kids get older. I like Joe’s books and have a lot of respect for him, they have a lot of details which gets a bit over whelming but I know some top coaches that also have a lot of respect for Joe. I know a few others that don’t. People have been thinking there is new fancy ways to get faster and really there is not, sure top speeds of pro-riders slowly evolve but in the last years everyone said “TrainerRoad” is the way to get faster and now eveyone is saying the classic TrainerRoad plans only work for a minority group of riders… but definitly year round consistency makes a big difference and indoor training helps with that for most of us.

I think this book below is both a fun read (more entertaining than Joe’s books) as well as gets you more into the depths of performance.

I have not read “Ride Inside” I just bought it. Thanks for the idea…

For your goal, just keep riding consistently and make one ride a week slowly longer and longer until you build it up to 5-hours or so (if you can and enjoy it) and you should be doing well. Just make sure every 3 weeks you take a rest week and cut your volume close to half and do this build up period very slow. 10% a week and then a rest week once a month. Or learn to use the PMC chart in Intervals.ICU but you should be wearing HRM or have power meter on outdoor. Again focus on fun, and don’t forget to build recovery in. Recovery is incredibly important

  1. Very rarely more than 2 hard days in a row (then take a day off or very easy Zone 1 short ride)
  2. rest week once a month
  3. if you are consistent all year you need a yearly rest period too

Sorry you asked for books :slight_smile: for more fun reading I like the “Bike Snob” series :slight_smile: There are some good cycling science books but pretty deep. Even though I disagree with many of the ideas in it - Racing and Training with a power meter is a classic. It definitly has some good stuff but as we are seeing lately trying to equate intensity to time does not really work. You can’t fully compensate lack of time with increased intensity (but it can work in some cases).

1 Like

Thank you for the tips regarding how to train and also the book by Michael Hutchinson. I will check him out.

I have one question regarding the long ride. As of now, my longest ride on trainer is 70 minutes. I will add more time as you suggested. The question I have is: can I take 30 seconds to a minute during the longer time run? My sit-bones hurt and I am trying to get used to it, but still, I have to take a break and adjust. I am not tired, at least as long as I am in the zone 1 and 2 based on heart rate. So, the small break during the training is more for the sit bones than for the lack of energy. Is that allowed when we are training?


Build up slowly. If only 60 minutes is comfortable now that is good. I know a top coach that is a biomechanics expert and he does not recommend more than 90 minutes on an indoor trainer. The dynamic movements of outdoors are healthier. Many people do long indoor sessions without obvious problems but I am just passing on this wisdom. That said sure, you can take breaks, it’s not a problem. Outdoors we get lots of breaks. Stop lights, traffic… or just a sight seeing break. :slight_smile:

I enjoyed reading “The time crunched cyclist” by Chris Charmichael.

It is a bit controversial. A lot of people criticise the approach advocated in the book (which includes a few training plans), but in my opinion they’re missing the point.

The point of this book is if you’re limited on time per week and have an event coming up relatively soon (2-3 months) and need to build good fitness in a short period of time, then how can you go about it? If that sounds like you (not sure it is from your description to be honest) then it could be useful.

Those that criticise the methods in the book roll out the “base/build/specialty” mantra, but that really does miss the point because that’s a bigger investment in time (both hours per week and weeks/months leading up to an event).

I actually really like this book as well. It’s been a while since I read it and I rememebering I did not agree with all of it (not that I am right. :)… but I still agree with you it has a lot of good information and I have a lot of respect for CTS and Chris C.

Honestly, I am not going for the Ragbrai this year. Its July last week. I am hoping to be fit enough next year to be able to participate in the next year’s Ragbrai.

I will check out Chris’ book. I did come across him but in a negative way. The reason being not regarding the training approach per se, but regarding his bashing of the ketogenic diet/fat adapted diet.

Thanks for pointing out another book in my way.

I was a very strong believer in the keto approach and even though the science seems solid I am questioning it as I feel it’s easy to drive a poor way of eating (at least for me). I still strongly believe fat adapted can be beneficial and carb intolerance is a problem for most or all overweight people. All I really know is this stuff is seriously complex and the answer is usually “it depends.” I think training is much simpler than diet :slight_smile: