Pro Cycling on $10 a Day: From Fat Kid to Euro Pro

Phil Gaimon | VeloPress, 312 Pages

Phil Gaimon | VeloPress, 312 Pages

Phil Gaimon writes, “I never asked to be a professional cyclist. I feel like it just happened to me, and before I realized it, I was chasing something.”

This book is a ride.

Pro Cycling on $10 a Day is an autobiographical telling of one rider’s scramble through the minor-league pro ranks. He wants to tell a story of “real pro cycling, every bit as pure and beautiful as the first time you took off your training wheels and felt the wind in your face.” But even Gaimon can’t completely steer clear of the dark edges of the sport.

He first got on a bike to lose his teenage fat and laziness and in two years, he signed a pro contract. Not a pro contract that included massages, private RVs and a full-time mechanic, but pretty much exactly the opposite. His is a story of paying the price to be a pro — financial, physical and psychological.

I couldn’t put this book down. Casual, conversational and somewhat coarse, Gaimon tells it like it is deep in the grind. With a punch of humour and little gloss, it’s dirt under the nails, skin on the pavement and heart in the stomach. He details his contract negotiations, his race failures and successes, the challenges of training and all the braindraining travel.

There are many names mentioned in the book with only a few repeating consistently throughout. Difficult keeping track of everyone but this also reveals the realities of the pro cyclist’s itinerant lifestyle.

Highly recommended.

— Tom Lundteigen