Good Reads – 'Mountains : Epic Cycling Climbs' by Michael Blann

'Mountains : Epic Cycling Climbs' (2nd Edition) by Michael Blann
I have always had a love of mountains. I grew up by the coast but take me into the majestic land of peaks and valleys and I suddenly feel at home. 'Mountains' by Michael Blann is the only book I have discovered that seems to be able to articulate this deep-seated emotional connection through print; it is a literal and pictographic window into the hidden beauty of the mountains of Europe. 

When I have toured across Europe on journeys like the #7Countries7Passes and #RoadsFromRome I have felt an undeniable bond with the mountains. I would ride across the plains of Germany or fields of Northern Italy and feel very much alone—isolated in a foreign land. Yet, as soon as the road turned skywards and the snow-capped peaks appeared on the horizon; then, I would feel calm and at peace—as if this was a sheltered home.

Of course, the mountains are not a sheltering landscape at all. Quite the opposite. Their unique weather systems are a game of roulette, and their slopes are perilous and challenging. More than once I have been caught out by the magnitude of the mountains' challenge; my body bears the scars of frostbite and crashes—testament to my failed battles with the mountain kings. And still, I love the massif landscape.


The original edition of 'Mountains' by Michael Blann was the first book I have read that was able to tell the hidden story of the mountains and explain the emotional connection I have with them. It is a story told through experiences, interviews, and most vividly through photography. The revised 'Mountains: Epic Cycling Climbs' is an updated edition of the award-winning book—holding 30 new pages and 14 new climbs, plus fresh imagery to some of the existing climbs.


The mountains of Europe are known for the challenge they present to racing cyclists. Whether it be the Giro d'Italia, Vuelta a España, or Tour de France; these races have made the vicious inclines and technical descents of the mountains a talking point in any cycling circle.

'Mountains' is a discussion of a different kind though. It is a journey—you head into the mountains as an outsider; looking into the heart of this landscape, and how cycling plays just one part in the awe-inspiring world. Rather than getting intertwined in the noise and drama of a race, 'Mountains' stands back and sees the magnificence of the challenge provided by nature.

Then, it moves in from this eagle's view and dives deep into the emotional connection that bike riders have with this landscape. Through interviews and essays from the likes of Greg LeMond, Stephen Roche, Geraint Thomas, Bernard Thevenet, and Lizzie Deignan, you learn of their experiences in the mountains; intricate descriptions to accompany the incredible photography.

Michael Blann shows 'Mountains' for what they are—a place of love, suffering, and awe. A place that most bike riders feel connected to, and yet in the same breath fearful of.

This is a book that you can be absorbed in for hours, and it continues to take centre stage on my coffee table: creating a talking point that will fuel hours of discussion and memories.

For me, the original book and even more so this new revised edition, are exceptional. They tap into an emotion so deep that it leaves me longing after alpine peaks. Love mountains.

'Mountains : Epic Cycling Climbs' (2nd Edition) by Michael Blann

'Mountains : Epic Cycling Climbs' (2nd Edition) by Michael Blann

'Mountains : Epic Cycling Climbs' (2nd Edition) by Michael Blann'Mountains : Epic Cycling Climbs' (2nd Edition) by Michael Blann

'Mountains : Epic Cycling Climbs' (2nd Edition) by Michael Blann



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