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Merckx: Half Man, Half Bike

3.72 of 5 stars 3.72  ·  rating details  ·  342 ratings  ·  34 reviews
What makes a man the greatest of all time?

Eddy Merckx is to cycling what Muhammad Ali is to boxing or Pelé to football: quite simply, the best there has ever been. Merckx was a machine. It wasn't just the number of victories (445); it was his remorseless domination that created the legend. He didn't just beat his opponents, he crushed them.

But his triumphs only tell half a
ebook, 320 pages
Published March 22nd 2012 by Vintage Digital
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Everybody with even a passing acquaintance of cycling as a sport has probably heard of Eddy Merckx. Anybody who has an interest in the sport will also know that Merckx was the greatest cyclist the sport has had – 'The greatest there is; the greatest there was; the greatest there ever will be' to steal (and change) a line from Bret Hart. What I didn't realise until I read this book was quite how great that great was. That such a cyclist doesn't seem to have written an autobiography, let alone had ...more
Martin Mccann
I finished Friebe's The Cannibal immediately prior to reading Fotheringham so naturally my instinct is to compare the 2- generally both books come to more or less the same conclusions regards Merckx, what drove him etc. Fotheringham does have the advantage of actually having interviewed Merckx himself although this turns out to have been in 1997.
As a summary of Merckx's career, this is well structured and draws on a wide range of interviews from those who worked with or against The Cannibal. Th
Raja Ram
A well researched book providing a detailed insight into this great cyclist. Merckx was before my time so this was a journey into the relatively unknown. What I learned was amazing. this guy truly dominated the sport. I know about Hinault, Lemond, Indurain, Armstrong. Merckx was head and shoulders above. His obsession to entertain, to perform in every race, to allay his fears, to push himself at every opportunity was fascinating. He took the definition of selfishness, of dedication to his profes ...more
Merckx: Half Man, Half Bike is a very thorough account of Eddy's Merck'x cycling career. While the book does an admirable job of retelling the history of his races and competitors, it does not tell us much about his motivation and personality.
i like cycling books but this was a little monotonous. similar to the guy's racing I guess.
Eddy Merckx: Cycling BADASS. The Cannibal. In a world be for blood doping, EPO, & riders that only focused on 1 race a year (TdF) Merckx dominated… EVERYTHING. He won basically everything 5 times over. Riders raced for 2nd place and considered it 1st. It was good enough to be the guy that came in after Merckx won. La course en tête. Attack early. Attack often. Attack when you hurt. Attack when they hurt. Especially attack when they hurt. And do it with honour.

The book was a decent read and g
Great book if you enjoy the golden age of cycling or want to know more about Eddy Merckx's career, although I think many others would enjoy this book, too.

Eddy Merckx raced before my time but I have always heard stories about the legendary "Cannibal" and wanted to know more. Fotheringham traces the rise of the Belgian athlete who completely dominated his sport the way no cyclist will again. Merckx didn't just win the big races; he competed in and won almost every cycling race or competition know
Good account of Merckx' career, sprinkled with some fascinating stories about the man and the races he entered. He was one of the most incredible athletes of all time. Up there with Ali, Laver, Joe Louis, Bill Tilden, Michael Phelps, Usain Bolt.

A demanding captain, but not less so with himself: One of his "domestiques" told how Merckx demanded a lot for them to help him, but would smile and acknowledge their hard effort after they one by one had given their all in front of the peloton, and had
If you told me even 2 years ago that I would ever read a sports biography and find it difficult to put down, I would have laughed in your face. But this book totally captivated me. I knew very little about Merckx before reading the book and was amazed to learn about the feats he accomplished in his cycling career, many of which have still not been surpassed and never will. 525 wins, 54 wins in one season, most stage wins in the Tour de France (34), most stage wins in a single Tour de France (8), ...more
As a self confessed bikey, I found this book to be a wonderful insight into the ultimate cycling legend, Eddy Merckx. William Fotheringham's angle is to uncover the background to Merckx's unrepeatable success and reveal what made this half man half bike. I'm not convinced this is achieved as Merckx's life before and off the bike is relatively uneventful, especially compared to some of his contemporaries. The fact of the matter is that Merckx enjoyed so many victories in such a variety of ways be ...more
An excellent biography of the Cannibal Eddy Merckx the greatest cyclist in history. It tells a little bit about his early childhood and how he became involved in cycling and then tells the story of his career and his desire to win all the races he entered. Dominating the sprints, classics and grand tours like no other before him it tells of his greatest victories and his rivals who realized how tough it was to defeat him.
Excellent book. Perhaps a bit too much detail for me and I skipped through some parts - this is a cyclist's book on Merckx - but none-the-less I'm glad I read it.
John Richardson
Only for the cyclists out there. I bought this after I saw the guy in the flesh just before the Olympics. Fotheringham doesn't get too bogged down in the "who dropped who on the 15th stage of the '72 tour" stuff, keeping the tale spinning along like a long bike ride on a warm spring day. He mentions the Cannibal's bust for doping, but the Merckx story is a reminder post-Lance of what cycle racing should be like: all sweat, mud and blood. Even at the age of 72, Merckx still looks hard. When I saw ...more
The book is about a legend of a man, Eddy Merckx. It follows his life and the qualities and upbringing that created the Cannibal. A gifted athlete he chose to forego school to pursue cycling. His quiet sensibilities make it easy for many to relate to him and feel the drive that laid beneath the skin. Great book worth a read.

I enjoyed this book it goes into his racing in detail and gives a degree of insight into the greatest cyclist. The one issue I have is after reading the book I still don't feel as though I know him as a person.
Fascinating insight into the man behind the myth.
Jude Nonesuch
Don't know when I finished this; ages ago.

Merckx as a cyclist is great and all, but I'm afraid his story just isn't really that interesting. Fotheringham tries his utmost to make this a 'psychological' profile -- "What made him need to win so much?" and all that, but I don't think the answer is especially interesting so I don't really care.
Jun 03, 2012 Peter rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: cycling anoraks
A typical William Fotheringham book in as much as it is very detailed. The depth of his research is amazing. Having said that if you are interested in Eddy Merckx and just about every minute detail of his cycling life then this is the book for you. Well written but definitely only for people with a severe case of'cycling anorak disease'.
Unfortunately, I think you need to be very knowledgable about cycling history before reading this book. It is very hard to follow.
Jack Tweddle
The author has a tendency to jump back and forth in time, which makes for a disjointed read rather than a nice linear biography. Throughout the book the same points are reiterating over and over; I know Merckx was the best cyclist ever, that is why I am reading this book! Lots of bad metaphors and spelling errors are annoying.
Nick Sweeney
Another cyclist biography from the expert William Fotheringham, exploring Merckx the man, the competitor, the legend. I'm not going to write too much about it here, except to say that Fotheringham's writing is, as ever, superb, and his research just right. One for cycling fans, mainly!
Dooley Gilchrist
Good historical account of how dominant Merckx was in his prime and why. Also a good retrospective on how far Merckx pushed himself, providing insight into why riders in today's generation may have fewer wins but longer careers. Worth a read for any fan of bicycle racing.
First half of the book was disjointed and hard to follow, the second half was great!!
Colin Lowndes
Excellent read! Detailed account of what drove "The Cannibal" and not how he became simply the greatest but why.excellent research with accounts from the man himself long with accounts from former mechanics, domestiques and rivals. Brilliant book!
Richard K
Would have preferred more insight into the man himself. There were very few direct quotes or even interview excerpts from the man himself that made the book a view from afar
James Webster
I couldn't put this down. Whether it's the man or the writing that makes this so compelling, I'm still not sure. One thing is clear: we shall never see the likes of Merckx again.
Excellent insight into the career of the greatest of them all. Although it did seem to finish rather abruptly.
Ron S
A decent all round straight up biography of the undisputedly greatest cyclist of all time.
Peter Hall
Fantastic insight into the greatest cyclist ever. There will never be another as great.
Jim Shaughnessy
Great read if perhaps slightly sycophantic at times. If you love Merckx buy it
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