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

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  1,529 ratings  ·  121 reviews

Plump, grumpy, slumped on the couch, and going nowhere fast at age 16, Phil Gaimon began riding a bicycle with the grand ambition of shedding a few pounds before going off to college. He soon fell into racing and discovered he was a natural, riding his way into a pro contract after just one season despite utter ignorance of a century of cycling etiquette. Now, in his book

Kindle Edition, 314 pages
Published May 5th 2014 by VeloPress
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Average rating 4.24  · 
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 ·  1,529 ratings  ·  121 reviews

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Apr 20, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014-reads
*** 1/2

Fun read though it probably won't appeal to anyone who isn't already a fan and doesn't already follow the sport. The names, the teams, the strategies and tactics--they all require a base knowledge of bike racing. (Most people would never know why calling Tom Danielson "Christian" is funny. But it is.)

What I was reminded of reading this is that as a group, bike riders are smart. They're well-educated, well-read, and they're interesting people. They also (at least the men) engage in a lot
Apr 17, 2015 rated it it was ok
It's probably best for me to admit right off the bat that I'm not a cycling enthusiast and certainly not an expert in the sport. However, I have a basic understanding of the sport (know several individuals who race on teams across the state), and thought this would be an interesting read as an outsider. I had heard from those who are into cycling that this would be one I could follow and possibly enjoy, since the author doesn't go into too many technical details, and that did prove to be the cas ...more
Aug 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Very much enjoyed this all the way through, and read it extremely quickly as a result (and also because it was very simply written and an extremely easy read). It was really funny and interesting and also pretty informative in terms of what it's like to be a domestic pro cyclist. A nice change of pace from the philosophy anthology I've been grinding through recently.
Jul 11, 2014 rated it liked it
I didn’t read Phil Gaimon’s Pro Cycling on $10 a Day as part of some grand scheme to turn professional. On the contrary, I gave up on that dream years ago. Nonetheless, the book contains plenty of good advice and stories from within the pro peloton enjoyable for the cycling fan as well the aspiring pro.
To be clear this is not strictly a how-to book, as the title may imply. Rather it’s a story of one bike racer who rose up quickly through the ranks of the domestic racing scene and the struggles,
May 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
My husband found Phil’s YouTube series a few months ago and we immediately loved his witty and honest personality. This book chronicles his first several years as an amateur then a pro, and explains in detail how this unique sport/business works. If you’re not interested in cycling as a sport, you won’t enjoy this, but either way, check out his IG. He supports No Kid Hungry. And he’ll rate your chocolate chip cookies. He’s a tough critic!
Kelly Thompson
May 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
From Fat Kid to Euro Pro!!!!! I️ love bikes!!!

Til next time Phil
Nine Provinces
Feb 07, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: read-non-fiction
Not all athletes are champion material, and not all champions are writers, and not all writers are nice people. This autobiography is a hat trick. He is making an attempt to parlay a mediocre pro career into a journalism gig with the viewpoint of self pity, complaints, blame, and if that wasn't charming enough, misogyny.

Far from being an inspirational story about how a chubby kid made themself into something, the author skips right over a brief video-game period right into local heroism before
Kelly Pulley
Jun 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great inside look into what it takes to be a pro cyclist. Very funny, though sometimes Phil's humor and language can be pretty crude. I suppose that should be expected from a single guy his age. Good lessons on hard work and perseverance. Well written.
Apr 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A look behind the scenes at the life of a pro racer (hint: it's not all roses and podium finishes). Funny and insightful, Gaimon has a knack for storytelling that will keep you reading.
If you're interested in pro cycling, you'll probably get a lot more out of this book than a non-fan. I am a recreational cyclist at best and some of the race strategy terms went over my head. The pace of the book is one of its strengths and one of its weaknesses. The detailed descriptions of how a particular stage played out in 2012 can be tedious, but they're over within a couple of pages. The quick pace also makes some of the behind the scenes tidbits go a little too fast and leaves you wantin ...more
Zachary Kjellberg
Mar 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I decided to give this a book after enjoying Phil's fantastic Worst Retirement Ever YouTube channel.

The book highlights Phil's experience signing with U.S. cycling clubs and the many challenges due to the doping scandals. I was shocked at how poorly a professional could be treated (salary and poor club support), but I really admire Phil's drive and hard work effort.

Even with a miserably low salary, he was able to really put his heart into cycling and I found his learning process fascinating. He
Nov 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cycling, memoir
Pro Cycling on $10 a day covers Gaimon’s progression from fat guy on a couch to pro cyclist. The writing style is humorous and often sarcastic, which makes it an extremely enjoyable read. If you’re like me and love cycling as a sport, whether you are a weekend group rider or have dabbled in the amateur racing scene, you will like this book, and may even learn something useful. I particularly enjoyed his descriptions of team tactics and how a skinny guy should race a crit!

This book is a breath o
Oct 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A finalist for my favorite book of 2019, this is a spectacular ride from start to finish. (Yes, pun intended.) After spending an exorbitant amount of time reading cycling books about or by total sociopaths, this was a refreshing break about an amiable common man on his journey to make it riding clean in cycling. The finest behind the scenes look of the life of a professional cyclist and the sacrifices involved in grinding out a living to pursue a dream, Gaimon's humor shines from one anecdote to ...more
Jun 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
I quite liked this book and I think others would too, even if they're not into cycling. I enjoyed following his journey of hard work and disagreements to become pro. Well written since he received his degree in English. I rolled my eyes at the "guy" language and humor, but then he throws in gems like "A big goal like starting a business or writing a book can be daunting at first, but all you have to do is break it up into little pieces and keep working at it. You could eat a school bus if you gr ...more
Nov 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Very enjoyable! I've owned my copy for some time but kept delaying reading it. I don't know why. It is very funny and entertaining. As a cyclist myself, I know many of the roads he road on and the races he participated in. The writing is excellent throughout. Above and beyond the standard sport biography/memoir which usually has someone else "ghost" writing. I didn't want to put the book down and now will get the second book in his professional cycling saga. And, I will make more of an effort to ...more
Hannah Fillman
Sep 29, 2019 rated it liked it
I love cycling. I am not a racer but find the sport fascinating and spend most of my free time on a bike. I found it interesting the path Phil had to take to get to where he is. I think Phil is a hard worker and definitely deserves success. With that being said, I had a hard time with the subtle sexism and homophobia scattered throughout the book. Some of the comments he made had me wondering - if he felt comfortable enough to write this down and publish it, what does he say in real life? I lost ...more
Feb 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I really enjoyed this book. I've admired Gaimon for a while and enjoyed reading tales of how he got started and his struggles along the way. His biting humor is evident in almost every story but there are also honest lessons that he's learned about life, dealing with people, and how to handle the curveballs thrown at you. I'd recommend it for anyone interested in cycling and looking for a humorous, honest take on the sport.
Randall Russell
Nov 15, 2017 rated it it was ok
I did not find this book very interesting. As someone who has trained for thousands of miles, and ridden several centuries, I would say that the author provided very little insight into how to train to be an elite-level rider, or what the experience is like in racing at that level. Because of that, I found this book to be quite disappointing, and therefore would not recommend it to anyone who's interested in cycling.
Federico Echeverry
Apr 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Hilarious and inspiring

I found Phil's video riding Colombia's hardest KOM and I couldn't stop laughing, he's a remarkable character with a hilarious and very raw personality. This book, his story of how he got into cycling and ended up being a Pro is a reflection of all his wholesomeness, it's funny, quirky and fun. For hours I felt I was having a beer with him and listening his whole story. I can't recommend more this book if you're a cycling fan.
Preston Pendergraft
Jun 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This book was a absolute riot. I consider myself a cyclist but never really have followed the Pro Tour. I watch the TdF but more for the scenery of France and well it is the biggest race, but I know little of the subject of bike racing.

This book is an absolute the best. It does feel a bit like the author did pull from his blog, however he strings the narrative together so much better.

I am already getting his second book and can not wait to read it.
Aug 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sports
Funny, detailed insight into the world of professional bike racing. No holds barred, Gaimon details the blood and gore of the sport, compared with the meagre rewards. Gaimon is frank and self effacing about his ordeals through years of surviving on a few thousand dollars a year, yet you feel his joy at his eventual success winning the Redlands Classic and other races. Racers will benefit from his honesty about the sport.
Jul 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Gaimon is a great author with a humorous take on a sport taken so seriously by many. As someone who doesn't watch cycling, this was a lot of fun. The description of the races can be confusing for someone without any cycling experience, but the book seems primarily aimed at those who are already invested in the sport. Overall a good read, and definitely recommended to anyone interested in cycling.
Ivor Kovic
Mar 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Very entertaining and funny book.
Easy to read. Something you can keep on your coffee table or read on a commute.
After reading several books from European cycling legends, it offered a different perspective from somebody who had to struggle for every small gain. It also offers insight into US cycling scene, which I did not know much about.
Jul 07, 2018 rated it liked it
This is a fun read. I came to it from Phil's podcast "Real Talent." It's clunky in places because there are digressions within the flow of the story, but they're all fun and insightful into the life of a semi-pro cyclist in the U.S. I'm curious what Phil's take is on the current controversy with Froome (Le Tour started today).
UMass Dad in SLC
Aug 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved how committed the author was despite countless setbacks. It sounded like he had the grades to get into a top-notch masters degree program or law school, then earn a comfortable living. Instead he lived like a pauper for several years while he chased his dream of making a living doing something he was passionate about.
Oct 04, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cycling
The first odd thing about this is that the print edition I read had the title that the Kindle edition carries, Pro Cycling on $10 a Day: From Fat Kid to Euro Pro. Both editions are from Velo Press. This seems . . . odd.

Gaimon blogs for VeloPress, for example this blog post. Having read a few of these, I was hoping for an enjoyable reading experience and I was a little let down by what I found, thus three stars.

I am a long time bike commuter and I have the usual too-many-bikes and even blog about
Hariharan Ragunathan
Engaging read, and takes you through the life of an upcoming pro biker, especially in the context of US pro racing scene. Does cover some good tit bit info about cycling learning Phil had over his coming of the age life story.
Jun 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Fun Read

I thoroughly enjoyed Phil the Thrill’s description of the amateur and pro cycling circuit. It has inspired me to take a drive out to Kutztown to ride the Pennsylvania hills and enjoy some racing at T-Town. Thanks Phil!
Chris Harrod
Oct 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I'm a cyclist and I really enjoyed reading this book. It's a really easy read and it's a page turner. If you're not a cyclist and you don't know much about racing, it may not appeal to you but I really enjoyed it.
Joe Pickert
Nov 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
I think Phil's a pretty cool dude, and this is a really interesting book for cycling enthusiasts of all stripes. Some of his jokes and comments just kind of rubbed me the wrong way though. Would still recommend!
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Madison Mega-Mara...: #119 - Pro cycling on $10 a Day 1 2 Dec 08, 2014 01:04AM  

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