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It's Not about the Bike: My Journey Back to Life
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It's Not about the Bike: My Journey Back to Life

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  37,557 ratings  ·  2,016 reviews
It is such an all-American story. A lanky kid from Plano, Texas, is raised by a feisty, single parent who sacrifices for her son, who becomes one of our country's greatest athletes. Given that background, it is understandable why Armstrong was able to channel his boundless energy toward athletic endeavors. By his senior year in high school, he was already a professional tr ...more
Paperback, 294 pages
Published September 1st 2001 by Berkley Publishing Group (first published November 8th 1999)
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Average rating 3.72  · 
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 ·  37,557 ratings  ·  2,016 reviews

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Feb 25, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: own, memoir
There is no more remarkable story of surviving cancer than Lance Armstrong's, and perhaps there is no better athlete in history. His rise from poverty and being raised by a young single mother is quite impressive too. But I have to give his memoir 2 stars, because

1) He's such a cocky son of a bitch. Really, it gets quite annoying.

2) He couldn't keep his marriage and family intact, especially after putting his wife through the IVF, twice. Before they even began dating, she was concerned about his
♥ Marlene♥
Sep 02, 2010 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: If you like fairytales
On Wednesday, November 17, 2004 I wrote on bookcrosing:

I had to decide what to read next and decided to read this book. Although I do not like Lance Armstrong I love The Tour de France and want to know as much as I can of the event and the participants.I have heard that this is a very good book and while reading I noticed I forget the arrogant guy who treats the other cyclists with not enough respect. Now I just want to read how he dealt with the cancer and I know a lot of the names and persons
May 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Long overdue (and subsequently updated) epilogue .... And part of me is relieved .. and definitely not surprised ... to see that others, increasingly, have revised their reviews on this book. Unlike some, however, I'm not deducting stars from my initial rating, ... indeed, I've elevated it to a five-star ... for uniquely personal reasons. In retrospect, I can't think of a single book that more directly, dramatically, and positively impacted my life ... even if it was published as non-fiction, an ...more
Farnoosh Brock
Apr 13, 2013 rated it did not like it
On second thought, Lance, I stripped the extra 4 stars I gave you when I first read the book. It just so happens that you were a big fat liar, and now feeling sorry or happy for you is really hard to do.

But here's the original review of the book I wrote, when I had assumed the author was an honest and hard-working person without all the issues he developed during the Tour de France, all of which are entirely 100% his fault.

---- the old review ----
I picked up this book in the juice store in San J
I really enjoyed this, a fascinating and inspirational read even if you’re not a cycling fan or into sports biographies. As the title states this is “not about the bike” well not completely anyways, of course the bike is always present (even on Lance’s sickest days when he could barely stand from the chemo treatments he still managed to go for a wobbly ride around the block) but I would say more than half of this story deals with Lance’s brutal battle with cancer and his miraculous recovery. We ...more
Nathan Albright
Nov 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: challenge
If one knows the scandalous last few years of Lance Armstrong's life, with the breakdown of his marriage due to his adultery and the collapse of his legacy due to the exposure of his sophisticated doping operation, it is impossible to read this book without a feeling of ironic distance from the feel-good sentiments that Lance and his co-writer are trying to convey. That does not mean that this book is not worthwhile or even interesting, but merely that one goes into this book, or at least I did, ...more
Otis Chandler
Oct 15, 2006 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction, biography
I read this right after my dad passed away from cancer. Lance was a hero of my dad's for some time, but I'd never seen his autobiography until I found it on my dad's shelf. Lance's drive to survive and win against all odds is an inspiration to anyone, but especially to cancer survivors & their family. It really helped me get through a difficult time, and inspired me to start doing triathlons with Team In Training (a great organization which helps benefit cancer victims).

Oh - and Lance is the sh
Mary Catherine
Apr 17, 2007 rated it really liked it
You may not like the guy, but his story is inspiring.
Nov 09, 2015 rated it liked it
Read this years before the doping thing came into limelight.
I must admit, he is a strong man, what he has gone through the years, cannot be simply written off!

Even though on performance enhancers, getting up, practicing each day, regularly, for years together, is not possible by critics, but by very few people, one of them appears to be you.

Rating 3/5

Feb 13, 2008 rated it did not like it
It's great that he survived cancer and all, but Lance Armstrong is a self-centered, egotistical jerk. He is so obnoxious and he doesn't even realize it. One review I read said something like "he's just smart enough to realize his story should be inspiring, but just too dumb to know why." The title is appropriate--it's not about the bike, it's about how awesome Lance is and always has been in every way! Don't waste your time reading this. That about sums it up.
Nov 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I pick up this book to read when I was feeling low with the certain things happened in my personal life. Lance, thru this book helped me realize that anything is achievable and any hurdle could be overcome. Thank you Lance.

I have heard of Lance Armstrong, the man who won the Tour de France record-breaking seven times after recovering from life threatening cancer. So what I expected from this book was a fairy tale of a rider who survived cancer and became successful in the tour. But what I got wa
Jan 05, 2009 rated it really liked it
A friend of mine loaned me this book years ago; he enjoyed it and recommended that I read it. This friend had never loaned me a book before, and since he's a bit more of a jock than me, I thought I might not get the same satisfaction as he did. So I put it on my shelf and considered it from time to time over the years, but finally picked it up when there was nothing else of interest on the shelf.

This book was a pleasant surprise. I have never read any sports books before, and didn't know what to
Juan  Gómez
Jan 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
You will read a lot of bad reviews stating that the guy is an asshole and that the book is bad because he is a such cocky SOB. Buy you know what? if all of the people that are saying that, together, can even finish the Tour the France, they will write a book about that.
Lets face it, if you can win the tour 7 consecutive times you can write a book about anything. And if, on top of that, you did that after surviving the kind of cancer that this guy had, the book can be 300 pages with just your nam
Jul 09, 2008 rated it it was ok
So...I understand that Lance is not a writer - but why hire a ghost-writer that cannot write either?

That aside - "Its Not About the Bike" is a combination cancer survival against the odds/sports prodigy story/inspiration.

Lance seems like an arrogant asshole, its true, but I couldn't help getting all ferclempt when he wins the tour the first time...I love cycling, I am truly fascinate by the mental and physiological processes of true athletes, and this book *did* give a little insight.

Maybe with
Apr 16, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people who think they can't
Shelves: life_stories
LIVESTRONG! I wear my yellow wrist band almost daily to remind me of Lance's story. Talk about inspiration! Lance came from within walking distance of the pearly gates to winning the Tour de France seven times. It's the most inspiring story in sports.
Oct 12, 2009 rated it it was ok
I started the book liking Lance Armstrong and unfortunately I ended with not liking him. I still think he is an amazing athlete that overcame many odds. But now I know that we would not get along well in real life. I think the idolized version of Armstrong as a terminal cancer survivor that came back to win the most prestigious race in cycling not once, not twice, but a record-setting 7 times is a story better told in a short news clip. When it becomes a full story written out in detail about th ...more
Nov 14, 2008 rated it really liked it
Talk about an inspiring book. He didn't hold back any details when it came to his treatment and struggles with cancer. It makes his accomplishments with the Tour de France that much sweeter in my mind hearing what he went through. I think my biggest take home from the book is that your mindset and attitude towards struggles can make or break you.

I will say that he also showed signs of being quite arrogant and prideful, but in his defense lots of competitive athletes are. If they're not going to
Nov 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Lance Armstrong was 25 years old and starting to achieve fame and fortune on the world cycling tour, when he was diagnosed with testicular cancer. He wrote this account in 1999, three years after the initial diagnosis, describing his fight against the disease and the highly improbably comeback that led to his victory in the 1999 Tour de France, cycling's greatest event.

The book describes his youth in Texas - slight of build and not suited for the football that was the passion in his Texas hometo
Aug 25, 2007 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2002
In early 2002, I was going through a rough time--I had just dropped out of college after a semester marked by panic attacks, the inability to leave my room, and a variety of reckless behaviors, and I was convinced that my life was over. I was also convinced that my parents hated me because I was such a failure. It was in this weakened state that I agreed to read It's Not About the Bike (and, later, The Hobbit), because they were recommended by my stepmother (Bike) and my father (Hobbit), and I w ...more
Sandeep Mukhopadhyay
Apr 16, 2007 rated it really liked it
"It's Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life" is the autoboigraphy of Lance Armstrong. Perhaps I am a bit biased towards this book because of my passion for sports but this book is not a mere account of his sporting achievements. Whenever I read it I realise how lucky I(we) are and still I(we) keep cribbing most of the times. A very inspirational book which is a must read when you feel let down in life. I also liked Lance Armstrong's direct in your face style of writing.
I would recommend
So, Lance can't write for toffee. I guess that's fine, he's a cyclist not an author. But why hire a ghost write who's only marginally better. That's an assumption actually, maybe Lance would have done better on his own...

Points are clawed back to OK because it's a genuinely interesting story, it's just a shame that it's presented in such a wooden and smug book.
Mar 18, 2007 rated it really liked it
Althought Lance is not a writer, this story is a great motivator.
Mar 30, 2007 rated it liked it
Although Lance Armstrong's life is a inspiration in itself, I didn't feel like I could take some parts of the book seriously. His attitude was a bit too cocky for me sometimes.
Apr 13, 2007 rated it really liked it
Talk about inspiration. Go Lance!! If you think you can't do something... you can. Read this book. Now, if only he didn't ditch Sheryl Crow in her time of need. Sigh.
Mar 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
It was good until he was ousted as a cheat!
Jun 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
When I read the book, I didn’t know who he was, which helped me. It is an inspiring and well written book. I loved it.
Daniel Solera
Nov 30, 2009 rated it really liked it
It was three years ago that I first read Lance Armstrong’s autobiography, a heart-pounding narrative that details his rise to fame and precipitous fall from grace. I wasn’t a budding endurance athlete at the time, so the chapters devoted to training didn’t resonate as closely as they could have. This time around, whenever Lance would wax athletic, I would nod with a better understanding, fully aware of the reasons people decide to go the distance.

The book is informally divided into three section
Sep 06, 2009 rated it it was ok
"It's not about the bike." For some reason, those 5 words are passed from cyclist to cyclist hundreds, if not thousands of times a day. But is it rightfully so? Lance Armstrong's autobiography set out to inspire cyclists and cancer patients all around the world; and although many may have been inspired by his autobiography, I can't help but wonder how many people lost respect for a man who accomplished two of the most impossible things in the world- overcoming cancer, and winning the Tour dé Fra ...more
Oct 21, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Chantal by: Bret Gadberry
The strangest thing for me in reading this book was realizing that I was right in Paris when Lance won for the first time. I was eating at a restaurant with my grandparents when the Tour de France was going by. My grandfather, who doesn't speak a lick of French, was proudly trying to show off my French to the waitress...I had to say something about the Tour de France to her. He didn't realize that I could barely speak French. I kept praying that she would at least pretend she understood me, and ...more
Sep 14, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sports, biography
I read this shortly after it came out at the urging of my cousin who was in the midst of her first battle with breast cancer. She drew a lot of strength from what he went through and how he came out the other side, and as a close loved one of someone fighting the disease we all want to be inspired and encouraged by how sheer resilience and determination can contribute to healing and surviving. It was a great book. But then some years later we learn that Lance deliberately used performance enhanc ...more
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Motivating? 10 179 Feb 26, 2014 11:20AM  
Aiossa's 12/13 Se...: Greg Sabo 1 7 Sep 27, 2012 09:52PM  

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Lance Armstrong (born Lance Edward Gunderson) is a retired American professional road racing cyclist. He had won the Tour de France seven consecutive times, from 1999 to 2005, but in 2012 he was disqualified from all his results since August 1998 for using and distributing performance-enhancing drugs and banned from professional cycling for life. Previously, he also survived testicular cancer, a g ...more

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