‘Gironimo!’ and ‘Lanterne Rouge’ @NYTimes
There are many sensible reasons the British travel writer and humorist Tim Moore cycled the 1914 route of the Giro d’Italia (the Tour of Italy) wearing antique woolen biking shorts held up by a safety pin, on a bike with wine corks for brakes, wooden rims, no gears and 100-year-old parts.
To truly understand those reasons, though, it helps to be a cyclist. Because, after writing about the sport for the past decade, I’ve learned that cyclists know a thing or two about tackling daunting physical feats just to prove a point. (Like going out for a six-hour training ride because a five-hour ride simply won’t do.) And to understand Moore’s motivation, it might also help if you’re in the throes of a midlife crisis, as he was.
You don’t, however, have to be into cycling to reap the benefits of “Gironimo! Riding the Very Terrible 1914 Tour of Italy” — which can be considered a follow-up to Moore’s 2002 book, “French Revolutions,” his account of riding the 2000 Tour de France route. In this new book, Moore mixes a narrative about one of cycling’s toughest races ever (81 riders started, only eight finished) with an entertaining and jauntily written travelogue that at times made me laugh out loud.