The Escape Artist - Matt Seaton
The Escape Artist - Matt Seaton
RRP $11.55Save 10%
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Code: CTB660
The Escape Artist - Matt Seaton
We pore over books about Fausto Coppi, Louison Bobet, Jacques Anquetil and Marco Pantani in order to wonder at the achievements of demi-gods, marvelling at the sacrifices made during the rise from humble surroundings and at the glory and suffering to be be found at the summit. Matt Seaton’s book approaches bike racing from a very different perspective, and one that most of us can come a little closer to sharing.
For those who cannot aspire to a kiss from a Tour de France podium girl, riding a bike has to take its place as a part of normal life. This is where The Escape Artist excels, in the way Seaton weaves together his love of cycling and the descriptions of his amateur racing career with the events of his young life, up to the death of his first wife, Ruth, from breast cancer.
Hence the title. While she was undergoing treatment, Ruth would tell him: “You need your exercise. It’s the only thing for you to do. It’s probably a good outlet.” It is both those things, exercise and outlet – a means of staying in touch with one’s younger self, and of achieving detachment from daily cares. It is also a way of testing one’s limits, of experiencing the satisfaction of going a little better than the day or weekend before — or wondering what it means to be getting worse.
Seaton captures those feelings, and their infinite variations, with an eloquence heightened by the inevitable contrast with real suffering. And as he did a few years ago in his cycling column in Guardian, where he is now an online editor, he also dispenses bike lore with wit and wisdom: “The real reason cyclists shave their legs,” he concludes after a couple of pages of running through the standard explanations, “is very simple: it is because everybody does it.” A book to take out and read every year, with a rare blend of sadness and delight.
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