Summary and book reviews of It's Not About the Bike by Lance Armstrong

It's Not About the Bike

My Journey Back to Life

by Lance Armstrong, Sally Jenkins

It's Not About the Bike
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  • First Published:
    May 2000, 288 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2001, 288 pages

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Book Summary

The inspiring journey of world-class hero Lance Armstrong, from the dark night of advanced cancer through his dramatic victory in the 1999 Tour de France, and beyond.

In 1996, twenty-four-year-old Lance Armstrong was ranked the number-one cyclist in the world. But that October, "The Golden Boy of American Cycling" was sidelined by excruciating pain. Tests revealed advanced testicular cancer that had spread to his lungs and brain. His chance for recovery was as low as twenty percent.

Armstrong embarked on the most aggressive form of chemotherapy available and underwent surgery to remove cancer that the treatments couldn't reach. Five months after his diagnosis, he resumed training under a cloud of uncertainty, and the path back to competition wasn't smooth. It took a ride with friends through the mountains of North Carolina for Armstrong to rediscover his genuine love of the sport, and to rededicate himself to its pursuit.

Scarred physically and emotionally, Lance Armstrong considered his cancer "a special wake-up call," one that crystallized for him the blessings of good health, family, friends, and marriage. In October 1999, just months after his astonishing triumph in the Tour, his wife, Kristin, gave birth to their son, Luke David Armstrong.

Filled with the nutritional, physical, emotional, and spiritual details of his recovery, It's Not About the Bike traces the wondrous journey of one of America's greatest athletes to a singularly inspiring appreciation of life lived to the fullest.

Includes 16 pages of black and white photos.

Before and After

I want to die at a hundred years old with an American flag on my back and the star of Texas on my helmet, after screaming down an Alpine descent on a bicycle at 75 miles per hour. I want to cross one last finish line as my stud wife and my ten children applaud, and then I want to lie down in a field of those famous French sunflowers and gracefully expire, the perfect contradiction to my once-anticipated poignant early demise.

A slow death is not for me. I don't do anything slow, not even breathe. I do everything at a fast cadence: eat fast, sleep fast. It makes me crazy when my wife, Kristin, drives our car, because she brakes at all the yellow caution lights, while I squirm impatiently in the passenger seat.

"Come on, don't be a skirt," I tell her.

"Lance," she says, "marry a man."

I've spent my life racing my bike, from the back roads of Austin, Texas to the Champs-Elysees, and I always figured if I died an untimely death, it would be ...

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Reviews

Media Reviews

Booklist - Brenda Barrera

In this memoir, Armstrong covers his early years swiftly with a blunt matter-of-factness, but the main focus is on his battle with cancer. Readers will respond to the inspirational recovery story, and they will appreciate the behind-the-scenes cycling information. After he won the Tour, his mother was quoted as saying that her son's whole life has been a fight against the odds; we see here that she was not exaggerating.

Publishers Weekly

.....with pluck, humility and verve, this volume covers his early life, his rise through the endurance sport world and his medical difficulties..... The book features a disarming and spotless prose style, one far above par for sports memoirs. Bicycle-racing fans will enjoy the troves of inside information and the accounts of competitions, but Armstrong has set his sights on a wider meaning and readership: "When I was sick I saw more beauty and triumph and truth in a single day than I ever did in a bike race."

School Library Journal - Katherine Fitch

This fabulous tribute to the strength of the human spirit is an inspiration to everyone.

Library Journal - D John Maxymuk

His writing style is vibrant and immediate whether he is detailing events from childhood, racing challenges, the demands of cancer treatment, the in vitro fertilization process, or the joy of becoming a father. This should appeal to more than just cycling fans. Highly recommended.

Reader Reviews

chhavi

how Lance works have inspired ustp make the event happen
My husband has undertaken his first bicycle tour to Shirdi ..1300 kms from Delhi. I gifted this book by Lance Armstrong which has even inspired Naved, to give this trip a a more spiritual bent..on way while speaking to people he is transmitting the ...   Read More

elnaz

it is very nice...
Hi, I think it is the best book that I read It's a big lesson for all people.... I love it so much

VJ Falcone

It's Not About The Bike
This book is titled It’s Not About the Bike but it kind of actually is about the bike. Yes, Lance talks about how things were when he was growing up. He does talk about the hardships he had to go through with cancer, but he does talk about the bike...   Read More

Matt Donaldson

Inspirational
The emotional-rollercoaster autobiography of Lance Armstrong has made me a better person after reading it. It has illustrated to me that we should count our many blessings in life and be thankful for what we do have, and to not compare ourselves to ...   Read More

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