Reading Pro Cycling on $10 a Day might have taken me a while, but not because it was not interesting. From the moment I opened the book I could not stop reading it and I always looked forward to the next moment I will have to just sit down and find out what happened to Phil next. Just so you know, before meeting Alex, I was a person who spent days drawing and reading. I did not ride a bicycle, and only knew that Tour de France existed. I am not even sure I knew or cared, who Lance Armstrong was. I learned lots about sports since then, but for me, Phil Gaimon was still some guy on Alex’s Instagram, who liked cookies and peed in places with nice views (seriously, follow him for at least a month or so).
The Pro Cycling on $10 a Day follows Phil Gaimon’s professional cycling career from an overweight teenager to the day he was heading to race in Europe. Even if is a biography, and I knew exactly what he was doing and where he was racing nowadays, I kept turning pages like it was some best selling thriller.
At first, it gets a bit technical, with all the cycling terms and racing jargon, but in a way, I think this is exactly how the non-athletic college kid would feel being thrown into this whole world. Overwhelmed. Once you keep reading, you will get used to all the types of races, bike parts and locations scattered all over the United States.
The story is built not only on the personal struggle of an underpaid athlete still trying to “make it”, but also Tour de France doping disaster, intricate details of the professional cycling world and the brief interactions with so-called “real world”. It is full of ups and downs, stories of true friendship and betrayal, moral choices and decisions. Every page offers a new twist, but big part of the book is dedicated to the “clean” cycling and the damage that dishonest riders did to the sport.
Sure it might seem a bit depressing at first: cheap motels, hours of training (sometimes just for a chance to crash and lose the big race), contracts that don’t even amount to the yearly earnings of a Walmart employee and a constant message of “Get in the f[…]ing car”. But in a way, Pro Cycling on $10 a Day inspires every reader. It will not be easy, but at the end it will be all worth it. May be Phil Gaimon made only $10 a day, he still got to do what he loved. Would he be happier as an English professor? And this is something that everyone has to remember.
I believe that reading the Pro Cycling on $10 a Day reminded me, that nothing is easy in life, and in order to get something, you have to work hard for it. It showed how little people need when they are motivated by something they truly love. And while I will never become a professional anything, let alone cyclist, it was a great book to read. I am glad I came across it, and if you still did not have a chance to read Pro Cycling on $10 a Day you can pick it up on Amazon for less than $20.