The Cyclist And His Shadow - Paperback

The Cyclist And His Shadow

Haralambon, Olivier

After ten years as a racing cyclist, riding in up to ninety races a year, Olivier Haralambon became a journalist and philosopher. In The Cyclist and His Shadow, he writes about the world of competitive cycling with rare honesty and self-reflection, exploring it not merely as a sport but as a spiritual and artistic practice, imbued with a mystical quality.

In prose at once poetic and precise, Haralambon depicts the intensity of cycling as physical activity in which the rider’s consciousness becomes inseparable from the instantaneous movements of limbs, the exertion of heart and lungs, and the marshaling and expenditure of energy. He describes riding as an ascetic activity always accompanied by pain that the cyclist can control but never fully eliminate. But cycling for Haralambon is not only suffering but also an addictively pleasurable activity in which the rider’s sense of self dissolves and melds with the bicycle, mind and body exploring the vibrant solitude of the course and limits of human endurance. Engaging in the repetition of ascension and the endless hours immersed in an oceanic interior, cyclists are artists in the vastness of landscape, both interior and exterior.

Published in association with The Cycling Podcast (, The Cyclist and His Shadow offers an illuminating meditation on what drives cyclists to devote their lives and bodies to training, racing, and even doping. Drawing from personal experience, Haralambon presents cycling as simultaneously physical and creative, technological and mystical, torturous and ecstatic.