VeloPress A Dog in a Hat: An American Bike Racer's Story
In 1987, cyclist Joe Parkin left the comforts of home to become a bike racer in Belgium, the hardest place in the world to be a bike racer. As one of the first American pros in Europe, Parkin was what the Belgians call “a dog with a hat on” — something familiar, yet decidedly out of place. Parkin's memoir reads like a novel. In plainspoken and fast-paced prose, Parkin describes the true life of the professional bike racer, putting the reader into the whirlwind of this hardest of athletic educations. A Dog in a Hat celebrates the glory of bike racing, but Parkin thrillingly tells the hard reality of the life—the drugs, the payoffs, the betrayals by teammates, the battles with team owners for contracts and money, the endless promises that keep you going, and the rider's sheer physical agony of racing day after day.