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Book Review: Pro Cycling on $10 a Day

Sunday, February 1st, 2015



At age 16, Phil Gaimon began riding a bicycle to get to his friend’s house to play video games. Before long, he discovered that riding his bike provided an escape from the anger and concerns he had as an overweight teenager. He wasn’t looking to become a pro athlete or anything, but he liked riding fast. Gaimon got into racing by joining the varsity team during his freshman year at college. He was a natural, riding his way into a pro contract after just one season. This is where his adventures as a broke cyclist began. (The $10 a day was what he earned, not what he spent!)

Written as a guide to aspiring racers who dream of joining the professional ranks, Gaimon’s journey serves as a cautionary tale of frustrating team directors and broken promises. Pro Cycling on $10 a Day is a fun autobiography, filled with insider stories, fart jokes and thrilling race reports. Gaimon outlines the long, arduous road to becoming a salaried leader on a pro team which includes lots of road rash, couch surfing and broken relationships. He also reflects poignantly on the reality of the doping era of cycling as well as the beauty of the sport and the opportunities it has given him.

“My teammates and I saw the places between the tourist attractions. We stopped at cafés where the locals relaxed, places that don’t sell postcards. We felt the air and smelled the smells. It made me understand how lucky I was to experience life from a bike. My wallet was light, but I’d seen more of the world at 25 than anyone I knew.”

Gaimon gives the reader a peak behind the curtains and into the pro peloton. Some of the little morsels of discovery:

  • – The frequency and tolerance of the DNF is higher than you’d think.
  • – Sponsors can get you on a team even if you don’t deserve a spot.
  • – There are three ways to pee during a bike race (if you’re a guy).

The story ends with Phil signing to Team Garmin as a 27 year-old and the chance to race in the big league. Sadly, he got cut a year later when they merged with Cannondale so he’s now returned to the US circuit. It’s a very entertaining read for cycling enthusiasts and fans of the sport. The glossary at the back is worth the cover price.

Read it soon and you’ll find lots of familiar names in the pro pelotons of Europe and North America.


Lindsay Carswell
Founder, Bicycle Sportive Tours International

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