Is it all about the Bike?

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Lance Armstrong, one of the most popular faces of the road racing cycling world. He is probably one of those people who brought road racing cycling into the lime light. There is hardly anyone who hasn’t heard his name and his story and also about his institution, ‘LiveStrong’. Almost a decade ago, we all remember those live strong bands around almost everyone’s wrist. It was like a statement to support that institution. Almost every second person wore that yellow band around their wrist irrespective of the fact whether they were aware about the cause it stood for or not.


Those who know who he is also know that he suffered from cancer in the later part of the 20th century. In the year 2000, Lance Armstrong released his book ‘It’s not about the bike’, which was about his fight with cancer. The book of course starts from the very beginning. It gives one a short brief history about who he is and about his fathers and about his mother. It gradually moves into how he took up cycling and how he ended up being the great cyclist that he is.

Slowly and steadily he moves into the part where he finds out that he has cancer and that is when the real story starts. He tells his tale so well. He talks about all his pains and fears and how he never thought that he would make it. Lance Armstrong, even talks about the alleged doping charges which had been laid on him time and again. Gradually, it moves into the part where he no longer has cancer.


There is not much in the book. But it is a very well written book. It is one of those books which tends to leave a mark on the reader for a very long time and makes one believe every word and sentence that has been written in it. As the book is about his fight with cancer, it is obvious that his main motive was to put his story out there and inspire all the other people around the globe who suffer from cancer and make them realize that they are not alone. Also that there is always hope. When Lance Armstrong was diagnosed with cancer there were less than 40 percent chances of him surviving. But he did.

As the book is about Lance Armstrong, a cyclist one would usually think that it is only for two types of people. First, who are into road racing cycling and the second, those who suffer from cancer. Well, if you think that way then you are highly mistaken. The book is meant for almost everyone. It puts you into the shoes of Lance Armstrong and makes you look at things the way he did when he fell ill. It is for all those people who have lost hope and seek inspiration.

The book is no doubt very convincing. His fight with cancer makes one believe that the doping charges which had been laid against him are all false. Of course, all the drugs which he had been accused of using were actually used by him during the chemotherapy. They were all a part of it. Lance Armstrong, manages to showcase his sufferings so well that at not even a single moment does one person doubt the fact that he would have doped in any of the matches. It does convince ever part of your being into it. It makes you sympathize with him at every level, even at the levels where you wouldn’t.


The level of conviction that the book offers you is way beyond your imagination. It makes you feel deeply and strong for Lance Armstrong. It makes you idealize him. There is no doubt about the fact that he has been portrayed as a perfect person with deep flaws. But his perfectness is what is highlighted the most. But slowly and steadily as one continues reading ones conviction towards him becomes stronger and stronger. By the end of the book one starts to idealize him to the core.

But this idealization is what created a lot of problem, when Lance Armstrong came out in an interview with Oprah Winfrey and accepted his doping charges. Just after reading the book if one goes on to see that interview. Then one tends to feel so highly disappointed. One of the main reasons is that the book places Lance Armstrong at a very high pedestal from which he falls down during that interview. That interview is what makes the huge difference. It makes you feel all those negative emotions towards him which you wouldn’t want to. Then again, there would still be a part of you which wouldn’t accept the fact that Lance Armstrong could do something like that.


There is no doubt about the fact that the book is extremely well written. Even though, it does go a little over board every now and then.  One cannot deny the fact that even if one hates Lance Armstrong and reads this book, it would still make a huge difference to their perception towards him. It would still make them sympathize a little with him and give them inspiration of a sort. Lance Armstrong’s story is no doubt extremely inspiring at very different levels. But one thing the reader needs to keep in mind while reading the book is that do not take each word in blindly. In case you do, then you are in for a lot of hurt and disappointment. The book is no doubt a pick for the way it has been written and the inspiration which it gives. But then again it teaches you one deep lesson and that would be that never judge a book by its cover or its interview. No matter what has been said in either, if one believes in someone, one will always continue to believe in them. Because ‘It is not about the bike’.