Thursday, December 13, 2012

Kings of the Mountains: How Colombia's Cycling Heroes Changed Their Nation's History. Now for sale.

In my post last week, I jokingly mentioned that I could easily set my watch by the weekly emails I get where readers of the blog ask me for information about riding a bike in Colombia. Today's post is about the other type of email I get once or twice a week, one that would work just as well for setting my watch to. That emails I'm referring to are the ones that ask a single question: "Where can I buy a copy of Kings Of The Mountains?"

Because of the sheer amount of times I've mentioned the book on the blog, I'm not surprised that readers wonder where they can buy a copy. To be clear, however, the book owes none of its popularity to me. The book is as popular and as highly reviewed as it is because of Matt Rendell, and the amount of work he put into writing the only book about Colombia's amazing (and at times unbelievable) cycling history. 

Sadly, because the book is out of print, copies of it are often insanely expensive (I've seen copies sell for as much as $250, and sometimes list for much, much more). Because of this, and because I've often given out copies as gifts, I'm always on the lookout for semi-affordable copies (I've posted links to some affordable copies here on the blog before). I look in used bookstores, library sales and online auctions, and I've now decided to sell these copies here on the blog. As always, I'm throwing in a couple of other items to sweeten the deal. 

In case you're thinking that this is a huge money-making scheme on my part, which will lead to an early retirement in sunny Boca Raton...let me tell you that I'm simply not that good of a businessman. In fact, I'm selling some copies of the book for almost exactly what I paid for them. That's how much of a genius I am.

Kings of the Mountains: How Colombia's Cycling Heroes Changed Their Nation's History
Matt Rendell
Aurum Press Ltd, June 2003
256 pages

$75 paperback plus shipping
Shipping: $5 in the US, $15 Internationally

To Order
Payment should be made via PayPal to: cyclinginquisition - at symbol here -

All copies of the book are used, and range in condition from good to excellent. All have strong bindings, no missing pages. A couple of the books come from libraries, and may include stickers on the spine, stamps in front pages, or a clear book cover. There may be creases in pages, or dinged up corners.

The extras
Each book comes with a handmade booklet (a "zine" in punk rock parlance) of my interview with Matt Rendell, which gives a great deal of background regarding his interest in Colombian cycling, and how this book came about. It's 28 pages long, and roughly the same size as the book.

As with other Cycling Inquisition offerings, this one comes with a few small culinary treats. In this case, your copy of the book will come with some Supercoco candies. Supercoco is a Colombian staple made with toasted coconut and nougat, the candy embodiment of cocadas. Supercoco candies includes a healthy dose of shaved coconut inside, so this is not just some crappy hard candy. It's worth mentioning that Supercoco is to blame for pulling out many fillings among Colombia's children. So when you get your copy of the book, enjoy the candy slowly, and don't bite down on it with your molars like a maniac.

Reviews of the book:
Meticulous, elegant and sensitive, Kings of the Mountains works both as a panegyric to the sporting heroes of a troubled land and as a more general meditation on motifs key to sport and to nationalism: politics, religion, pride, pain and glory.
The Times.

Thrilling reading... cleanly written, meticulously researched... This book unearths a fascinating national sporting history.
Times Literary Supplement.

A fascinating work of admirable scope and depth.
Cycle Sport.

Some story, worthy of the magical realism of Gabriel García Márques or Mario Vargas Llosa in its intricate layering of sport, social history and the vagaries of human nature.
Cycling Plus.

Though not from an established publication, my favorite review of the book comes in the form of the personalized note that that was written in Spanish for the original owner of my copy of the book. It says: "This book made me cry, I'm sure it will do the same for you."

Lastly, remember that the Colombian Climbs prints are still available. You can find more information about them here.


  1. I'm not gonna get the book, cuz I don't read. I'll just wait for the movie starting Gael Garcia Bernal. Hehehe.

    Seriously tho, I think it's really cool that you have been going out of your way for all this time finding and "collecting" these books so that other can enjoy it. I highly recommend it. I have not heard of even one person who has read it and not LOVED it. It's good stuff. Thanks for making it available for others.

  2. So, how do I go about getting a hardback version off you? (I am really just using it as a cover to try out those sweets, sounds just up my road). Thanks, kieranbrennan - p.s. are we ever going to see a book full of the best postings (your ramblings on columbian life, cycling and riders) from this blog?

  3. Kieran,
    in the paypal email, just state which one you'd like (hardbck of paperback). As for a book, perhaps one day!

  4. ColOmbia, NOT ColUmbia, goddamit!!!!

  5. I think I'm so accustomed to it, that I no longer notice it. But yeah, what he said! ha haaa

  6. Are you sure, wasn't the place founded by that great Irish saint ColUmba?

  7. It's a fantastic book and to a large extent it is what inspired me to take my bike to Colombia the first time - I can't stop going back! I met Matt Rendell a couple of years ago, jolly decent chap! He was quite genuinely surprised when I started asking questions about Kings of the Mountains and even more so when I told him that we were offering guided cycling tours in Colombia. I joked that he needs to rewrite the last chapter and give it a happy ending - things have moved on so much.

    While we're waiting for SkullKrusher's movie we should campaign the UK's Channel 4 to repeat the documentary of the same name which was based on the book

  8. jimjimjimjimjimjimjimDecember 18, 2012 at 12:48 PM

    I am excited.
    PP $ent to you Klaus.

    Thanks for the effort as always.

  9. Any copies left? Just want to check before I send $$.

    Thanks for doing this, been looking for a copy for a long time.

  10. LA Dave,
    Yes sir, paperback copies are still available.

  11. Great, just sent the paypal payment. Thanks again, can't wait to read it.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.