Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Book Review - Inside the Postal Bus by Michael Barry

A couple of weeks ago I checked out "Inside the Postal bus" written by
Michael Barry from the library before my trip to California. Michael
Barry is a professional cyclist who was a team member on the 2004 US
Postal Service team with George Hincappe, Floyd Landis and some guy with
the last name of Armstrong. His first name escapes me for some reason.

Being a big fan of professional cycling this book really held my
attention. Basically, it chronicled the 2004 cycling season from the
first team meetings through the season finale and everything in between.
Here are some things that I learned while reading this book that I
thought were interesting.

If you have team mates from Europe it's not uncommon for them to answer
the door to their hotel in their underwear or nothing at all. This was
quite a surprise for Michael Barry's wife on occasion.

Because every team is comprised of riders from all over the world,
communication is often a problem. The US Postal team mainly
communicated in English. There were a few riders that didn't know
English at all so they had to pick it up from their teammates. The
order they learned English was 1. Swear words 2. Racing terms 3.
Everything else.

The US Postal team hated staying in France during races. This is
because the hotels were typically very small. In a couple of the rooms
Michael Barry could actually touch both walls of his room by holding out
his arms. They also didn't like the food because the restaurants they
ate in were typically unsanitary. Whenever possible they would stay in
Spain because the accommodations were better and the restaurants were
much cleaner.

Leading up to the Tour de France there is intense competition among the
team to make the squad selected for the Tour. The only consolation for
not making the TdF squad is getting 3 weeks off because there aren't any
other races scheduled during this time.

Floyd Landis has an incredible knowledge of pop culture if it's after
1998. He doesn't know about much pop culture before then because he
grew up in a Mennonite household.

I thought this book was very well written and I highly recommend it if
you're interested in cycling. It was written in 2005 so you might not
be able to find it at your local book store but chances are it will be
available at your local library. Honestly, I don't know much about the
Dewey Decimal System but I found this book at our library under (796.62
BARRY). Maybe LizzyLou could school us on if this number would be
consistent with your library.


Jenny said...

Nice review. Was Floyd Landis on the Postal team?

Jason G. McClain said...

Wonderful review, going to have to go out and look for that at he library this weekend.

If you have not, I would also recommend two titles by Bob Roll,

Bobke, and Bobke II, they were some of the funniest cycling related reading I have ever come upon.

Also, would you object to my linking to you from my site?


Jerry in So IL said...

Heft on Wheel was teh last biking book I read!

I'm going to look this one up...just as soon as I pay that library fine.


jeff said...

Good info. I'll have to check it out. Prior to Postal, Discovery, Armstrong, etc., I knew very little about pro cycling. It was a fun time to learn more about the sport.

Buttsy said...

Sounds other half went to the tour in 2004 with some friends in a media contingent and he would love this book as he learned a lot about the life of a pro cyclist while he was there and it was an experience he will never forget.

Mike J said...

Jenny, Yep Floyd was on the team that year. Let's hope he didn't pick up some bad habits there.

Jason, I've read Bobke II. Good book and very entertaining.

Jerry, I have to admit in order to check this book out I had to pay off my fine first. It's the only fine I've ever had though.