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It's Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life / Edition 1

It's Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life / Edition 1

4.6 256
by Lance Armstrong

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ISBN-10: 0425179613

ISBN-13: 2900425179610

Pub. Date: 06/04/2002

Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group

This is the story of a journey from inauspicious beginnings through triumph, tragedy, transformation, and transcendence. It is the personal story of Lance Armstrong's life so far, from childhood through early success, nearly fatal cancer, recovery, survivorship, more triumph (victory in the 1999 Tour de France), marriage, and first-time fatherhood.


This is the story of a journey from inauspicious beginnings through triumph, tragedy, transformation, and transcendence. It is the personal story of Lance Armstrong's life so far, from childhood through early success, nearly fatal cancer, recovery, survivorship, more triumph (victory in the 1999 Tour de France), marriage, and first-time fatherhood.

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Penguin Publishing Group
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Table of Contents

1.Before and After1
2.The Start Line17
3.I Don't Check My Mother at the Door43
4.Bad to Worse73
5.Conversations with Cancer101
9.The Tour219
10.The Cereal Box265

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It's Not About the Bike 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 258 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It’s Not About the Bike Review The novel “It’s Not About the Bike” by Lance Armstrong and Sally Jenkins is a motivating and touching autobiography of Lance’s journey back to life. The beginning of the story explains the hardships he has overcome with family and the many ups and downs he encountered on the way to becoming one of the greatest cyclists in the world. Near the middle of the book, as Lance is approaching the peak of his incredible biking career, the discovery of his testicular cancer throws off everything in his life. Dealing with such a sudden life changing experience gives Lance a whole new perspective and in the end of the novel, but not even close to the end of his new and healthy life, he wins the biggest race he thought he’s never be able to compete in again. He leaves a mark on everyone who’s read the story’s life with the strength he showed through out his beautiful experience. Most would agree Lance Armstrong touches close to anyone’s heart with his story and he does an excellent job of going into detail about his mom, how they were a two person family who depended on each other before cancer, and how much everything changed after the illness. Though the format of the writing was out of order, the message and method to the style was very understandable and thoroughly portrayed throughout the novel. Knowing that you’re getting a Winner of the Tour de France and Cancer Survivors perspective on how you should cherish every second of life really does help you realize what the book is conveying to the audience. The major message in the novel is given through out all Armstrong’s life. Don’t lose hope. Keep the strength. From when he was a child and held on to his hope even when his mother was broke and had an awful step dad, to when he would bike up extremely difficult courses, and also when he was told he had a 50% chance of living. Being strong was all Lance knew to do in his chaotic world. From the first page of the novel to the very last one it grips you, especially about how he over comes the hardships, and only becomes stronger every step of the way. No one in their right mind would dislike the story of Lance Armstrong, Winner of the Tour De France, Cancer Survivor, Husband, Father, Son, and Human being. The overall rating of this book would be 9 out of 10 stars.
Evanissuchanicekid More than 1 year ago
“What is stronger, fear or hope?” ¿ Lance Armstrong When you get cancer it doesn’t just change your body it changes your mind. For Lance Armstrong every thing is fast, but when he is diagnosed with testicular cancer life slows down to a halt. In the beginning he believes his career as a professional cyclist is over. Luckily with the help of some amazing doctors, second opinions, and hope he beats all odds and over comes the disease. The ability Lance has to connect with readers is very impressive and the way he vividly describes the details of every event makes the book even more fun to read. However when I read the updated version that includes an added chapter about the 2000 Tour de France, it made the book end in an odd place. This book is a very exciting read and it was difficult to put it down. “It’s Not Bout the Bike” a great read for anyone who likes action, sport, romantic, and inspiring books. Similar to the book “Between a Rock and a Hard Place” By Aron Ralston this book will keep you reading for hours on end. I would rate this book as a 9/10. You’re sure to love this inspiring book about his accomplishments and the gravity of having cancer.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
From the first word of it to the last word of it I was glued to the book. It talks about how Lance Armstrong's life takes a turn for the worst when he finds out he has cancer and it has spread to his whole body, with little chance of survival. He thinks his career as a professional athlete is over. It then goes on to tell how cancer was the best thing that could have happened to him, how it made him a better man, and how it made him even closer at reaching his goals and make his career better by making him stronger. His obstacles, highs, lows and ever lower points in his life are told about in the book in the best way possible. The author uses the best writing skills to hit your soft spot and to really make you feel exactly what he went through emotionally. I not only liked how the author's syntax was so great, but also how it really made you feel emotional on every page. I honestly have not one dislike of this book. It was amazing in every aspect. I felt really connected. The major theme of the book was, as his mother always used to say "Make an obstacle an opportunity, make a negative a positive." She would tell this to him in his childhood but didn't realize then how much it would impact his life in the future. Even though he got cancer and thought his love of cycling was over he made that obstacle into an opportunity by making cancer be the best thing that ever happened to him. It was an all-time low for him, more negative than anything in his life but he turned that around and made it into something magnificently positive. I recommend that everyone reads this book, even if you don't like cling or even Lance Armstrong, it is just so moving and really changed my views on a lot of things like cancer and just believing in yourself. Reading this book can really change someone; it really touched me and motivated me to live my life to the fullest. I wanted to find something I was so passionate about like Lance was to cycling. In this book its shows that riding it like breathing to Lance. He needs it to live. Every part of this book was moving to me from him not having a true father, being so close to his mom, to him finding love, having a son, and fighting cancer. My overall rating of this book is a five-star must read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This novel is an inspirational story of a young athlete and the struggles and challenges he had to encounter in his life. Lance Armstrong was on his rise to fame in his biking career, when the diagnosis of testicular cancer sends his life plummeting back to the ground. Lance describes how the cancer spread to the rest of his body, how his future as a professional athlete was coming to an end, and his journey through his treatment. He explains how cancer shaped him, made him a better person, and what it was like to pursue his dreams even after a tragic obstacle. In my opinion, this story was not only fascinating to read, but also very heart-warming and moving. What I enjoyed the most was how cancer really made an impact on the way he lived. It made him look at things from a different perspective and made him learn to appreciate the simple things he used to take for granted. I really admired the courage and motivation Lance had in order to get back on his bike even when he was weak and fragile. The book not only had an entertaining story but also a great moral. It demonstrated that sometimes the hardest struggles in life can only make us stronger. He portrayed that cancer was such a terrible piece of his life but without it, he never would have really learned to appreciate his life, and he never would have gotten the chance to really live. I recommend this novel for any athletes, cancer survivors, or anybody who needs a little inspiration in their lives.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A man striped of everything that he knows and wants; Lace Armstrong assisted by Sally Jenkins tells the story of his fight back to life and cycling. After faced with three different types of cancer Lance struggles with himself in training and recovery . Lance Armstrong and Sally Jenkins did an outstanding job describing the uphill battle faced throughout Lance's life. Lance describes his feelings and emotions on and bike and in the recovery room. Lance tells his debate with himself and his conquest to become the world's best cyclist. The book tells Lance's background and family life and how important they are to Lance's success and how without them, he may not have made it through cancer. I liked almost everything about this book, from learning about his family to discovering the feelings felt by Lance during the Tour de France. When I began to read I was instantly swept away by the first sentence and was unable to stop reading. This book can make you cry at the pain Lance was willing to go through to win, and laugh at how it was all worth it. You become connected with Lance and his family and begin to feel the sorrow and joy found in his many life lessons. This book is a great story for any reader looking to be inspired, and without a doubt, gets five stars.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lance Armstrong and Sally Jenkins did an excellent job in this book, from using extreme detail and not sugarcoating the tough parts. This book really shows that no matter your ups and downs, your breakdowns to the point of no return, you can still make it out the other side stronger and a better person. I thought that this was an excellent book telling the tale of Lance's bike racing career as he is diagnosed with three types of cancer. He realizes that even though at first it seemed as if it was about the biking and the racing, it helped him discover who he really was and what he wanted in life. This book shows readers of young and old that giving up is not an option, and Lance chose that it was not the way he was going to live either. I loved the way that Lance and Sally described every detail along the way of his cancer and after his cancer, even the parts that were tough to write about, like when he makes his wife cry because they had to move back to America. That was a very real part of the book in which Lance does not look very flattering and it still helps complete the book as a whole. This novel creates a convivial, challenging, and mentally stimulating scene which keeps you interested and entertained for the whole book and thirsty for more afterwards. It helps you learn more about his biking career and the many challenges of cancer from his testicular cancer and surgery to his cancer of the brain down to his very thoughts during the CAT scan. He began strong as a child, learned what it was like to lose, gave up biking, and rediscovered who he was. And maybe along the way he discovered that it wasn't about the bike. It was about living.
J-E More than 1 year ago
I read this book at a time in life when I was feeling rather low, my health was not great and I had little direction. Reading about Lance and his battles and achievements was an absolute revelation. To see someone be put up against so much and not be beaten shows what we are capable of as human beings when we put our minds to something. I read this book while travelling for business and upon returning home I researched and bought a bicycle two days later. I then started cycling to and from work every day regardless of the weather. My fitness improved and my outlook on life as well. I owe a lot to this book for opening my eyes to stop being so pathetic and to get out there and just get to it! This is a life changing read. Even if you are not a fan of cycling, that does not matter as you will appreciate the hard graft that Lance goes through every day for survival and to be the best.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Its an incredible story and the author has done an exceptional job helping Lance tell it. As good as the bike racing details are, they pale next to the descriptions of Lance's reaction to his cancer, his chemo and the changes it made in his life. The toughest thing is to try to convince people who have no interest in bike racing that this is a book they should read. Oprah would love this book if she realized the story it tells. I honestly could not put the book down once I had started it and more than once, my eyes got a bit misty...
BrittDouglas More than 1 year ago
Lance Armstrong has been in news for the wrong reasons currently as he confessed having taken performance-enhancing drugs to compete for the Tour De France title seven times. He has been stripped of his seven Tour de France titles, Olympic bronze medal that he won in 2000, and a lifetime ban has been created on him by the anti-doping agency. Weirdly enough, he brings up the topic of drugs and doping in certain sections of the book. “Doping is an unfortunate fact of life in cycling, or any other endurance sport for that matter. Inevitably, some teams and riders feel it’s like nuclear weapons, that they have to do it to stay competitive within the peloton. I never felt that way, and certainly after chemo the idea of putting anything foreign in my body was especially repulsive.” “I can emphatically say I am not on drugs. I thought a rider with my history and my health situation wouldn’t be such a surprise, I’m not a new rider. I know there’s been looking, and prying, and digging, but you’re not going to find anything.  There’s nothing to find… and once everyone has done their due diligence and realizes they need to be professional and can’t print a lot of crap, they’ll realize they’re dealing with a clean guy”.  Lance Armstrong was diagnosed with testicular cancer at age 24 when everything was going great for him in the world of cycling. Once diagnosed with cancer, Lance was given a forty percent chance of survival by his doctors. But he survived and worked very hard to get back his physical and mental strength. Just 16 months after being released from the hospital, he won the Tour de France in 1999 with one of the fastest times ever.The Tour de France is the most impressive cycling race in the world. It has 21 days of racing with only 2 rest days and covers just over 2000 miles. The Tour de France is a huge test of a man’s physical and mental strength. There are about 25 teams with anywhere from 9 to 13 riders per-team. Lance gets his intense drive and perseverance from his mother. He talks about disappointments, miracles, despair and hope, and fear and courage.This book was very interesting to read when comparing it to the modern-day hype about Lance Armstrong. Being a cyclist myself, it is very disappointing to see how he deliberately lied to all of the readers of the book, and his fans. Setting that aside, this book is still the story of a great accomplishment done by a man that had very little chance of living. He still is one of the most iconic people in the recent world of sports no matter what he has done. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've been wanting to read this book for years. My mother's had cancer & she read this book about 10 years ago. Even after Lance Armstrong admitted to cheating, I still respect him as an athlete because of what he overcame as a cancer survivor. Truly inspiring to anyone who's gone through it or has a loved one who has.
Joeli More than 1 year ago
“Our biggest struggles reveal our biggest strengths” Its not about the bike by lance Armstrong really is ‘not all about the bike.’ In fact, the main themes are mostly courage and never quitting. The book is about a famous cyclist, lance Armstrong. He has grown up without his father and with his mother, who constantly reminds him to never quit. He uses the mentor to help trains and become a better cyclist (and person). however, at the peak of his career, gets testicular cancer that spreads to his lungs, and brain. He is faced with death. IN fact, doctors even told him they were “positive he would die”. Against all odds Lance survives. It’s a struggle for him to walk again, let alone cycle again. IN the midst of healing, Lance finds true love, and despite being unable to have children without science’s help, has a beautiful baby boy. HE eventually gains strength and starts cycling again. Not only does he start to cycle, but he wins the tour de France. The story is incredibly inspirational and incredibly moving. Lance has a very defined personality that shows through. He makes me feel empowered. It motivates me to want to be a better person. The mood the book is incredibly strong. It has some sad parts, but Lance is always incredibly honest with himself and the readers. It is a very good book. In fact, I have already recommended it to my friends, because of all the important things this book has taught me. The overall rating I give this book is a 8 out of 10.
Sweitza More than 1 year ago
A powerful book with a dramatic story about life. The book starts out when Lance Armstrong a young man with great potential as a professional cycler, gets diagnosed with cancer. His life is turned upside down, and you are taken along with him on his journey to defeat cancer. Along the way you learn to be grateful for what you have because in a blink of an eye a promising life can be reversed. You learn to love those around you and stay close to friends. But most of all, this book teaches you to never give up and to always work hard no matter what life throws at you. I enjoyed reading this book because I need to learn how to work hard in life for things and that they aren’t just going to come to you. I can also relate because I enjoy bike racing and I like watching them compete. I also learned a lot about racing that I didn’t know before. Last, I liked how straight forward Lance is in the book. He isn’t afraid of saying anything so be prepared to here and learn things you might not want to know. I would highly recommend this book because of its intensity and strong messages. In the end I would rate this book a 5/5 because it was so interesting and it makes yyou really apreciate life.
LBrewer1 More than 1 year ago
A hopeful man becomes a hero: Lance Armstrong Fear is something that is always here. It's been with us for thousands of years, and it will be with us for thousands more. Whether or not your biking one of the most dangerous and most difficult courses in the world, or whether or not you are fighting cancer. In this book "It's Not About The Bike," Lance Armstrong takes the reader through his story of the consent persistence to survive his cancer. This book is a definite read and should be enjoyed by everyone. Throughout the book you get to know Lance personally and realize his will power to win and to not let cancer take him down. He truly is a hero that can be looked up to by anyone and is a role model to those with cancer or other diseases. I couldn't put this book down because I felt so connected with his life story and what he has gone through. Lance Armstrong is a truly remarkable person who has written an amazing story that everyone should read.
BethanyM More than 1 year ago
Amazing and Inspiring book. I read this book for an English class summer read and I was very impressed. The book not only tells about Lance Armstrong's journey through cancer, being a father and husband, and a world class bicyclist, but it also gives an inspirational and strong story. I would definetly reccomend this book to any type of athlete, this is because it shows that when you fee lthe lowest about yourself and when you think that things can't get any better- you still have to hope and push through it. If you are looking for an inspiring and powerful read, this is the book! I liked how to book was written by him which really made the point some across strongly. I disliked the sad parts but overall an amazing book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Exceptional Read! After reading this book, I honestly changed the way I look at cancer patients. Lance Armstrong does such a fantastic job of telling his story and struggle through cancer. I would say the two biggest themes in the book are compassion and determination. At some points in the book, the mood turns to the sad side, and it's tougher to read. At other times, there is such an upbeat attitude that you can't put the book down. Lance also made it very fun to read, as he started with his early teen childhood and wrote about his experiences all the way up until his 7th Tour de France win. He tells about his family, pre and post cancer, he explains all the reactions from friends and family, and the most enjoyable part of it all is the confidence and happiness he has about getting through cancer. Having won the Tour 7 times, Armstrong was not a man to quit, and throughout the book, you get a huge sense of determination. If you know or knew someone who has or had cancer, you will thoroughly enjoy this book. One thing I didn't enjoy as much was how graphic some parts were. Since cancer is life threatening, Lance went into extreme detail, so if that doesn't seem like something you'd like, then maybe this book isn't for you. After I had read every page of the book, I thought back on some of the experiences I had given up on, and how much worse Lance Armstrong had it with cancer. I would definitely give this book 5 stars, because you are left thinking about so many things about how you can cherish your life just as Lance had done.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Defying Odds, On and Off the Bike Life is a risk, when you’re speeding down mountain roads at 70 miles an hour, when you are having chemo pumped through your blood. When you are seconds away from death. A small town Texas boy going on to win multiple Tour de Frances in the face of having cancer; some would call that impossible, while Lance Armstrong? He would call it a risk. Lance truly beat the odds on and off the bike, which caused him to refocus his life on what he saw with true value. The book brought on laughs, tears, groans, and smiles, while still capturing the fact that everyday we get closer to dying, but everyday, we are also living. Throughout the book, Lance found himself more and more with every day he was sick with everyday he faced defeat. At the start of the book, his attitude of cockiness and confidence set me thinking, will I be able to stand a whole book of him talking about how great he is? However, as I go into it, I saw that he was just a guy, a human being, with trials, hopes, dreams and fears. He was brought up humbly and that gives tribute to how far he truly has come, nothing handed to him. That sense of possibility that anyone can be great could give anyone hope whether you grow up in a small apartment like Lance or not. The part of the book that stuck with me the most, wasn’t hearing him talk about winning the Tour de France, or gaining over a new sponsor, it was the words he spoke that came from a human, not a legend. “If you asked me to choose between winning the Tour de France and cancer, I would rather have the title of cancer survivor than winner of the Tour, because of what it has done for me as a human being, a man, a husband, a son, a father.” With all of the controversy that surrounds him now, my opinion of him hasn’t change at all. I know that I can go off what he demonstrates in his book, that he was a fighter, that he never gave up no matter the odds, and that will have many prizes in his life still whether his titles remain or not. He will always have the memories of cancer survivor, husband, and always have a voice calling him dad. He will always have the scars of surgeries and crashes that got him to where he is now. Lance never quit on surgery, on his hopes and motivations, on life, and that is truly defying the odds on and off the bike.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A fight worth fighting for. Lance Armstrong’s thrilling journey through the race of life will motivate anyone. No one wants to hear that one word that can altogether destroy a person: Cancer. Lance had his whole life going for him, rising to the top with his incredible ability and strength with bike racing. Out of nowhere, when everything all of the sudden crumbles, Lance finds himself in the doctor’s office as the news of Testicular cancer bounces off the walls. With emotions that engulf him threatening to snatch his career away, he decides to do everything he can to keep cancer from winning the race. The many struggles and obstacles tempt Lance to give up at every turn, but instead of giving in, Lance rides more fiercely with extra passion and everything left in him. Lance tells the truth bluntly, and inspires anyone willing to read this. He specifies that the situations in life that try to swallow us up, make us stronger and see the reason why life is worth living for. This was an astounding book that anyone should take the time to read, as it shapes one’s perspective on life whether a major athlete or not, a cancer patient/survivor, or anyone that really needs some encouragement. The only thing I disliked about the book was how descriptive Lance got with telling about the bike races he went on, but the comparison of bike racing to cancer fighting went together perfectly. Definitely a book worth reading!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
sassypickle More than 1 year ago
Prior to this book, I didn't know much about Lance Armstrong. I admire Lance's will to beat cancer and to live; However, he is a selfish and arrogant man and at times I found his attitude distasteful. Having said that, I did find this book enjoyable and learned a little something about cycling. Worth a read.
Rrodriguez More than 1 year ago
Cancer Inspiration   Lance Armstrong’s book It’s Not About the Bike My Journey Back to Life is an amazing story that will give you the strength to overcome Life’s challenge and always find the positive in any situation. Lance grew up as a Triathlete and eventually evolved into becoming a world renowned cyclist. As time went on, Lance began noticing that he wasn’t feeling right and ignored the signs in order to keep racing. He eventually went to the doctor and was diagnosed with testicular cancer, and it had spread throughout his body, lungs, and brain. He was faced with giving up everything he had to start fighting for his life. This included countless surgeries and chemo treatments, which in the end made him stronger than he ever was before. ¿This book has some very depressing moments, but in the end it’s the cancer that made Lance the great cyclist that he is today. Cancer taught him to fight to the end, no matter the situation, as long as you believe in yourself anything is possible. Lance said having cancer was more important to him than winning the Tour de France, because without cancer, he would have never become such a good rider or see the world from a viewpoint that other cyclist would never have. ¿This book is so inspiring and goes into so much detail about every cancer fighting situation. The reader is made to feel like Lance as he goes through the trial and tribulations of fighting cancer. I also learned a lot about cycling itself and how much of a team sport it is. This book inspired me to become a better person and to really enjoy every day. One never knows when that might change and turn everyday into a fight for your own life. I disliked how the book went on after Lance winning his first Tour de France, or his son being born. I felt the details of the second tour and the Olympics, became too repetitive. I would recommend this book to anyone who needs a little inspiration in their life to keep pushing through. Lance Armstrong had a 3% chance of living and he survived to become one of the greatest cyclist ever, and used his fame to start a foundation to raise money and cancer awareness. ¿I would recommend reading Lance’s sequel to this book as it goers into further details about his foundation and his life after cancer. I guarantee it will inspire you to become a better person, and turn something bad into something good and then go out and change the world.  
Ali_Johnen More than 1 year ago
Giving up was never an option for pro cyclist Lance Armstrong. Throughout his life he was a fighter in everything he did such as competing in triathlons, bike races and even cancer. He was diagnosed with testicular cancer that had metastasized to his brain and lungs. As he told his story I found it very difficult to put down. I really liked how he incorporated different sections of his life in separate chapters but still related each event back to one another. When I was reading I felt as if I was in the room with him. The book was very well written and truly amazing to read. The only thing I didn't enjoy too much was how in depth he went about some of his races; it was somewhat repetitive. Other then that I would highly recommend reading this novel!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book....
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am a huge cycling fan, however, even if you are not you will thoroughly enjoy this book. Lance has a way of expressing himself and the situations he must deal with in life in a way that everyone can relate. This book runs the entire gamut of the highs and lows encountered in life and how we choose to deal with them will shape and impact how we live not only for the here and now, but what we can do to help others as well. I have read numerous autobiographies; however, I must say this one was definitely one of my favorites.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mosso More than 1 year ago
Read this when I was home feeling sorry for myself after my own health problems. It inspired me to get up and do something about it. Lance Armstrong is hero to many I'm sure. Would recommend to anyone who thinks there is no hope.