Pro Cycling on $10 a Day: From Fat Kid to Euro Pro

Pro Cycling on $10 a Day: From Fat Kid to Euro Pro

by Phil Gaimon


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Plump, grumpy, slumped on the couch, and going nowhere fast at age 16, Phil Gaimon began riding a bicycle with the grand ambition of shedding a few pounds before going off to college. He soon fell into racing and discovered he was a natural, riding his way into a pro contract after just one season despite utter ignorance of a century of cycling etiquette. Now, in his book Pro Cycling on $10 a Day , Phil brings the full powers of his wit to tell his story.

Presented here as a guide—and a warning—to aspiring racers who dream of joining the professional racing circus, Phil's adventures in road rash serve as a hilarious and cautionary tale of frustrating team directors and broken promises. Phil's education in the ways of the peloton, his discouraging negotiations for a better contract, his endless miles crisscrossing America in pursuit of race wins, and his conviction that somewhere just around the corner lies the ticket to the big time fuel this tale of hope and ambition from one of cycling's best story-tellers.

Pro Cycling on $10 a Day chronicles the racer's daily lot of blood-soaked bandages, sleazy motels, cheap food, and overflowing toilets. But it also celebrates the true beauty of the sport and the worth of the journey, proving in the end that even among the narrow ranks of world-class professional cycling, there will always be room for a hard-working outsider.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781937715243
Publisher: VeloPress
Publication date: 05/05/2014
Pages: 312
Sales rank: 354,510
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 17 - 18 Years

About the Author

Phil Gaimon is a cyclist, writer, and entrepreneur who retired from laziness and computer games in 2004 in favor of riding a bike to lose weight. On a whim, he started racing and soon discovered that he was a natural. Phil advanced rapidly through the amateur ranks and turned professional in his second full year, still ignorant of a century of cycling etiquette. He slowly learned the rules and clawed his way to the top of the American pro ranks, joining Garmin-Sharp in 2014. He maintains a website where he chronicles his ceaseless pursuit of the best cookies and milk in America.

Read an Excerpt


I'd always wondered what might happen to make a rider dope for the first time. I'm sure every situation is different, whether it comes from a doctor, outside pressure from staff or teammates, or a just a dark moment of personal desperation. I wondered what I would do if, by some miracle, I was signed to a top team and someone handed me a needle at training camp, explaining that I'd be on the next flight home if I didn't take it. After all I'd been through to get there, would I have the courage to say no? It was a scary thought.

I wanted to raise the stakes on myself, to help remove any temptation I might encounter, so I decided to get a tattoo. The design would be a bar of soap with the word "CLEAN” on it. If I was ever tempted to take something, a tattoo would be another incentive to avoid it, and maybe enough of a statement that my next doctor wouldn't close the door to ask what drugs I was on. I'd place it on the inside of my lower bicep, to be plainly visible in a victory salute.

I'd never had a tattoo, so in the spring, I mentioned it to my teammate, Nick Waite, at national championships in Greenville. We decided to get it that night, peer pressuring each other into action, but on a Sunday in rural South Carolina, our options were limited. I made some phone calls and convinced one shop to stay open. It was such a simple design, Nick and I didn't think we needed to go somewhere good. What could go wrong?

We hesitated when we arrived at the small building behind a gas station in nearby Spartanburg. A tall African-American man was walking out. He'd just gotten his son's name on his chest, and was explaining it to a friend, who wondered why he hadn't gone with his wife's name. "See, my son's gonna be my son forever. But my wife? That bitch could leave me any day.”

Nick and I held strong. We explained our idea to a heavily pierced female tattoo artist with a shaved head. She was pale and overweight, she wore a leather jacket filled with shiny silver buckles and spikes, and her teeth looked like a box of crayons. I went first. Nick looked at my tattoo, which ran the full width of my puny arm, and got the same design 25 percent smaller.

Her work was shaky; maybe she had never worked on anything as scrawny as a bike racer's arm. Nick and I both had to get our tattoos touched up a few weeks later, but we'd formed a club and made a pact. We'd do our best to spread the word and convince more athletes to get CLEAN tattoos. And if anyone doped, the rest of the club would come and scrape it off with a cheese grater.

Table of Contents


1 Riding Fixes Everything
2 Take What You Can Get
3 Pay Your Dues
4 Get in Your Damn Car
5 Pay Your Dues Again
6 Purgatory
7 Patience
8 Get Serious
9 You Gotta Believe
10 I Don't Believe It

About the Author

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Pro Cycling on $10 a Day: From Fat Kid to Euro Pro 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
ChristinaU More than 1 year ago
I loved this book as a recreational cyclist and a writer who enjoys good writing. It's neat to hear about the life of a pro cyclist (makes me feel in good company as a starving freelance writer) and Phil is hilarious. So worth picking up.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found this book to be interesting and fun. Its mostly centered around shorts stories about his experience in pro cycling. Phil's stories are entertaining and give a good look at what the typical pro racer faces in his/her journey to making the pro tour. If you're an avid cycling fan and follow the sport than you'll have no problem following him and if you've ever raced you'll be able to relate to some of what he says also.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is simply not a good read.   The format of the book is quick little snaps of stories one after the other in sort of a chronological order.  But the thoughts are so random, its like the author just included some ideas he jotted down on a napkin or something.   Also, if you get this book, you must have some interest in pro cycling, but he is dropping names all over the place.... and I guess they are important people, but if you don't follow the sport --  it really doesn't have the impact that the writer intends.    Also, I feel the book title is very misleading.  "From  Fat Kid to Euro Pro," sounds like a really interesting story.  Except the transformation from "fat kid" to pro cyclist occurs in the first chapter.   The book starts, I was fat in high school, so I started riding a bike.  I lost weight.  In college I joined the cycling team and began a pro career that summer.  Really.  Thats how fast it happens.  Its like he discovered cycling, and BAM- he became a pro.   He even has a pic of his "fat" self as a teen ager... and he's not fat.   I think this is a cheap ploy to make his story seem more remarkable.    I was hoping for a bit of a fun read and an inside look onto the pro tour...while he does share some great insighs of the true life of semi pro, amatuer and small -ball club racing...  really i wish some one else wrote it.   Its meh.   Not worth the cost of admission...worth checking out at your library though- especially if you are really really into pro cycling. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I may a little biased because I race bikes and love racing stories.  Phil has a way of bringing things to life that makes you feel like you are on the bike with him.  I devoured his book, reading it in two sittings.  Like a spoon and a half gallon of  Edy's slow churned Cookie Dough ice cream, I couldn't put it down until it was finished.  I can't wait to read what he has next.  Maybe some good fiction.  He reminds me a little of Steinbeck's Tiajuana Flats.  A rousing good time that has you cheering the hero, Phil, all the way