Let's face it, the great American cycling novel has yet to be written (not lately, anyway). And what cycling-related literature there is falls into one of three categories: inspiration, celebration, or perspiration. If you want to read about a one-legged mother of six who bicycled across the country to raise awareness about the papilloma virus, or Lance Armstrong's latest deep philosophical musings, or Chris Carmichael's detailed instructions for sprint repeats and heart rate monitor training, the world is your oyster. But if you're looking for compelling, engaging prose that explores the relationship between literature and cycling, well you're basically stuck watching Breaking Away for the 20th time (yeah, we know it's a movie).

Fear not for cyclerature though, because into the breech have stepped editors Paul Diamond and Erich Schweikher with a little ditty they like to call Cycling's Greatest Misadventures, a new anthology of original nonfiction cycling stories from Casagrande Press.

Now don't let the title fool you. This collection of bikecentric essays is not a Ripley's Believe it or Not on bikes. And with the exception of one incongruous section of bike crash photographs, neither it is a collection of horrific bike accidents and cycling tragedies. Instead, it is a profound, engrossing, and above all, thoroughly entertaining set of finely crafted, well-written literary selections that just happen to be written around the central theme of cycling. Hallaleujah!

During the time we spent reading this book, on more than one occasion, the enthusiasm generated by these essays was the ONLY thing that got us off our ice cream-inflated asses and into the saddle. Book cover from the bikebook.com.