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Publisher's Summary

Bloomsbury presents Magic Spanner by Carlton Kirby, read by Carlton Kirby.  

Prepare to be entertained as legendary Eurosport cycling commentator Carlton Kirby shares his tales from the road, taking you behind the scenes of the world's greatest cycle races. 

With a candid authority that comes from over 25 years commentating on the world's biggest cycling races, legendary Eurosport commentator Carlton Kirby isn't afraid to tell it like it really is. Witty, outrageous and often outspoken, Magic Spanner is an insider's view of life on cycling's Grand Tours, including the Tour de France, Giro D'Italia, Vuelta a España and the classics, all delivered in the inimitable style for which Carlton has become globally famous.  

Peppered with hilarious anecdotes of life on the road with Tour legend Sean Kelly, Carlton gives us an expert, behind-the-scenes view - one that the average fan rarely gets to see or hear about. As well as sharing his various bugbears (including crazy spectators in mankinis to the more serious issues of rider safety), Carlton also lifts the lid on team strategies and delves into some of cycling's more questionable ethics.  

Delivering a mix of expert opinion and trademark wit, Carlton covers the funny, the serious and the more bizarre moments on the professional cycling caravan.

©2019 Carlton Kirby (P)2019 Bloomsbury Publishing Plc

Critic Reviews

"A genuine one-off with a ready wit and a killer anecdote to hand at all times." (Ian Cleverly, Rouleur)

"Carlton Kirby is no ordinary cycling commentator, so it is not surprising that this very entertaining book is no ordinary Grand Tour on a bicycle. A very enjoyable journey for everyone." (Phil Liggett MBE, NBC Tour de France commentator)

"Carlton Kirby's infectious enthusiasm, wine tips and Shakespearean joy for inventing words makes every stage of a bike race a must-watch event." (Matt Butler, i newspaper

Featured Article: The Best Biking Audiobooks


Hey, cyclers! If you’re looking for a listen to motivate and energize you while you head out on a ride, these audiobooks are sure to get you pumped up. But whether you decide to listen on or off your bike, this list was curated especially for you. As the summer heats up, you might be looking for motivation to get out there on your bike and onto the streets—or maybe you’re plenty motivated already and just need tips and tricks to up your cycling game. Find the best cycling audiobook for you in the picks below, whether you’re a lifelong rider, a newbie, or any skill level in between.

What listeners say about Magic Spanner

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Outstanding!!

Hilarious, insightful, well-done! I've already recommended this book and would recommend it to you! Highly entertaining.

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Satisfying journalist's perspective of cycling

So much fun! I loved the whole of it. Giving it another listen right now.

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  • Kate Reynolds
  • 01-26-20

Masterful

Carlton’s familiar voice makes this a most enjoyable listen. In terms of the content itself - I ordered this audiobook on Saturday morning. It’s now Sunday and it’s finished. I kept myself finding more and more jobs to do just to listen. So thanks Carlton - for my tidy garage and clean winter bike!

4 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 10-30-19

Love it.

I love Carlton Kirby commentating. He adds colour, history, humour, an obvious deep and abiding love for the sport of cycling, respect for its practitioners, and sheer humanity to the business of talking endlessly while we watch skinny lycra-clad people peddle their bicycles for hours on end. Buy the book. You'll thoroughly enjoy his ramblings - listen to the audio book, if you can, for the full effect.

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  • David
  • 08-14-20

Stick with David Millar

I came to this based on the reviews and in the hope it would give me an insight to the cycling world similar to the David Millar tape. Unfortunatley straight from the first story about being naked in front of a Japanese family the book was dull and the stories at best unfunny, at worst just plain boring.
Avoid.

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  • Jonoman32
  • 09-16-20

great commentator

it's just like listening to a full day on the tour, lots of topics, lots of Carlton, nice insights, good listen!

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  • Phil Wilkinson
  • 07-02-20

Hilarious and insightful

Carlton Kirby delivers an excellent and at times very funny look into his life as a cycling commentator. Lighthearted and fun it's well worth a listen!

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  • GJ
  • 05-20-20

Superb

Well I would say that being a cycling and Carlton Kirby fan, but this book was informative and funny. Lots of amusing anecdotes and some outrageous laugh out loud moments. Read as only Carlton can, this was an absolute pleasure to listen to

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-30-20

worthwhile

funny and anecdotal, made .e gigle out loud, the writers accents made the stories funnier because some of the interviews I'd actually zee . Great work

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  • Shane
  • 04-28-20

Excellent Commentary

The writer luckily narrated the book which was delivered like an extended Eurosport Tour de France commentary. Very witty and enjoyable.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 03-27-20

Sumptuous feast of cycling anecdotes!

After 35 years of watching Eurosport’s coverage of cycling from the classics to the grand tours the bar has duly been raised yet again! From Duffield and Roche, to Kirby and Kelly. Long live King Kirbs! Can’t stop smiling even though I finished reading yesterday 😂

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  • steve e addington
  • 03-03-20

Super smashing great!

The book was funny and informative! Kirby rules! Performance was top notch. Please write another!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-20-20

Carlton is brilliant

Wonderful snapshots of Carlton's world. His mimicking of Sean Kelly and his other commentators is the highlite for me but his self depreciating humor is both amusing and endearing. l know for some he is an aquired but for me l have always enjoyed his commentary and his book is a delight.

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  • cr3studio
  • 06-09-20

Amazing couldn’t put down

Do yourself a favor and grab this, it’s a wonderful light hearted look into what’s behind a career journalist in cycling. I loved every minute.