The Flying Scotsman

The Flying ScotsmanI was checking out the biographies in the library and spotted this title, The Flying Scotsman, and I thought it would be about David Millar, a cyclist but was surprised to find it was about Graeme Obree.  I had not heard of him but thought it would be an interesting read.  He was also a cyclist and holder of the world hour cycling record.

The book ended up being a really sad story.  Obree had a miserable childhood and his feeling of having no self-worth was what dictated his life. The story of his life was one that linked in with events happening in Australia at the time I was reading the book.  Grant Hackett, an Olympic Gold medal winner was having mental health issues and Dan Vickerman, a former Australian Rugby Union player had died.  Both of these sports personalities were having difficulties adjusting to life after sport. In the case of Graeme Obree he suffered highs and lows and when he was not on the high of achieving his cycling goals he plummeted to the depths of despair.

This is a sporting biography that should be read by those interested in cycling but also by those who participate in competitive sport.  I am pleased to see that Obree has gone on to write other books and now has his depression under control.

When checking out whether Davd Miller had written a biography, he indeed has, I discovered that he also suffered depression and alcohol abuse as a result of the consequences of doping in cycling.  That is another biography I will need to read.

 

3 thoughts on “The Flying Scotsman

  1. There was a BBC documentary about him recently, which I was thinking of watching. It’s still on BBC iplayer (here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b08c70vf/battle-mountain-graeme-obrees-story?suggid=b08c70vf) but I think it’s only viewable if you live in the UK. I knew he’d had a troubled time of it but I didn’t know it was as a result of depression following a difficult childhood. This book sounds like a hard read but also fascinating, to see how he excelled despite, or perhaps because of, the odds against his success.

    • It was a very sad story. Pity I can’t see the documentary. It’s a shame they don’t allow viewing worldwide. I will have a look on YouTube as sometimes things get put up there after they have aired on tv.

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