Morgan Hill author James Hibbard will be featured at BookSmart June 10 to promote and talk about his new book, “THE ART OF CYCLING: Philosophy, Meaning, and a Life on Two Wheels.”
Published by Pegasus Books in May 2023, THE ART OF CYCLING interweaves cycling, philosophy and personal narrative to provide readers “with a deep understanding into the highs and lows of being an elite athlete, the limits of approaching any sporting pursuit from a strictly rational perspective, and how the philosophical and often counterintuitive lessons derived from sport can be applied to other areas of life,” says a promotional description of the book.
The book was first published in the United Kingdom and Australia in 2021 by Hachette/Quercus. In 2022, THE ART OF CYCLING was shortlisted for the Sunday Times Sports Book of the Year, Hibbard said.
Hibbard, a former professional cyclist, will host a talk about his new book at the June 10 event, and answer questions from attendees.
A Live Oak High alumnus, Hibbard was born and raised in Morgan Hill. He attended UC Santa Cruz for undergraduate studies and is working on his PhD in Philosophy at DePaul University in Chicago.
Hibbard worked at Specialized Bicycles in Morgan Hill for several years. He currently lives in Morgan Hill with his family.
The event at BookSmart, located at 421 Vineyard Town Center, is scheduled to start at 2pm June 10.
Hibbard agreed to answer a few questions from the Times about THE ART OF CYCLING. His answers are below.
What is your book, “THE ART OF CYCLING: Philosophy, Meaning, and a Life on Two Wheels,” about? What motivated you to write the book?
In spite of “cycling” being in the title, the book is about how any tangible skill—in this case cycling, but it just as easily could have been about chess, gardening or the like—can serve to counter our increasingly common trend of detachment and abstraction.
I was heavily influenced by books like Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road,” Robert Pirsig’s “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” and more recently, John Kaag’s “Hiking with Nietzsche,” all of which eloquently interweave Western philosophy with a personal narrative in an attempt to show that ideas indeed matter.
Is the book based on your personal experiences and/or your own life? What aspect or aspects of your personal background informed the writing of THE ART OF CYCLING?
While one thread is decidedly personal—another traces my relationship to Western philosophy, from my early interests to later disenchantment owing to the increasing sense as I got older that the things I cared about most were beyond the scope of rational, philosophical ways of understanding the world.
What are some of the lessons you think can be applied from sports and athletics to life in general?
While I think that there is some truth to the often-held belief that sports can engender traits like grit and perseverance, overall I’m both suspicious and critical of the role played by sports in our already hyper-competitive culture and have witnessed first-hand the difficulty that many former professional athletes have adapting to life after retiring from their sport.