Author(s): Joe Parkin
In 1987, Joe Parkin was an amateur bike racer in California when he ran into Bob Roll, a pro on the powerhouse Team 7-Eleven. "Lobotomy Bob" told Parkin that, to become a pro, he must go to Belgium. Riding along a canal in Belgium years later, Roll encountered Parkin, who he saw as "a wraith, an avenging angel of misery, a twelve-toothed assassin" . Roll barely recognized him. Belgium had forged Parkin into a pro bike racer, and changed him forever. A Dog in a Hat is Joe's remarkable story. Leaving California with a bag of clothes, two spare wheels, some cash, and a phone number, Parkin left the comforts of home for the windy, rainswept heartland of European cycling. As one of the first American pros in Europe, Parkin was what the Belgians call "a dog with a hat on" -- something familiar, yet decidedly out of place. Parkin lays out the hard reality of the life--the drugs, the payoffs, the betrayals by teammates, the battles with team owners for contracts and money, the endless promises that keep you going, the agony of racing day after day, and the glory of a good day in the saddle. A Dog in a Hat is the unforgettable story of the un-ordinary education of Joe Parkin and his love affair with racing, set in the hardest place in the world to be a bike racer. It is a story untold until now, and one that you will never forget.
2009. Reprint. A trade paperback copy in very good condition.
""A Dog in a Hat" is the most authentic book ever written on making a living as a pro cyclist in Europe." -- Bob Roll, Versus Tour de France cycling commentator "Is "A Dog in a Hat" the best book we've ever read about bike racing? Undeniably yes. The essential truths you'll learn about Belgian bike racing are timeless. And the self-effacing (and often hilarious) way Joe narrates the absurdity of these traditions will make you laugh out loud. Of everything written about bike racing throughout the history of mankind, Chapter 3, "Kermis Don't Play Fair," is the most important 20 pages ever penned. No one should be permitted to own a USA Cycling license without being able to recite this chapter from heart. You'll be fascinated by Joe's humility, his determination, and by the warped way domestiques set their goals and weigh success." -- CompetitiveCyclist.com ""A Dog in a Hat" is a page turner. Anyone who has raced in Europe or who wonders what it's like to jump the ocean on your own should pick up this book. Joe captures the struggle and the intensity to succeed, and the fact that he did it on his own is all the more impressive. Cycling in Europe is tough; doing it Joe's way is even tougher!" -- Frankie Andreu "Parkin's commentary is riveting, offering an insider look into the sport that few get to see, let alone experience." -- Mountain Bike magazine "I loved "A Dog in a Hat." Joe's stories bring back many memories of racing in Belgium, where I learned how to fight for position in the echelon, to suffer in the gutter while jumping curbs and dodging potholes, and to pound out my guts when it really mattered. Belgium is a hard place to learn bicycle racing and Joe's story proves how tough he was." --Ron Kiefel "This plain, self-deprecating memoir has the ring of authenticity at the other end of the sport where--even today--not all the riders are being paid, the hotels are still bad, and the races are just as hard." --TinDonkey.c
Joe Parkin was an amateur bike racer in California when he met Bob Roll (Bobke II), who advised him to move to Belgium to further his cycling career. He represented the United States at the World Professional Cycling Championships and the World Cyclocross Championships. Following his road racing years in Belgium, he returned to the United States and began a successful second career as a pro mountain bike racer. He currently resides in Golden Valley, Minnesota.