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Come and Gone Paperback – April 1, 2010

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Frequently Bought Together

Come and Gone + A Dog in a Hat: An American Bike Racer's Story of Mud, Drugs, Blood, Betrayal, and Beauty in Belgium + The Rider
Price for all three: $41.32

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Velo Press (April 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1934030546
  • ISBN-13: 978-1934030547
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #601,899 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“Joe Parkin once again puts the reader in the saddle as he leaves the gritty blue-collar world of Belgian bike racing on a quixotic quest for personal redemption in the budding U.S. road and mountain bike racing scene of the 1990s. The race descriptions are so realistic, you'll need a heart-rate monitor.” — Sal Ruibal, USA Today

“Like its predecessor A Dog in a Hat, Joe Parkin’s sequel is a fun, barebones adventure through the eyes of a professional cycling journeyman. Dry, candid, and occasionally humorous, Parkin takes the reader inside the national and international cross-country circuits as he rubs elbows with the best in the sport and balances occasional brushes with greatness with more frequent implosions and disappointments.” — VeloNews magazine

Come and Gone is an unflinching look at the grueling and often mundane world of professional cycling. Dirt geeks will appreciate the historical context as Parkin races in the blossoming mountain bike scene of the ‘90s and competes against legends such as Ned Overend and Tinker Juarez. Parkin’s humility, humor, and at times, indignation combine into an engaging coming of age story on the bike.” — Dirt Rag magazine

“As Joe enters each new race, we have feeling that this time it will be different—a win, or a podium finish, or at least being in contention for something. But so often he just slips off the back, blows up, or simply does not finish. When we are so used to great comeback stories, it is a disappointment somehow, but Come and Gone smacks more of the exhaustions of real life.” — PezCyclingNews

Come and Gone isn't a glamorous work of literature. It doesn't tell of great or important things…The book’s title is an appropriately stark and breezy description of the end of a career. Parkin conveys this sense of how hard it is to walk away, knowing you're good enough but somehow it hasn't worked out.” — PodiumCafe.com

Come and Gone doesn’t romanticize the cycling world. What Parkin does well is capture how heartbreaking and frustrating it can be trying to break out of the amateur ranks. Come and Gone is an honest and unglamorous look at the effort required to be a professional cyclist and make a living racing your bike.” — DailyPeloton.com

“It is Joe’s hope that makes Come and Gone so fascinating. Because his name didn’t become even bike-race-household, you know at the outset that his story will end in something other than triumph. What sustained Joe as a bike racer…is the book’s great mystery.” — RedKitePrayer.com

“Much like his previous saga A Dog In a Hat, Joe makes no effort in Come and Gone to candy coat his experiences, chronicling every high and low as he eked out a living on his bike. One part heartbreak, and two parts inspiration, his description of life in the trenches provides a glaringly honest perspective of every detail through the transition from one discipline of riding to another. It flawlessly conveys the myriad of emotions he felt, as if you were his sole confidant through the twilight of his career as a professional cyclist.” — AllHailtheBlackMarket.com

“This is not exactly a love story. Come and Gone is more like a drawn out, running gun battle of motivation and desire constantly battling with the physical and emotional world of racing bikes. The book shows a passionate and hard-working rider making his way in a hard and humbling world. If you aspire to race professionally or want some insight to the less-than-glamorous aspects of the scene, Joe Parkin dishes it up for you in Come and Gone.” — CrankCollective.com

Come and Gone is a superlative record of the mindset and career of a “blue-collar” pro cyclist… If you’ve read A Dog in a Hat and were left waiting mid-career, Come and Gone is the perfect bittersweet finish. Together, they are the perfect cycling memoir.” — TheWashCycle.com

A Dog in a Hat…heralded the discovery of a rider who not only knew his place in the grand scheme of pelotons, but turned out to be a particularly fine practitioner of the written word. Parkin combines a degree of excellence on the bike with a remarkable facility on the word processor, so those pages are filled with despair, joy, fun, success, and satisfaction.” — TheWashingMachinePost.net

Come and Gone is a frank, humble and decidedly non-glamorous account of a racer who guts it out to hold his own against many of the sport’s top names of the ‘90s. Parkin’s story may be a tale of a racer who never quite finds the “big win” he’s seeking, but how many of us ever really do? Come and Gone still rings true for the everyman and everywoman cyclist who’s able to revel in the pain, deal with the bullshit and come back asking for more.” — Cyclocross Magazine

Come and Gone is not the book of a champion but rather of the guy who had a few good rides over thousands of races. This is something that most bike racers can relate to.” — UrbanVelo.org

“Written in a light, colloquial tone… Come and Gone is tough to put down. A fun read. Parkin…isn’t afraid to make a little fun of himself while providing a first-hand perspective of riding with legends.” — GearJunkie.com

“Parkin has a unique diary-like style. You feel his legs getting tired, and you feel his elation at the victories, and his frustration with each loss.” — BostonBiker.org

Come and Gone is a tale of no-frills cycling that should be read by anyone thinking of making a living on their bike—not a cautionary tale, but rather a honest and often humorous story that simply tells it like it is.” — CampyOnly

Come and Gone is a snippet of bicycle racing from someone that was on the inside.” — Embrocation Cycling Journal

Come and Gone is a truly gritty look at the passionate career of a pro cyclist and his determination to keep trying.” — BicycleSmile

From the Back Cover

After five years of busting my ass in the Belgian gutters, I said goodbye to Flanders knowing that I might never go back. I never did.

I flew back to the U.S. with empty pockets and no contract. For several years, I was unable to watch a Belgian spring classic without a lump in my throat. I died a little bit watching my teammates in the Tour de France in 1992.

Eventually, I landed a spot with the Coors Light team. After the years in Europe, though, racing in the U.S. didn't really do it for me. I was never able to rise to the level of dedication I had mustered each day in Europe.

Until I started racing mountain bikes.

Come and Goneis the long-awaited sequel to Joe Parkin's widely praised bestseller,A Dog in a Hat. Picking up the story,Come and Gonefollows Joe through three hardscrabble seasons chasing wins on the U.S. road racing circuit before he changes course and tastes victory as a mountain bike pro. A gritty, authentic, and heartfelt personal memoir,Come and Goneis also a chronicle of the rebirth of professional bike racing in America.

“Parkin shows you life on the edge of the peloton. We know the great champions' stories, but Parkin's experience is far more illustrative of what a ‘pro cyclist' really is.” —PodiumCafe.com

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Customer Reviews

3.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By gc on July 23, 2010
Format: Paperback
do not waste your money. it's a diatribe of self centered "poor me", set on repeat. so much so i thought the printer had made a mistake and bound an identical extra signature (set of pages) somewhere around its content. there are so few english-written titles about flemish racing, and he hit it in the head with his vivid and passionate descriptions. he made me feel right there, i could smell the tire rubber and the embrocation's camphor, elements that made his first book an absolute gem. but not this one, which comes across as an afterthought, as if he started with a good idea, but then ran out of steam one third into the book. feels more like a hurried diary, with almost zero regard for story telling and more focused (if "focus" applies here) on his own excuses and explanations. I was partially interested on his coming back to the domestic scene, the differences between being a pro in europe vs a pro in the us, how much he loved the sport, his toils with sponsorship, etc. But then as the 2nd third of the book rolls around, his accounts of poor performance are hard to read. i had to suffer my way through the book, which ended anticlimatically, much like his own story. the only realization i had is to demand my money back. poor writing, tons of name-dropping, never bothered to streamline the prose, hard to read. seems like it was cobbled together last minute from the back of a van. if the contents alone were not so blatantly uninspired, the final slap in the face is the cover, which was ripped off from Tim Krabbe's "the Rider" (an infitely better book). Shame on velopress for thinking the readers are as lazy and boring as they are. save your money, buy a pint of duvel or go for a ride instead.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By "only my opinion" on August 18, 2010
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I am sorry to say, I pretty much agree with "gc" who disliked Come & Gone. The book struck me as a long, wordy complaint. Parkin is a very capable writer, but Come & Gone is not worth buying.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Michael McKelvey on March 10, 2011
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If you liked "Dog In A Hat" because it portrayed bike racing from the perspective of someone who loved bike racing, you will not enjoy "Come & Gone". Parkin did not enjoy racing in the United States and writes with the perspective of a losing jock; not interesting. No need to read this book. If you enjoy reading an author that demeans the spectators of a race because they do not give him the time split he desires, you may enjoy this book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ronald Franklin on August 24, 2010
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I really enjoyed Joe Parkins first book "A Dot in a Hat", so I naturally wanted to read "Come & Gone". Though not as insightful as the first book, "Come & Gone" is still an enjoyable read. It does a adequate job of letting the reader in on the struggles of a man trying to make a career of racing a bicycle in a country that has yet to embrace the cycling culture. As an avid cyclist, I can certainly relate to some of his experiences but felt a little disconnected from the author this time around. I would still recommend this book as a fun read but don't expect any revelations about bicycle racing or the culture.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Billy-Bob on June 21, 2010
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I was really looking forward to this book, as Parkin's first book "A Dog in a Hat" was absolutely excellent. This one, not so much, it did not capture my imagination or pull me in as completely as the first book. "Come and Gone" just kind of came and went with several short stories with not a lot of detail in-between to complete the pages. As some of Parkin's rides were not his best efforts (as per his own admissions), neither was this book. It could have been much better if he had just added a little more insight or told a few more amusing stories. Parkin was on the cutting edge of mountain biking, yet he never does more than briefly touch on how good or bad the bikes were, what he liked or didn't like about them, what components he was using, etc. I would think that mostly cycling nuts will read his books and would be interested in that kind of information.

All in all, still a book most likely worth your time. I am sure I will re-read both his books sooner rather than later. Maybe Parkin just set the bar so high with his first effort it was not possible to achieve the same result twice.

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By Justin Maines on March 5, 2014
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All-in-all a good story. Joe's attitude is crappy, and he's kind of whiny, but its still an interesting adventure. Best read with Patron.
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Good book which describes what it was like to be an American racing in Europe when very few others were racing over there and the conditions that bicycle racers had to endure in the early days of US cycling.
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