"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 TV cycling commentator
"A slice of literary badassness. I've had a lifelong struggle maintaining an attention span for reading books, but this is a page turner that's been hard for me to put down. A Dog in a Hat is truly captivating." -- HowtoAvoidtheBummerLife.com
"I loved A Dog in a Hat. Once in, I couldn't put it down. The book rings of truth, youth, and passion." -- Andreas Hestler, former professional cyclist
"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, former pro cyclist
"Joe Parkin is a beautiful piece of work, and he turns out to be a better writer than I am a bike racer." --Bill Strickland, Bicycling magazine
"Joe tells his story straight. It's not pretty but it's not bitter." --BikeRadar.com
"Parkin has written an eloquent and historic volume. In the very uniqueness of his story, Parkin realizes a universality that gives his recollections a resonance with any cyclist. Do not miss this book." -- BelgiumKneeWarmers.com
From the Back Cover
"The most authentic book ever written on making a living as a pro cyclist in Europe." — Bob Roll, Versus TV cycling commentator
“I saw my first pro kermis race during my first week in Belgium, and it felt like trying to escape a hall of mirrors but not being able to read the exit signs. Everything was larger than life and more grotesque than I had imagined. But kermis racing was not all about the drugs. If the grand tours are like classical music, kermis racing is punk rock, Belgian-style.
At some point during the season, our team was invited to a stage race in France, but our team director had made an agreement for us to race a big kermis in Brugge. My buddy Cocquyt decided that we should go as hard as we possibly could from the gun in the kermis, team time trial style, and then peel off at the end of the 11-kilometer lap, laughing at all the guys we had tortured as we took off for the other race. Of course, we all coughed up blood for the entire trip to France, but it was strangely worth it, as if we had smashed our guitars, poured beer on the audience, and walked offstage before the end of the first song.”
Joe Parkin’s life changed when he left America to become a professional bike racer in Belgium. In this brutally frank memoir, Parkin celebrates the glory of racing but doesn’t flinch from the cold reality of that life—the drugs, the payoffs, the betrayals by teammates, the battles with team owners for contracts and money, the endless promises, and the sheer physical pain of racing day after day.
Set in the hardest place in the world to be a bike racer, A Dog in a Hat is one rider’s story of his love affair with professional cycling.