Book review: Riding Life

Riding Life

Grant Lottering with David Gardner


Review: Chantel Erfort

Isn’t it funny how, when we get involved in a sport or hobby, we immerse ourselves in often obscure trivia about it – and then imagine that everyone else should also know this trivia?

While reading Riding Life, I felt like Grant Lottering imagined that everyone should know his story (spectacular as it is) … but the truth is, I had no idea who he was until I picked up this book.

And therein lies the rub. Stories like Lottering’s one are certainly worthy of being told, but it’s all about how it’s done and that definitely shouldn’t involve making the reader feel somehow ignorant for having no knowledge of the subject at hand.

So, here’s his story. Lottering, an avid and accomplished cyclist, was competing in a cycling race in the Italian Alps in 2013 when he was involved in a horrific crash that resulted in him dying – and being resuscitated – twice.

Among his multiple injuries were collapsed lungs and thorax, acute respiratory failure, ruptured arteries in his neck and right arm, internal bleeding and fractures to his clavicle, shoulder blade, femur, ribs, and extensive damage to his abdomen, liver and kidney.

Despite doctors telling him he wouldn’t walk again, much less get back on his bicycle, Lottering went on to make a remarkable – and remarkably quick – recovery and subsequently, took on multiple endurance challenges through which he raised money for charity and broke world records.

Among these was becoming the first South African to complete a non-stop 420km ride through the French Alps in under 24 hours.

While I generally enjoy biographies and books about endurance sporting achievements, I found this one hard to get through and somewhat tedious – despite the challenges Lottering having taken on being pretty darn exciting.

At times I felt the book read a bit like a journal, and I could have done without the multiple “shout-outs” to sponsors peppered throughout.

I, however, suspect that cycling enthusiasts and people familiar with Lottering’s story may enjoy this as it goes into great – and personal – detail about his journey.