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Cyclist-Extraordinaire Shares His Top Reads This Season

Stefan Amato, British based cyclist and founder of Pannier.cc, shares his most loved gestalten reads ahead of the Holidays.

Cyclist-Extraordinaire Shares His Top Reads This Season

architecture & interior design & fashion Escape food & beverages

Cyclist-extraordinaire, Stefan Amato, is a British based cyclist and founder of Pannier.cc, a hub for adventure cycling. This year, we partnered up to create Grand Bikepacking Journeys, Stefan’s second title with gestalten. In this follow-up to the hugely successful Bikepacking, Stefan proposes global must-ride itineraries, describing the history and geography of each route along with hidden gems. Stefan gives handy tips on planning, equipment, and tackling the unique challenges discovered along the way. 

When he’s not away, you can find Stefan riding in his local Peak District National Park, or dreaming up his next adventure. And when he’s not out on the bike - you’ll find him out in his garden, or cosied up with a cup of coffee. ‘For anyone that knows me, it'll come as no surprise that food, drink and adventure form the basis of my three gestalten book picks!’ Here’s the three gestalten titles Stefan recommends this winter. 

(Photo: Courtesy of Duncan Philpott, Bikepacking)

Urban Farmers: ‘With my garden space at home 90% cleared and ready for some growing action, we're always on the lookout for inspiration for growing options, beyond Monty Don's mastery. Urban Farmers is the answer - a super inspiring, informative, and important book charting people and projects doing wonderful things for growing in urban landscapes. According to the Intro, 68% of people will be living in cities by 2050, but whilst titled 'Urban', the premise sure applies all along the Rural spectrum, too - it's a universal force for good. We all need food. That said, what comes across most in the book, other than the potential for growing anywhere and everywhere (car park mushroom farms anyone?!), is the growth of community and physical & mental health benefits too. A triple win. Meet people doing great things, learn agrarian knowledge, and join the movement! Right, I'm off to start an allotment, grow greens in the garden, and start a micro-vineyard on my roof.’ Unearth the key ingredients for a greener, healthier, and more sustainable life in the city.


Spill the Beans: ‘Coffee, and the ritual of making coffee, forms a crucial part of my day inside at home, outside on hills near home, and on bikepacking trips. The joy of this coffee ritual is best summed up by the Bosnian term ćejf, which I learned in Sarajevo on a trip with Thierry, as we brewed up Bosnian-style on a derelict Winter Olympics ski jump. Ćejf is untranslatable, but essentially describes something pleasurable and enjoyable in the moment, for the sake of the moment and joy of passing time. This all said, don't assume I know anything about coffee, which is where Spill The Beans has been a great read; this book really is a bible - a fascinating insight into the world of coffee and its global culture. It's a perfect tone and level for all to find interest - not too cliquey, and ideal for someone like me wanting to take a further sip into understanding more. Editor, Lani, has beautifully chartered everything from how coffee is grown, to ways of brewing, to coffee-centred people, projects, food/drink recipes, by taking us on a journey around the world - from Italy and the home of espresso, to Polynesian plantations and Mexican fincas. Today, coffee must be one of the most universal global languages, and this book sure helps understand and speak it. Time for a Turk Kahvesi!’ Head off on a caffeinated tour that unveils the richness of coffee culture, the history of beans, stories, and recipes from around the world.


Wanderlust Alps: ‘The Wanderlust Series is a super selection of large-format adventure books. The hiking/running/fastpacking version of my bikepacking books, basically, but with an added level of 'guide' and information. Wanderlust Alps has to be the best pick for most. Editor, Alex, has selected a whole range of trips in the many regions of the European Alps, varying in length and challenge. Pick one, pick a couple, knit some together, or simply use the stunning photography to inspire visits to certain Alpine regions; the book sure left me yearning for a multi-day hut-to-hut hike with the family! For those wanting bigger, bucket-list trip inspiration further afield, then go for Wanderlust Himalaya.’ Serene, sublime, and sophisticated, the Alpine region is the birthplace of mountaineering and a paradise for hikers.


Soft Minimal: ‘As an architect in a previous life, a mention should also go to Norm Architects' monograph - Soft Minimal - a stunning large-format book that both celebrates and investigates space, materiality, connection, and living through a selection of their projects. Interesting and inspirational, albeit quite niche.’ Building spaces of equilibrium: Norm Architects’ sense of humane simplicity helps to shape environments that feel just as good as they look.


Explore more from Stefan’s latest book, Grand Bikepacking Journeys, and discover our gift guides: Gifts for Food Connoisseurs, Modern Explorers, and Design Lovers, available exclusively on the gestalten webshop.