EAT, SLEEP, CYCLE
Author: Anna Hughes
When Anna Hughes set forth on a bike ride following the coast of Great Britain, she did so out of the purest cycle-touring motives; she wanted to explore and the bicycle was, and had been for many years, the way she got about the place. Hours of planning and more of dreaming saw her depart form Tower Bridge and head for Essex, and find the first day for tougher than expected.
Though the going was tough at times, this was never a head-down-personal-best challenge. Anna took time to discover, to meet friends and make new ones, to blog, to coasteer (fundamentally, jumping into the sea from rocks), to visit the children in a Highland Primary School and much more. The latter resulted from her policy and budget - £10 a day; seeking accommodation with friends and friends-of-friends rather than obsessing about pre-booking months ahead; a talk to the class in return for a nights accommodation. The children had been following her blog. What a great way to learn about Geography!
Anna begins the acknowledgements with thanks to all those "who gave me a bed, shower and food and to those who kept me company on the road." This
Reviewed by Steve Dyster
is a key theme of the book. It confronts that thorny old problem; how to travel without a wallet full of credit cards and a credit-rating to match. There's always a sense of adventure, beyond that which comes rom any voyage of discovery.Discovery, of both self and coast, is set before the reader in short, sharp sections describing each day's journey. A format that allows the reader to move along briskly at the pace of the ride and get close to the feeling one gets on a moving-on tour. Anna did not always move quickly, but progress, through thick and thin, was relentless, and the reader is drawn into this. Relentless, but with time for a chat over tea and cake with fellow cyclists.Anna mixes snippets of information about the places she travelled through, her changing emotions, and the tales of the road, with aplomb. You could dip into the bite-sized chapters, but you are just as likely to find that you are drawn ever-onward to the next one, then find time for one more. I was amongst the latter - I wanted to keep pedalling along to see where Anna got to next and where the next cycle-tourist she met was heading to. Keeping to the cadence set by entertaining and lively writing that doesn't obsess; rather it shows how holistic and wholesome cycling round an island can be.
This is a really enjoyable read for those interested in traveller's tales and, especially those, who believe that there is more to cycling than riding a bike.
REVIEW PUBLISHED 2015