Title:                    Simple Words From The Saddle

Author:               Scot Whitlock

Publisher:          Olympia Publishers    

Date:                   June 2015

Format:              Paperback

Pages:                 310

ISBN:                  9781848975293

Price:                  £10.99


Dedicated to the memory of his father and with a share of the cover price going to Cancer Research, Simple Words From The Saddle gives us a taste of why the author loves cycling. Most of us will share his love and recognise at least some of the experiences he describes. In many ways this is a very comforting read.


Scot asks that you enjoy the book, even if you find fault with some of it; in doing so, he hopes new cyclists new and old will be encouraged to cycle more and explore wherever they happen to find themselves.


The author has written articles for a variety of cycling magazines and edited Cycling World. Ceasing to do the latter early in 2015, most of the chapters - each dealing with a ride or tour - spring from articles originally appearing in the latter magazine. The geographical spread is admirably wide; from the peaceful English midlands that the author calls home to China, including France and the Crimea. There are few places it seems that Scot has not enjoyed cycling in.

Reviwed by KH

This is not a guidebook, though some details of history and routes are touched upon. From the perspective of the experienced cyclist, the most interesting elements are the observations about local cycling culture and Scot's self-declared slightly off-beat sense of humour, for example, when recommending Stratford-on-Avon for souvenirs stating "I Love London". Immediately after he recommends Warwick and Leamington Spa for "less annoying tourists". At first I thought that this was an editorial error .... surely "fewer annoying tourists" ..... however, given Scot's general approach to cycling, the first could well be deliberate. Self-deprecation is a feature of much cycle-touring writing and this is no exception. Added to this, is a joy at unexpected discovery, when arriving peaceful places, or showing people the familiar. Pleasure is to be found in the combination of Oxford's glorious buildings and in discovering a road-crossing for ducks. Having said that, there are sections where stronger editing would have helped to create a snappier read. Much as I enjoyed a good deal of this book, I felt that it was one for dipping into, rather than a cover to cover read.


Will it inspire? Well, Scot does not get involved in arcane cycling lore or get bogged down in what you need to wear and take. The fact is, cycling is, in his view, simple. Get on your bike and go and explore. Many of the rides he writes about were opportunists affairs, a few spare hours here or there when on a non-cycling holiday, or the chance for a day out with the family. Simple words, simple cycling .....





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