Thinking of giving a pressie of a cycle touring book this Christmas? These would be the top five titles from my wish list – if I didn’t already have them!
Barbara Savage, Miles from Nowhere.
This is full of wit and good fun and makes light of a pretty fantastic world tour. There is a nice balance of, ‘how we did it’ and wonder at the adventure as it unfolds. It’s a read made sadder by the knowledge that Barbara was killed on her bike on her return home and before the book came out.
Josie Dew, The Wind in my Wheels
I think this was Dew’s first book and while her writing improves in the later titles, this one has a brightness and verve that is very appealing. It’s nice to track back to her first adventures in cycling and catch her enthusiasm from the start. It’s infectious.
Anne Mustoe, A Bike Ride
This was Anne Mustoe’s first book and the result of her first round the world tour: in fact her first tour of any sort. In my view its a gem. It’s a real page turner and with each new page you gasp at her pluck and vitality and strength of character. Each of her trips followed some historical route, but she never crowds out her own adventure with tales of the past.
Dervla Murphy, Full Tilt
I suppose Dervla Murphy might have filled all five positions. I certainly would have liked to include her autobiography, but ruled it out as it’s not strictly a cycle touring book. In some ways Full Tilt set the benchmark for others: epic voyage, courage and endurance, brilliant writing and a dash of humour – what’s not to like?
Anne Mustoe, Lone Traveller
There is no rule to say that an author can’t have more than one entry! This was Anne Mustoe’s second book, following her second round the world trip and as she said, she wanted to make it a bit different from her first. She says she steeled herself to reveal more of ‘how she did things’ and ‘how she felt doing them’ and I think this makes for an even better book.
I am a bit surprised to find that it’s an all woman list. Not even a token man! Well, I have called them as I see them, What attracts me in cycle tour writing is:
- Writing that takes me along on the adventure
- Good humour and not too much ego
- An epic journey well described
- A balance of how to and why to themes
- Not too much straight journalling.
Reviews of the individual titles are available via the Book Review tag to the right of this page.
I’d welcome any suggestions for other titles to consider.