Saturday, 14 July 2012

Britain on a Bike

One Man and His Bike by Mike Carter - Ebury Press

John O'Groats is named after a Dutchman by the name of Jan de Groot who established a ferry to Orkney in 1496. This is one of the little nuggets of information  with which Guardian journalist Mike Carter regales us in his recounting of his ante-clockwise bicycle ride around the coast of Britain. There is a bit of the midlife crisis in this book. Pedalling away on his trusty Ridgeback Carter tells us that he is trying to get away from the economic gloom and the crime headlines.

Although he provides us with descriptions of the pain and effort of his cycling exploits, this is really a story of the people he meets along the way. People such as  Jack Kendal the seventy four year old cyclist from Stoke-on-Trent who is also cycling around Britain having agreed with his daughter not to go back cycling to South America or Alaska and Stevie the ferryman plying his trade back and forth across the three hundred metres of the Kingsbury Estuary. They are characters, nice people ,interesting people and it is through them and many others that he highlights the diversity of the countryside through which he is passing.

Carter may not be the Bradley Wiggins of writers but this is a solid performance from a domestique. A book that engages one's mental gears but is not too taxing.

No comments:

Post a Comment