Anne Mustoe, A Bike Ride: 12000 miles around the world, 1992, Virgin Books, London.
I have just finished my umpteenth reading of Anne Mustoe’s book, A Bike Ride: 12000 miles around the world. If I am ever on Desert Island Discs and Kirsty asks which book I will want to take, this will be it. For all sorts of reasons.
First, it is so well written. She hits just the right balance of travel lore, cycling detail, history and adventure. The pages zip by as if she is hurtling down a long, exciting descent. Her style is nicely captured in the book’s title: no nonsense, never a wasted word and a delight to read. Her idea of choosing routes to match her interests in ancient and modern history ensured from the start that the reader gets more than the usual diet of travelling trivia.
Second, she is an inspiration for we mortal cyclists of a certain age. Starting cycling at the age of 54 or her early retirement, she built herself up to a regime of 50 miles a day, 5 days a week, 1000 miles a month. Now, that’s a regime most of us can aspire to and it leaves plenty of time for sight seeing, reflection and writing on the road.
Third, she is so positive throughout. Nothing and nobody is allowed to get her down – at least not for long. Intrepid might have been invented to describe her.
I am sorry to say, Anne is no longer with us, but as long as her books are in print, I am sure she will have her admirers to keep her memory warm.
Anne Mustoe, A Bike Ride: 12000 miles around the world, 1992, Virgin Books, London. Recommended with 5 stars.