Cycling

From Mark Beaumont to Alastair Humphreys

I’ve just about finished reading Mark Beaumont’s book The Man Who Cycled The World. It’s a cracking read and doesn’t fall into the trap of being a repetitive log of getting up, cycling, eating and then sleeping which, in effect, is what he did for 195 consecutive days. I was also a little bit anxious before starting to read it that, having watched his TV documentary last year (see below), I already knew the story. That wasn’t an issue either: I was aware, for example that he had problems in Louisiana; an accident and getting mugged on the same day, but the quality of his writing gave the whole series of events a vivid re-telling. I say “just about finsihed” as I have still to read the appendix written by his mother who remained at home sorting out problems and dealing with the admin of cycling around the World. That should give the whole adventure a contrasting perspective.
So from Mark Beaumont to Alastair Humphreys. I first heard this guy’s name earlier in the summer. I’ll quote from my diary:
“The road out of Settle was hell and I resorted to pushing – John’s quote of “never be too proud to push” was in the back of my mind. Once the hill was conquered, I was back into open moorland for a while until the route started to fall into Airton. What a beautiful village. I fancied something to eat or drink and asked a chap who looked like a local: he was and when I gestured to him and turned my bike around, he pointed out that I was about to get run over by a lorry. Thanks! He told me there was a café, but no pub as it was a dry, Quaker village. This got us chatting. Back one step: as I was cycling down into Airton, I had been thinking about how I could enlarge my Puglia 2010 trip to become a World 2020 trip, i.e. for each summer to do the next leg of what would eventually be a cycle journey around the World. I could even start the whole thing in Berwick-upon-Tweed and include this summer’s efforts (but that would require me to also do Derby to Reading as well at some point). Anyway, back to Airton… the man – he was actually a history teacher – told me that a chap called Alastair Humphreys lived in the village & that he had cycled around the World – in about 440 days I seem to remember, or was that 44,000 miles? How strange is that? Destiny perhaps.”
I don’t know too much about Alastair Humphreys apart from that. I’m not even sure that I have got my facts correct over his journey taking either 440 days or 44,000 miles. What I do now know is that he has written a book – in two parts – about his adventure. I’ve just purchased part one so I am about to find out a lot about the guy. The blurb on the back says that his journey took him 4 years which implies that the 440 days statistic is not correct. Anyway, his book, called Moods of Future Joys (which is at the other end of the spectrum when it comes to saying what it does on the tin compared to The Man Who Cycled The World), will hopefully give me all the answers. Either that or his website www.alastairhumphreys.com .
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  1. Thanks Alastair – Airton was a close run thing with the lorry 🙂 It was a strange series of events the morning I cycled through Malhamdale: thinking about where my trip next summer could lead me and then bumping into the retired history teacher who lived just opposite the village animal watering hole (do you know him?). I'm undecided about the World yet. Things like work and life might get in the way of that eventual dream. It's a long term goal, like winning the lottery, becoming more beautiful and finding true inner happiness. I'm aiming high. In the meantime I'll keep reading your book and vicariously following the adventures of the likes of yourself and Mark Beaumont. Thanks for taking the time to visit Puglia 2010!CheersAndrew

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