Cycling Britain: The 1,200 Mile Picnic

If you have listened the the most recent episode of The Cycling Europe Podcast – episode 023 – you will have heard me chatting with the cycling writer Rob Ainsley. We met up a couple of weeks ago in North Yorkshire and after a day spent cycling from Bolton Abbey to Hawes (as part of my 2020 ‘Great British Cycle Tour‘) sat in a pub in Hawes to chew over the interviews that I had conducted with the Guinness World Record breaker David Haywood’s cycle to the most countries in 7 days and James Brigg’s journey from ‘Ibiza to the Norfolk Broads’ because, well, he’s a fan of David Bowie and why not?! Here’s the man himself:

Rob Ainsley

Before we go any further, have a listen to this. It’s quite short but it is rather good:

That was, of course, Rob. He was beginning to retell the story of his cycling journey from Land’s End to John o’Groats that he completed way back in 1997. He has now turned the whole journey into an entertaining podcast / audiobook. Here is the blurb:

When Rob Ainsley cycled the End to End, the idea was to go from Landโ€™s End to John oโ€™Groats eating only locally-produced food and drink. Which meant โ€˜energy gelโ€™ was pork pie, and โ€˜isotonic drinksโ€™ were cask conditioned bitter.

He hoped his route โ€“ carefully designed to take in the worldโ€™s strongest beer, finest smoked kippers, best deep-fried haggis and chips, and several distilleries โ€“ would involve fewer food miles than road miles.

It didnโ€™t quite work out that way, and it turned out to be the wettest June for 136 years. But he had a great trip, and this lively, funny Audiobook tells the story.

Itโ€™s lavishly illustrated with specially arranged music, including the 17th-century version of Paranoid Android; Jerusalem in the style of Vision On; Schubert arranged for bicycle bells; and Singinโ€™ in the Rain on bagpipes.

Youโ€™ll also learn how to work out the speed of passing vehicles from their horn, discover how Sir Humphrey Davy pioneered the rave, and find clinching proof that Shakespeare was a cyclist.

The book is narrated by the author with the help of some robots, who probably make more sense.

To listen to the audiobook – it’s free! – you’ll find the links on Rob’s website:

Categories: Adventure, Cycling, Travel

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What do you think?