By James Briggs
When the long cycle tour is over, what next? Well, after a cold beer, a gluttonous meal and a fourteen hour snooze it’s hastily back to reality. You can just let the memories live on in your mind, which is perhaps most satisfying of all, or you can try and share the joys of the ride with others. When I completed my trip following a David Bowie song lyric 2700 miles ‘From Ibiza to the Norfolk Broads’ following the Starman’s musical and artistic legacy across Europe, I opted for the latter.
Armed with those precious riding moments – the peace, euphoria and the pain – along with some scrappy Go-Pro footage, a bundle of photos, and a large boil on my bottom, I set out to tell the world. Suddenly those French headwinds blowing into your face for 30 straight miles brought a smile to your face. The memory of those bright blue skies and lime green spruce trees clinging to the rocks on long, grimacing climbs over the Pyrenees made you want to do it all again. And the kind people who fell for your lies and let you into a studio where David Bowie recorded Heroes after you told them you were a BBC journalist, well, they probably knew it was a huge pack of codswallop but kindly let you in anyway.
I was fortunate enough to appear on Episode 23 of The Cycling Europe Podcast which had me diving back into my photos and stirring up memories of the ride all over again, so I decided to write a book. This is something not to be undertaken lightly – but if you have the desire and time, why not? So two years, 92 lost weekends, 3000 hours of listening to David Bowie and 1,042 Wagon Wheels later… I finally finished it. But that was only the beginning; next came a ton of rejection letters, landing a literary agent, rewriting the book, losing a literary agent, ghostwriting someone else’s book, teaching myself to build a website and sending out to publishers. Yep, the road to being a published author is as long and lonely as the ride itself. But whatever happens with the book and the blog, there’s nothing quite as thrilling as the ride itself, those memories are yours to be cherished ‘for ever and ever’ just like Bowie sang on Heroes.
N.B The boil on James’ bottom has now gone.
You can find James online at his website, BowieByBicycle.com or his Twitter and Instagram accounts. I’m sure he’d love to hear from you, especially if you are a literary agent… More details about all episodes of The Cycling Europe Podcast can be found on this page of CyclingEurope.org.