25 February 2008

Cycling Lit

So the most recent truly awesome adventure is yet to be posted. No time for that now - I got out to the Bay Area to see the first 3 days of the Tour of California, with my son. More on that later. For my travel reading, what better to take on this junket than a travel book, and a cycling travel book at that?

My good friend Neal has often recommended Eric Newby, English travel author. Is he still living? Oh, I guess not. Well, Neal specifically pointed me to this book because of our mutual love for cycling. So I took with me for the trip to CA, Round Ireland in Low Gear. In 1985/86, Newby and his wife Wanda took 4 cycling trips in Ireland, each covering a different region. This is no love song to Ireland, though they clearly appreciate the Irish. And it is no air-brushed travelogue - cycle touring Ireland in December and January? Give me a break.

Yet, oddly, even the worst days in the book gave me the wanderlust, the urge to be on the road with a loaded bike, lots of time, and an open road.

Newby's writing is engaging, entertaining, and informative in a way that I always associate with English authors. His life-long love of bikes and cycling is evident, and he devotes some space(very little, but just enough for my taste) to some historical and technical matters of interest. Not so much to make the non-cyclist's eyes go all googly, but also not enough to satisfy mechanical wonks either, I'm sure.

I look forward to reading other Newby books, of which there are obviously many! But I hope to find some in audio book form to put on my iPod and listen to at night, after a long day in the saddle, on the open road, with a loaded touring bike, in a strange land ... even if it is my own strange land.

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