I’ve reviewed one of Andrew P Sykes’ books before – the first book he published, but for some reason or another didn’t get around to reading any of his other books. Since my last review, he’s published several more books. He’s on Twitter as @CyclingEurope, and he has a podcast, with full details available at his site.
Adventure books are meant to leave you wanting to go on an adventure. Cycle touring books are meant to make you want to go on a cycle tour, and I dare anyone to read this book and not feel like they want to head off on an adventure themselves.
In his customary style, Sykes will have you laughing out loud (just wait till you get to the bit about “Jesus’s” second coming) while in other parts will leave you pondering. Throughout, he never strays into technical details (though his admitted lack of technical knowledge is concerning for someone who cycles such huge distances) as his books are “people stories”. If you were looking for a deep dive into gearing ratios, this is not the book for you.
Sykes has a particular and endearing style of writing, and he can at times share quite personal thoughts, but this book never descends into “me, me, me”. Instead, he comes across as a humble, kind and friendly human being, with a superb sense of humour, and he certainly isn’t afraid of poking fun at himself.
The book is an honest account of cycling thousands of miles, through a number of different countries (mostly being unable to speak the local language) with a route that he pretty much made up as he went along, having only ever had a fixed start and end to the adventure. In fact, he didn’t even know how he’d return to the UK from Norway, until he was almost at the journey’s end.
This is a delightful book, and I have absolutely no doubt that you will enjoy it every bit as much as I have. Though it tells the story of his epic ride from Europe’s southernmost point to its northermost one, even non-cyclists will be able to enjoy the story.
Do yourself a favour and buy this book.