Book Review: Pedal Power, by Anna Hughes

Pedal Power is a very unusual book, from the pen of the very talented Anna Hughes. I reviewed an earlier book of hers, Eat Sleep Cycle before.

What makes this book unusual? It’s non-fiction, but that’s not unusual. The unusual part is it tells the stories of over 80 people who were pedal powered, and despite the picture of a cyclist on the cover, isn’t exclusively about cycling, but includes a write-up about a pedal-powered boat, too.

The stories are incredible – some you may have a passing acquaintance with, while I expect others will be completely new to you. Hughes covers cyclists like Froome, Vos, Merckx and even Armstrong, as you would expect, but have you ever heard of James Moore?

She tells the stories of absolutely kick-arse people, like Tessie Reynolds (no, I hadn’t heard of her before reading this book, either, and she’s but one of many such people). Great adventurers, round-the-world cyclists and ultra-distance athletes, such as Mike Hall and Juliana Buhring – a good friend of Emily Chappell’s, and often mentioned in Chappell’s book – are introduced to you, and even the ever-likeable Guy Martin makes an appearance.

However, Hughes also introduces us to people like Isabelle Clement, who started Wheels For Wellbeing, and Phil Jones, who went from being critically obese to a British Cycling Ride Leader. She tells the story of Rob Holden, who cycled up Mt Ventoux on a Boris Bike (and how he managed to return the bike with literally seconds to spare.

She tells the story of perfectly ordinary people, whose lives were changed by pedal power, and Hughes does this in her usual free-flowing style that’s so easy to read. A phenomenal amount of work must’ve gone into doing the research that led to this book being written, and more work yet made it such a pleasure to read.

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I have no doubt that you will enjoy reading it just as much as I did, and if you buy the book directly from Hughes’s web site, you can get a signed copy. This book would make a great addition to any cyclist’s library and I suggest you go grab your copy right away!

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