I’ve reviewed two other books by the same author before – his 1st book, and his last book. This review is for his second book, which I only fairly recently purchased and read. Sykes is on Twitter as @CyclingEurope, so give him a follow and he has a podcast, with full details available at his site.
I suppose I’d better be honest right from the start: I’m a big fan of Sykes’ books. He has a natural style of writing that is easy to read, and he is also very open and honest in his books – cycle touring isn’t all moonshine and roses, and Sykes doesn’t pretend that it is.
Along The Med On A Bike Called Reggie tells the story of when Sykes cycled from Cape Sounio in Greece all the way to Cape St Vincent, in Portugal, mainly (but not always) following the Mediterranean coast. It’s a monster of a ride: over 6 000km (that’s almost 4 000 miles) of cycling, during which he passed through ten different countries (some more than once, but you’ll have to read the book to discover why).
If you’ve read any of Syke’s other books, you’d be familiar with his at times staggering honest, often heart-warming, always insightful and frequently very funny writing style. If you’ve never read any of his books, you’re in for a treat, so hurry along and order his books!
This particular book – as I’ve come to expect from Sykes – tells you a lot about the countries he cycled through, but it never becomes a chore. Quite the opposite, in fact, and I dare anyone to read this book and not want to go visit those same places. In between all the laughs – seriously, wait till you get to the part where he managed to pitch his tent at a camp site apparently favoured by nudists – there are also sombre parts. Sykes was obviously touched by the still-visible remnants of the war in Bosnia.
Though he’s a touring cyclist, he pulled off some impressive feats during this trip, including cycling 260 kilometres in a single day – on a laden touring bike! He also conquered Mt Ventoux, achieving his aim of making it to the top without putting a foot down.
Sykes is an experienced traveller, and far from detracting, he uses that experience to tell a better story about the Mediterranean countries through which he cycled.
It’s a fantastic read, and I have no doubt whatsoever that you will enjoy it just as much as I have, so go grab your copy now.