Book review – All Downhill From Here

All  Downhill  From  Here,  by  Paul  Waters

This book tries to be both a “hilarious” account of the author’s JOGLE (John O’Groats to Land’s End) ride, as well as a “How to” guide, for those aspiring to do the same. Waters’ writing style will be enjoyed by some, but I’m not in that crowd. Instead, I found the constant attempts at being funny quite grating, and he came across as that annoying “cheeky chappy” in the pub. You know – the one you’re constantly trying to avoid.

Some may consider me to be unfair, and certainly some reviews left on Amazon are often full of praise. Waters can be a good writer, if only he’d tone the jokes right down. I persisted with this book, but found it difficult, and I kept wanting to put it down.

As far as a JOGLE or LEJOG attempt goes, theirs was (in my view) quite disorganised, and that resulted in the pair of riders often cycling on busy main roads. For a book that aims to teach others how to cycle LEJOG or JOGLE, that seems a rather spectacular oversight. The How-To part of the book isn’t particularly helpful, either. Amongst other things, it describes Komoot as an alternative to Strava. While there are overlaps, the two apps serve very different purposes. Additionally, though Strava does have limited route mapping features, for heavy lifting I’d use RideWithGPS, which doesn’t even get a mention in the book.

Winters is a professional fitness coach, so there is value in what he says in the book. In particular, it’s good that he raises the mental health elements of a long ride such as LEJOG/JOGLE. He also offers some tips to help you with that. Overall though, this book can’t make its mind up about what it’s trying to be. As a How-To guide, it’s woefully inadequate. As a recount of Waters’ own ride, you may or may not enjoy it. Evidently, others did. I’m just not one of those.

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