Review published on August 31, 2017.
Europe is a place of great variety. There are all sorts of terrains and climates, as well as cultures, languages and a common history that stretches back millennia. On his third adventure across the continent, Andrew Sykes decides that travelling from its furthest southerly geographic point, Tarifa in Spain, all the way up to its most northerly, Nordkapp in Norway, would be a good way to experience them. He is back on his faithful bike Reggie for the ride along the western side of Europe.
He rides through eight countries and thirty-five degrees of latitude, including crossing the Arctic Circle. The 5000 odd miles takes him past the edge of Portugal, over the Pyrenees and along the Atlantic coast, before cutting inland past vineyards and the French countryside to reach Paris, where he foolishly takes his life in his hands and cycles along the Avenue des Champs Elysees to the Arc de Triomphe. Surviving that, he carries on to a whistle stop tour of Belgium and the Netherlands before reaching Germany, his final country before the final leg of the trip. Even though he reached Scandinavia in the summer, it was still going to be a challenge to reach his final destination.
Sykes is not trying to set any records; this is riding for the hell of it, to venture out, meet people, see places and for the pure pleasure of being on a bike. And enjoy it he does, even though he battles through rain, relentless headwinds and some near misses with very large trucks. He meets various friends in certain towns and cities on the route as well as cycling with random cyclists who were sharing some of the same journeys. Sykes writes with infectious enthusiasm and it is a really enjoyable read. Hopefully, this will inspire some to make their own journeys of discovery.
Paul Cheney 4/3
Spain to Norway on a Bike Called Reggie by Andrew P. Sykes
Summersdale 9781849539906 pbk May 2017
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