The subtitle of this book – A Big Bloke’s Tour de France – is a good synopsis for the story, it follows the author as he rode the year 2000 tour route. There are a few books that follow people attempting routes from different years (Tim Moore’s French Revolutions being the best of the lot in my opinion) and for different reasons.
This is the first I recall reading that was for charity. The book starts with a good introduction as to the why, and then the how – as in how to prepare. The author starts as a serving police officer but that comes to an end pretty quickly, retirement freeing up the time to ride the massive amount of kilometres required.
Intermingled with the developing story of the task in hand are various quotes related to what is happening at that time, I liked this idea, a few I knew, many I didn’t, and they aren’t from riders, much more deep and philosophical that that!
Being a slightly older book there was one thing that made me smile in an “if he only knew” way – there are references to the (in)famous Lance Armstrong, from the point of view that most of us had a few years ago – as one of the best TdF riders ever.
The ups and downs of the circumnavigation throw up a variety of interesting and humorous tales, I particularly enjoyed the ongoing relationship with his support driver Andy.
It’s a well written book, the story flows well, a good pace, I am sure it could have been double the length, with more detail on each days riding, but it isn’t a detailed route guide, places are mentioned and we continue, pretty much as they are when riding.
Mr Howard is an interesting man, at different points in the book there are short sections on positive thinking and motivation, the line of work he is now in, something I found quite interesting, and ideas I will have to try – not just when cycling either! Although the word ‘positive’ in cycling has to be used very carefully of course.
The charity supported was Rosemere Cancer Foundation, for each new copy purchased £1 goes to the charity, as I bought my copy second hand I donated directly (only right) to http://www.rosemere.org.uk/index.php/donate/making-a-donation