Last night, I finished reading the Kindle edition of “Good Vibrations: Crossing Europe on a Bike Called Reggie”. It’s written by a fellow who, inspired by the Tour de France, decided he’d ride his bike from his hometown in England, to the bottom of Italy.
I really enjoyed his writing style. It’s laid-back and relaxed, much as I imagine the author to be. The author, Andrew P. Sykes, seems to be a bit of a free-wheeler (heh, bike humour there). For all his planning, route research and map-checking, in the end, he just kind of followed his nose and made his way to his destination. It was this sort of obligation-free travel style that I found inspiring. I don’t plan to ride from England to Italy anytime soon, but it made me want to load my bike up and go for a long ride.
I enjoyed reading Andrew’s story, but I felt the text could’ve used a spell check and the discerning eye of an editor. Andrew is a languages teacher, so confusing the word “barren” for “baron” repeatedly is something that should never have made it past the second draft. There were other similar spelling errors and some grammatical errors that detracted from the pleasure of reading his story. Andrew’s descriptions of some of the landscapes, views, sights etc could’ve been augmented by photos. Every time he described some beautiful vista, I found myself hoping the next page would contain a photograph.
That said, it was a pleasure to read. The story-telling was great and the material was inspiring. I’d recommend this book to anyone interesting in cycle touring.
*** Edit *** Since I wrote this book review, a few things have happened. First, Andrew actually got in touch with me (see his comments in the comments section). This is something I honestly did not expect, and I think it says something that he cares enough about the book and its readers to take the time to write to me here. Second, the site’s been getting a heap of hits from people searching for the text “Good Vibrations: Crossing Europe on a Bike Called Reggie”. I can only assume they’re looking for reviews. If I can summarise my entire review into two sentences, it would be this: Buy this book. You won’t regret it. Finally, in his comments, Andrew mentions his web site (http://cyclingeurope.org/). Once you’re done reading my blog, please take the time to visit his site. It’s very informative. 🙂