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End to End By Paul Jones

Release date: 20th April, 2021
Publisher: Little, Brown

List Price: 16.99
Our Price: 12.99
You Save: 4 (23%)
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What a wonderfully written book this is. From the opening paragraphs, author Paul Jones succeeds in capturing his readers, bringing them into his world with references to his boyhood and by exposing his innermost thoughts with a rawness which nurtures immediate empathy. You like the guy by the end of the first few pages.

We know the author about to embark on a mammoth trek which will take him the length of Great Britain, so he brings us up to date, telling us he had had enough of being a secondary school head teacher, Ofsted and ?self-aggrandising blogs and tweets,? although none of this is mentioned in his recent letter of resignation.

?I want to spend more time with my family and less time at work,? he wrote, almost apologetically. He has no fresh job lined up; instead, you sense he must first clear his head before returning to gainful employment and what better way of doing this than cycling from Land?s End to John O?Groats?

Thousands of riders have completed this 840-odd mile trip, usually because someone has died, or is dying, though Jones? drive comes from wanting to enjoy this island?s topography while overlooking the width of a bicycle wheel.

Worryingly, though he has completed lengthier journeys (Barcelona to St Malo, for example), his more recent preparation has involved cycling seventeen miles to work and back. Only twice has he completed more than 100 miles in a day, yet in the first chapter he is planning to cycle form Land?s End to Bristol (212 miles), starting at 5am and finishing ?by nightfall?. A tad ambitious perhaps?

You?re already wondering if, mentally, he should be tackling this trip, even though Jones acknowledges the significant mental challenges ahead.

He adds an interesting dimension to his story by discussing earlier End-to-End attempts, beginning with the Victorians who completed the journey on penny farthings. He meets the amazing Eileen Sheridan who, in 1954, covered the distance in less than three days. Then there?s the current men's record holder, Michael Broadwith, who averaged 20 mph to finish in an astonishing 43 hours.

The book?s jacket describes Jones? journey as ?a trip through the contours of the mind as well as the map.? Though we worry for the author at the outset, he displays remarkable courage and resourcefulness on a truly magnificent, and ultimately joyous voyage.

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