Book review. A Bit Scott-ish. Pedalling through Scotland in search of Adventure, Nature and Lemon Drizzle Cake
This book is about a cycling journey from Orkney to the border with England. It focuses on the history and landscapes of the places that the author passes through, carried along by his sense of humour. Much of the dialogue in the book is between the author, Mike Carden, and his bike, "Scott", but there are also interactions with locals. The book is very easy to read and full of interesting facts about Scotland.
Many books about cycling journeys use humour to carry them. You can tell from the front cover that this is what you will get with "A Bit Scott-ish." The comic setup is obvious- a not terribly fit cyclist who doesn't have much mechanical knowledge and has conversations with his bike. However, the book is interspersed with historical details and good descriptions of the landscapes and the route that the author takes. His writing certainly gives the impression that this is a beautiful route full of adventure.
A nice touch in the book are the author's own drawings of things he sees along the route. particularly buildings which are very skillfully drawn. Each chapter begins with a map of the section of the route covered on that day and the planned distance.
There are several mishaps during the journey and the author is brutally honest about these. He is particularly good at getting lost and wasting lots of time trying to get unlost.
I must have been slow on the uptake because I thought that there were two cyclists undertaking this journey. It took me a few pages to realise that the conversations were actually between the author and his bike. I found these conversations slightly annoying and a bit silly for about half the book, but I got used to it and found myself smirking at some of the witty banter between Mike and "Scott".
Like me, Mike Carden has a sweet tooth and enjoys stopping in cafes for tea and cake. His favourite is lemon drizzle cake and trying to find this cake on his journey, largely to get vitamin-C, becomes an additional humorous quest on the adventure.
Not all cyclists are super fit and trying to break a record or able to spend years going around the world, so books like this are great for showing the rest of us that you can easily have your own adventure on a bicycle. This book is sure to prove inspirational if you are in that category, or if you just want to know a bit more about Scotland.