Two brothers head off on a 1000 mile cycling adventure around Scotland. They reminisce about their childhood bikes and growing up in the small town of Hopeman on the Moray coast. There is much banter, good times and a bit of pain during their journey.
A lot of Scotland is covered in this book. In the introduction there is a map showing a route that covers Aberdeen, Arbroath, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aviemore, Ullapool, Durness and Inverness. The brothers achieve this in just 15 days, so it means that there is not a lot of detail about the places they travel through. The scenic descriptions are quite basic and I didn't feel that I was learning much about the towns and cities.
The book is more like a diary than a travelogue. It is a personal story of the relationship between the brothers and looking back on their childhood. There are some colour photos in the centre of the book, showing the brothers having fun on their trip. I can see this book being a nice souvenir for them and their families, but I am not sure that it has a wider appeal. If you are from a small town in Scotland you may identify with some of the experiences that they write about, but these things may be alien to other readers. I did quite enjoy reading about their upbringing- when I cycle through small towns in Scotland I often wonder what life is like there and the book does give a bit of an insight.
Most of the conversations in the book are between the two brothers and some of it is banter that had me smiling occasionally, but I think you would need to know the brothers personally to fully appreciate this. There are some interactions with local people and these are quite short exchanges. Before I read this book I just finished One Man and His Bike by Mike Parker, so I could not help but compare the two books. The interactions with locals are much more detailed and interesting in Parker's book, whereas Life Cycle does not have nearly as much depth.
This was not my favourite book about cycling in Scotland. Although it captures the camaraderie of a long-distance bike trip with a sibling or best friend I found that it lacked in detail and I was disappointed that I did not learn much about the places that the brothers cycled through.
My name is Colin Baird and I want to see all of Scotland by bicycle.