In 2018, over the course of 18,000 miles, Scottish cyclist Jenny Graham smashed the round-the-world cycling record by nearly three weeks, finishing in 124 days and 11 hours. Sounds like it would make a good book right?
Would you believe that writing a book about riding round the world took me five times longer than it did to actually pedal the planet? So what better way to celebrate the publication of my debut book than to plan a great big cycle tour to promote it – a pedal powered UK book tour, how fun!
I love sharing my round-the-world stories with a live audience and was excited to explore new (to me) parts of the UK, as well as re-visiting some old favourites. I planned a wiggly 1200 mile route up the country from the south coast of England to my hometown of Inverness in the highlands of Scotland. I planned to stop in twenty different locations to share my stories with live audiences, which included dropping in on eight Alpkit stores, where the staff and managers opened their doors to us and created warm and welcoming spaces to host talks and socials events.
It felt like such a great opportunity to explore new trails and meet lots of likeminded souls. So with the help of my incredibly talented friend #TourManager Catherine Dunn, we reached out to the local community groups and clubs to say “Heeeey!” and see if they fancied sharing some miles. This quickly became a key part of the tour as fifteen different clubs and groups organised local roll-outs and spread the word through our Ride with GPS events page! An incredible amount of people have come out on these rides. Some have been female specific but nearly all have been female led, with a great mix of on/off road and party pace/ smashy-smashy! Being the #CoffeeFirst book tour, we felt it was important to bring the coffee to our community roll-outs and jumped at the opportunity to work with the wonderful Chimney Fire Coffee who sent us some of their scrumptious coffee to be brewed up before rides! It’s been an incredible celebration of bikes, community and shared stories.
My own journey to the start line of round-the-world was made possible by building up experience slowly; silly epic journeys, solo missions and consistent contact with my own community in the highlands of Scotland. But it wasn’t always that way, when I was introduced to the outdoors I had limited friends, budget and equipment. I had to create a space for myself, borrow kit, volunteer and spend a loooot of time building things up slowly on my own. I have utter faith in believing that you shouldn’t wait to find some friends to go with – Go Nice Places, Do Good Things. Your vibe attracts your tribe!