A Therapeutic Cycling Adventure Around Britain
Simon Parker’s 3,400 mile bike ride which begins and ends at Muckle Flugga in Shetland would have been remarkable at any time. Instead he ventures out into the murky throes of a pandemic, pursued by his own troubles which are then further exacerbated by news of a close friend’s death. His journey, like all journeys, is a metaphor for life, a journey of self discovery interwoven with observation and the freedom granted by just ‘passing through’. This metaphor is brought into sharp focus when he is unable to attend the funeral of his friend but pays his respects from a pavement. It is a heartbreaking picture that like much of the book exposes the author’s vulnerability but also the truth that every moment is a crossroads - even when it’s an ending. Despite some moments of darkness the book is very humorous and Parker spins many a good yarn as he pedals down and then back up the country. Collectively the land is broken, fractured by a virus, confused by rules and moral dilemmas, tormented by grief and worry. In all this our traveller finds hope through adventure. Somehow by threading his way around our island it is as if the author has stitched it back together again, patching things up and making it strong once more. Riding Out can be read as an inspiring cycling travelogue, but it is also a record of a very strange time for which many of us paid a price, not only for a lockdown bike, but with our mental health.
A truly inspiring journey that celebrates the healing power of adventure. A must-read. - Levison Wood
The remarkable and inspirational true story of how one man battled grief and anxiety, one pedal stroke at a time, on a 3,500-mile adventure around Britain
In March 2020, as Britain entered its first lockdown, Simon Parker's life fell apart; his travel journalism career vanished overnight and shortly afterwards he received the tragic news that a close friend had died. With a long-suppressed anxiety disorder starting to rear its head, he turned to the only therapies he knew and trusted: travel and exercise.
Setting off on his bike from the northernmost point of Shetland with only a sleeping bag and a camping stove, Simon would end up cycling 3,427 miles around Britain. En route, he would meet hundreds of resilient Britons, who were all, in their own way, riding out the storm just like he was. Even in his gloomiest moments he began to see that a chink of light was never too far away.
Riding Out is a story of optimism and hope, and a ground-level portrait of Britain as it transforms from a country in crisis to a nation on the mend. From Shetland to the Scillies, Dover to Durness, Simon learns that life's sharpest corners are best navigated at the gentle pace of a bicycle.
|Publication date:||21st April 2022|
|Publisher:||Summersdale Publishers an imprint of Octopus Publishing Group|
“Wonderfully relatable on so many levels. Simon’s wanderlust, mental roller coaster and reactions to a fast-changing world had me enthralled in his journey, but very much reflecting on my own over the past few years. A brilliantly crafted book which holds a mirror up to the world we live in.” Mark Beaumont
“A truly inspiring journey that celebrates the healing power of adventure. A must-read.” Levison Wood
“If you’ve recently bought a ‘lockdown bike’ and realise you’ve not been using it enough, this inspirational, down-to-earth and touching book may give you a few ideas.” Tom Chesshyre
“Simon’s cycle ride around his own country is a fine demonstration that adventure and transformation begins on your own doorstep.” Alastair Humphreys
“[Riding Out is] both hugely inspirational yet still relatable… Simon’s vulnerability at times will show many readers – myself included – that they aren’t alone in feeling lost these past 18 months. How he has managed this vulnerability with humour throughout the book drew me in, as did his ability to capture the spirit of the people he met along the way. His ability to describe challenging moments with honesty makes it feel like you’re hearing an old friend regale the trip over dinner.” Alex Outhwaite
“In Riding Out, Simon Parker holds a humane mirror to a fractured Britain as it adjusts to a strange, isolated new world.” Jon Dunn, author of The Glitter in the Green