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Win a signed copy of Good Vibrations by Andrew P. Sykes @cyclingeurope

Andrew Sykes was a self-confessed sports spectator rather than participator until the Beijing Olympics caught his attention in the summer holidays of 2008. He resolved to remedy matters by cycling across Europe from his home in Reading following the ‘Via Francigena’, an ancient route to Rome, which he then extended to some friends’ house in Brindisi in the south of Italy.

Not to be rushed, for the next two years he set about researching the places through which the route passed and drawing up a list of towns; detailed planning had an element of serendipity and was left for the day itself.

Many are the tales of random people setting off on their bikes to pedal around the world. This one captures the imagination from day one and is both an interesting and amusing read. The seasoned cyclist will recognise many of the emotions Andrew goes through as he crests yet another false summit, fights another headwind or stays in another sub-par location. They will also recognise the sheer joy that only cycle touring can bring, of stumbling across unexpected gems around a corner, conquering an alpine pass, the kindness of strangers or just having a good day on the bike (also known as having a tailwind). The armchair sportsman may well be inspired to get off their sofa as Andrew did by his tales of triumph and his vivid descriptions of the places he passes through and people he meets, and his witty observations on, for example, the French economic miracle, line-dancing in Boulogne-sur-Mer, or the diners of Luxembourg.

This is the sort of book that you want to finish because you want to know what happens next, but when you finish it you are sorry the journey, and the story, is over. The good news is that Andrew is planning another ride from Greece to Portugal this summer and if the book on that ride is half as entertaining as this one we are in for a treat.

Andrew has kindly given us a signed copy to give away to one lucky winner. To enter, all you need to do is send us an email with ‘Reggie’ in the title.

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