After (let’s face it) 40 years, it’s been really wonderful to see ‘The Bicycles of Ice and Salt’ go into print. It’s available to buy here! I wrote the poems over the last seven years or so, but they’re based on diaries which cover two long journeys I made by bicycle in the 1980s. The first journey was with my friend Shona from October 1980 – August 1981, in which we pedalled into winter, with hardly any money, down the east side of France, later across Italy and back up the west and north of France to Boulogne – nearly 5000 miles. A very slow and eccentric Tour de France.
Seven years later I persuaded my partner Paul to set off by bicycle, into winter, with hardly any money, south through France then around the coastlines of Spain and Portugal, returning to Britain from Santander in March 1988 – again, nearly 5000 miles.
Both journeys were at times bitterly cold, hungry, and overwhelming. Both journeys were absolutely magical, and I was never the same again.
Here are a few aged photographs, digitised fairly unsuccessfully from dusty slides…
And this is me, as I was, standing on a bridge over the Yonne, in 1980. An elderly man walked by just after Shona took this photograph, and said to us, “La France est belle, non?”
With grateful thanks to my publishers Indigo Dreams, and Helen Ivory and Matthew Stewart who so kindly endorsed the back cover.
If you like the look of ‘The Bicycles of Ice and Salt’ it’s now available to buy here, from my website, one click PayPal, free postage!