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The academic year must have been a difficult one as when the summer holidays arrived, secondary school teacher Andrew Sykes was happy to do as little as possible. But while sitting on his sofa watching the exploits of the cyclists at the Great Wall of China at the Beijing Olympics, he realised the error of his ways and resolved to put a bit more adventure into his life. Two years later, accompanied by his faithful companion Reggie (his bike) but only a rudimentary plan, Andrew set off for a trans-continental cycling adventure that would take him along the route of the Via Francigena and the Eurovelo 5 all the way from his home in southern England to Brindisi in the south of Italy. There were highs and lows, rain and shine, joy and despair and they are all recounted here in a light-hearted, brisk style. A book for cyclists and non-cyclists alike!

Andrew P. Sykes was born and grew up in the small town of Elland in the foothills of the Pennines in West Yorkshire. He studied for a degree in mathematics at the University of York and immediately after graduation went to work in London for a firm of city accountants. The world of auditing was not however for him and in 1993 he left the U.K to go and work in France, initially in the tourist industry and then for four years teaching English in the Loire Valley city of Tours. He returned to the U.K. in 1999 to train as a secondary school teacher of French at the University of Reading. He still lives in the town and can currently be found working as the Head of Modern Languages at a secondary school in South Oxfordshire. You may well spot him each morning and each evening during term time cycling to work through the picturesque countryside that lies between the Thames Valley towns of Reading and Henley-on-Thames. Please dont knock him off!

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