A Midlife Cyclist: My two-wheel journey to heal a broken mind and find joy

by Rachel Ann Cullen

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

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I came for a story about cycling, and this was mostly a story about fighting body dysmorphia. Which was all good and interesting but I found it all a bit disjointed.

Perhaps my sense of disjointness is because I hadn’t realised the author had written a previous book about running, and this is a follow up about what happened when she found herself injured and couldn’t run. I’m not sure how much I missed out on by jumping into her tale here, or whether there was a lot of repeated content from the first book. There is quite a lot that’s more about running than cycling.

Or perhaps my sense of disjointness is because there are some pretty wild leaps here. I didn’t find it surprising when she struggled with a night mountain bike ride, the pedestrians on a canal towpath, or main road lorries. But then it leapt to cycling up volcanoes in Costa Rica, and even though she was pointing out how she’d underestimated the challenge, I rather struggled to believe that anyone could really underestimate by that much.

I’m glad she enjoyed the cycling in the end. Cycling’s my happy place, I want more people to find that happy place too. There’s a section at the beginning about enjoying a ride through Vietnam which sounded glorious, but the book doesn’t get back to that ride as it stops after the Costa Rica trip, which seemed odd. I was reading on waiting to find out more about that. Her family and friends get short shrift too. Her partner remains a shadowy figure, I’m guessing by choice, but sometimes details are introduced and not followed up, and things just felt unfinished.

All in all this felt more like binging on someone’s blogposts than reading a book. And it’s more about mental health than cycling. And both of those are absolutely fine, I guess I think the book could have used better editing if anything. And I should probably read some more books about travels by bike.