Bernard Paul Badham

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ROBERT WINSTANLEY

'Bob the Bike'

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A man in his sixties decides to cycle thousands of miles alone with just a map. His journey goes through many countries. His story is true, brave, touching and funny.

Birmingham-born and growing up in the 1930s Robert Winstanley has loved cycling since aged eleven when he owned a bike with no wheels. He cycled his first long distance in his teens, to Wales with a pal. Now eighty, he still enjoys a fifty-mile day trip on a pushbike. ‘No Guts, No Story’ is about the years and the distances ‘Bob the Bike’ spent in his sixties on his bicycle. Well, two bicycles actually, because one got stolen, plus Bob had many amazing encounters, narrow escapes and romantic interludes on the way. Why he set out and what happened will fascinate you.

Foreword by Linda Swinford:

An old-ish man propped a pushbike against the window of the Tourist Office in Bromyard, Herefordshire, and came in for a chat and some leaflets. I was doing a stint behind the counter and that's how I met Robert Winstanley, 'Bob the Bike'. He said he liked the town, he often made it the starting point of his long-distance cycling holidays. I said he should write this down because Bromyard people would enjoy reading it in our local magazine. Bob didn't fancy the idea – he said he hadn't the education. So I told him not to worry, I'd type it up for him. I found a handwritten piece shoved under the door next morning and I began helping Bob to tell his story.

The words are all his, just the full stops and capital letters are mine. I kept on typing because I liked his style of writing and his story – funny, touching, modest, true. When the amazing travel section ended I got him to write an autobiographical prequel about the lad from Stetchford, Birmingham, who loved long-distance cycling all his life and decided in his sixties to go thousands of miles alone with just a map. This book follows Bob's journeys through many countries in Asia and South America. Sheer slog, plus narrow escapes, interesting encounters, heroism, thefts and romances, mixed with humour and thoughtfulness. As Bob says, ‘No guts, no story.’

 

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Kemet Scribe

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Bromyard, Herefordshire, England, United Kingdom

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