Ann Wilson was born in Barrow in Furness in 1950, the middle child of five and the only girl. She attended Our Lady's Secondary School for girls in Barrow and later studied Science with the Open University. Cycling did not figure prominently in her life until her mid-50s when she completed a ride from Carlisle to Ipswich. This turned out to be the precursor to her round-the-world cycling trip and a lasting love of cycle touring. Since that first long journey she has cycled from Canada to Mexico along the Pacific Coast, Morocco to Paris, Munich to Tblisi, Talinn to Amsterdam and from Houston Texas to the Atlantic and along the coast of Montenegro to Albania Ann has two children, a daughter who lives in her home town of Ulverston and a son who teaches in Japan. Before retiring she worked in the telecommunications industry.
With all the interest in cycling and the need to exercise more at the moment, this is an excellent 'put your money where your mouth is' story. It is written by someone, who at the age of 59, and a late convert to cycling, proved that at any age you can really enjoy riding a bike, albeit a bit of an extreme adventure if you had only limited experience of cycle touring.This isn't a dull travel log, it moves along nicely - most days the miles that are covered by bike are just mentioned in passing. As well as meeting 'interesting' people along the way there's the 'excitement' of finding lodgings for the night, not an easy thing to do if you are on your own, in a foreign country and it's late at night and raining.After a sedate start travelling through the nicer parts of Europe (when the saddle soreness kicks in) the journey is followed by the excitement of India and not-so-nice experiences early on in Asia then the long ride through North America. Ann proves that if you really want to experience countries to their fullest, do it on your own, and the number of new friends she meets and stays with along the way proves this point.Apart from Ann being the 'star' of the book, credit must be given to the bike(s) (one was stolen - now I know why riders take their bike into their room). The second bike was an eastern European type, not noted for lightness but it still proved its worth. These bikes underwent so much ... ridden daily, put in sheds, packed in boxes, boarded on trains, planes, buses, and various cars and used again & again. They were loaded with panniers front and back, and got Ann safely around the world and back home to Ulverston.This is a must-read book for anyone who dreams of adventure but just needs a nudge in the right direction to get up and do it. Paul Loftus MBEPresident of The Fred Whitton Challenge