Bibliography - Cycling Books
Cycling Journey Accounts
Memorials of the Hon. Ion Keith-Falconer, M.A. by the Rev. Robert Sinker,
Deighton, Bell & Co, 1888
Ion Keith-Falconer, among the other achievements of his
short life, was a keen racing cyclist, completing one of the early Land’s
End to John O’Groats cycle rides in 1882. He finished in just under 13 days, riding an
ordinary (penny-farthing) bicycle weighing 45 lbs. This biography reprints a fascinating short
article by Keith-Falconer giving an account of his ride.
Land’s End to John O’Groats by William B Dawson,
Cunliffe Brothers, 1934
William Dawson was a keen cyclist and a turner by
trade. He lived in Todmorden, an
industrial Yorkshire town in the Pennines
on the border with Lancashire, and at the time of
setting out to cycle End to End he had been out of work for two years due to
the depression. I imagine part of the
motivation to undertake the trip was to try to make a bit of money from
publishing a book: he had previously published a local walking guide. There was already an established tradition of
cycling from Land’s End to John O’Groats by this time,
with a recognised route to follow. At
the time this book was written the record was held by J W Rossiter, in a time
of 2 days 13 hours 22 minutes. He had
broken a record of 20 years’ standing, although his record in its turn was
broken again before William Dawson’s book was published. Dawson’s
journey was altogether more leisurely, undertaken on a bike rescued from
scrap. He had a keen interest in church
architecture (but not in religion), but what makes the book so entertaining is
his dry and anarchic sense of humour.
British Journey by Bernard Newman, Robert Hale, 1945
During the second
world war the British government sponsored a lot of educational
lectures to keep the population informed and involved. Bernard Newman
seems to have done more than his fair share of these, and got around
mainly by bicycle. This book is a readable description of his travels
in the spring and summer of 1944: he got just about everywhere and
there's a map to prove it.
Land’s End to John O’Groats by Cornelius Burke,
published privately (Canada),
undated (c. 1975?)
A slim booklet containing a “Three Men in a Boat” account
of a cycle tour from End to End.
The Toss of a Coin by Maurice Bird, End to End Labels, 1978
A brief and naïve account of a charity
Land’s End to John O’Groats cycle
22 Days Around the Coast of Britain
by Nick Sanders, Nick Sanders Publishing, 1984
A curiously constructed account of two cycling expeditions
round the coast of Britain:
one leisurely and one setting a record of just over 22 days to ride 4800
miles. The two brief accounts are told
in parallel, accompanied by an excellent collection of photographs.
The Wind In My Wheels by Josie Dew, Little, Brown & Co, 1992, also a
This includes a short account of a Land’s End
to John O’Groats ride on a wheelchair bicycle (without passenger).
Fling on a Bike by Delia Kennedy, published privately, 1992
A company called Bike Events organised a number of group Land’s
End to John O’Groats bike rides for touring cyclists: the Great
British Bike Rides. This is a personal
account of joining one of these trips in the summer of 1991. The cover photograph was taken by Jane
Schnell, who published her own account of the same tour.
Both Are Better by Jane Schnell, Milner Press (US),
Most of this book is a personal account of participation
in the Bike Events Great British Bike Ride from Land’s End
to John O’Groats in the summer of 1991.
On My Bike by David Jordan, published privately, 1996
David Jordan retired at 63 then spent a year planning his
end to end cycle ride, including a physical fitness programme. This booklet gives an account of his
preparations (including photos of his training regime) and his successful ride.
Postcards From the Edge of Britain
by Peter Mann, Country Books, 2000
is a well-written account of a 5000-mile cycle trip on a Moulton
bicycle round the coast of Britain, and is worth reading if you come
The Middle-Aged Mountaineer by Jim Curran, Constable, 2001
Jim Curran is a well-known and well-respected mountaineering
filmmaker. In the summer of 2000 he set
off from the north of Shetland on his mountain bike, intending to cycle
leisurely to Cornwall via as many
rock climbs as he could find. For one
reason or another he doesn’t seem to have got much climbing done, but the
account is a very entertaining one. Recommended.
Pedal Power: Land’s End to John O’Groats in 26 Days
by Jenny Alexander, Pearson Education, 2002
This is a brief illustrated diary account of a family
south to north cycle trip, aimed at educating children. The illustrations are generally good, and the
text does appear to have been based on a real end to end ride.
Heading North on a By-Pass by Ron Smith, published privately, 2002
Having suffered a
heart attack and undergone by-pass surgery, Ron Smith cycled from
Land's End to Derby, then walked the rest of the way to John O'Groats.
In case you thinking you're starting to see a pattern here, I can
confirm that yes, we are all nutters. On the other hand we probably
live longer than people who don't tackle an End to End.
End to End by Andrew Webster, faragher//jones, 2004
A diary account of a
Land's End to John O'Groats ride, apparently written on the journey and
sent on its way in instalments by Blackberry. Ah, the wonders of
A Part of My Life in a Family At War by Charlie Hankins BEM, published privately, undated (c.2005)
This is a slim autobiographical volume by a
disabled ex-soldier. A large part of it covers two End to End charity trips on a hand-cranked tricycle.
Follow the Yellow Gorse Road by John Hopkins and Gordon Leadbetter, published privately, 2006
An account of John
Hopkins' LEJOG cycle ride, with very good photographs from Gordon
Leadbetter, mainly taken on a follow-up trip the following year
expressly for the purpose.
Ten Bodies, Two Bikes and a Boil by Chris Gooderham, www.lulu.com, 2008
account based on an actual 21-day End to End cycling tour. This
is a rather odd mix of fact from the ride with a rather unconvincing
End to End: Cycling From Land’s End to John O’Groats
by Christa Gausden, Oxford
Illustrated Press, 1983
I’m still looking for this one. I'm not sure whether it was ever published, despite its having an ISBN number. Let me know if you know different.
Land’s End to John O’Groats by Simon Brown,
A guidebook to a 950-mile route for touring cyclists. A lot of it is on busy A-roads, so this is
not the book for those who want to follow a quiet route.
Land’s End to John O’Groats: the Great British Bike
Adventure by Phil Horsley, Cordee, 1996
An excellent book recommended to anyone planning a cycle
tour from End to End. An interesting
route is described on quiet roads, with many alternatives including some
off-road sections suitable for road bikes.
And one of the alternatives passes my front door. Recommended.
Cycling Britain by Ian Connellan et al, Lonely Planet, 2001
This includes a 38-page chapter describing a road route
for cyclists that avoids the busy trunk roads, following mainly B-roads and
quieter A-roads. It looks a pretty good
route to me, and the maps are clear.
Cycling from Land’s End to John O’Groats by Paul Slater,
Epic Guides (New Zealand),
A cycling guide aimed principally at cyclists visiting Britain. The route is a reasonable one for cycle
tourists, mainly avoiding the busiest main roads, although it does take the
very busy A82 from Glasgow to Loch
Ness and the A9/A99 from the Dornoch Firth to John O’Groats. There is plenty of useful background
information, as well as clichéd historical notes (e.g. a section on Bonnie
Prince Charlie), and what “Appendix F: English Kings and Queens”
is doing in the book is anyone’s guess.
Land's End to John O'Groats - the Official Challenge Guide by Brian Smailes, Challenge Publications, 2004
A brief booklet. It doesn't make clear what's "official" about it.
Cycling: Land’s End to John O’Groats by Alan J Ray,
Pelham Books, 1971
A history of Land’s End to John
O’Groats cycling records and the men and women who set them.
The "End to End" Story - 100 Years of Cycling Records by John Taylor, Bridgtown Cycles, 2005
detailed account of all the official End to End cycling records, with
much contemporary description from the people involved. There's enough
detail of people riding beyond their physical and mental abilities to
convince anyone not to attempt breaking any of these records.
Mind you, that tricycle record at 2 days, 21 hours 37 minutes
looks a soft touch... Available direct from Bridgtown Cycles.
Page last updated 26 August 2008