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GOLDEN AGE OF CYCLING: A Gentleman's Adventure on Two Wheels
Bibliophile price: £6.99
Charles Pope became a member of the hugely popular Cyclists' Touring Club in the early 1920s, and for 10 glorious years, until his marriage to a fellow-cyclist in 1933, he kept diaries of his expeditions round the British Isles and even one adventurous trip abroad. The Welsh Borders was a favourite destination for Charles and his brother Edward, and on Tuesday 12 August 1924 they set off from Ludlow along the Leintwardine road, "which we have never traversed with dry skins". Before too long the heavens opened. Back in Leintwardine in 1930 Charles notes with disapproval that a wider bridge is under construction to accommodate "the curse of the internal combustion engine". Taking the shortest route to Clun the pair find they have to walk most of the way, and on arrival they compensate by gorging on lemonade and custard tarts. A week later they are drenched once again as they ascend the Sugar Loaf, and the descent is "the roughest and most tricky we have come across". 1927 sees Charles in Lacock, Wiltshire, and when his hostess insists on plying him with morning coffee and cakes he is rather late setting off for Lyme Regis at 12.30. Our hero fails to make it, stopping the night in Crewkerne where a hot fish supper makes up for the disappointment of being charged 3d for four very thin slices of bread and butter when lunching in Bruton. In Germany the continental breakfasts disappoint, but a stork's nest in Gengenbach delights the adventurer. It's a delightful read. 307pp, colour photos.

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