Dick Van Bike - At Large

**   Published   **

February 2024

Dick Van Bike At Large

I have survived to write a second bike book. Just.

Warning: These are NOT the tales of a svelte, cycling icon, rather a porky, crumbling man in his seventh decade doing his best to remain above ground.

I suspect the majority of us fall into the second category!

Dick Van Bike is the fifth book in my ‘At Large’ series and yes, remarkably, I have survived long enough to write it. Still riding an e-bike, we've also added a campervan to our stable of vehicles, primarily so we can adventure together.


A highlight: Jan and I live a dream when they tackle a Coast to Coast trip, me on the bike, Jan in the van. We travel from Whitehaven on the west Cumbrian coast to Tynemouth in North East England, hopping from campsite to campsite across the Lake District and magnificent moors of Northern England. We conquer fears and feel a great sense of accomplishment as we arrive (in driving rain) at The North Sea.


A lowlight: The inaugural ride on my new bike when I fall off four times! I began to wonder if my sixty-fourth year might be my last. After one tumble, I heave myself out of a patch of reeds on a boggy, Pennine Moor, and question the maxim, ‘cycling is good for you’. But I plough on and decide, of course it is!!


Remember Mr Slightly Ratty in the first book? Well, while trundling beside the Gloucester Sharpness canal, I encounter Mr Moderately Enraged, a man incensed that his village is being consumed by the modern world. Leaving the seething native in my wake I discover a ship’s graveyard on the banks of the River Severn. It's an astonishing place and due to my love of the waterways, one I find very moving. Just one of many extraordinary surprises.


"I have never experienced the endorphin rush of the supreme athlete. In fact, on a recent ride, I strived to complete the last mile in less than an hour so I could catch the off license before it shut."