In 2018, Cycling UK member Jenny Graham smashed the round-the-world cycling record by three weeks. I coordinated her PR support from Cycling UK’s press office throughout her 124-day, 18,000-mile journey, and through the media frenzy that followed. She checked in with us occasionally, sending long voice notes or video messages, which we shared for her. But it was hard for me at the time to really know how she was doing.
This is why her book is such a joy to read for me: it fills in all the things I longed to ask her when she called but I knew she was too exhausted to explain. I knew her solo journey was long, lonely and unsupported, but in the book, she seamlessly weaves together not just the nitty gritty of the adventure but explains with wit and inspiration what led her to take on the physical and mental challenge. She also describes the joy it gave her.
The book is an honest, straight-talking account of the realities of what it takes to break the record and not break your spirit. It has laugh-out-loud moments, awe-inspiring landscapes, a myriad of examples of the kindness of strangers, and some nail-biting near misses.
What’s the best bit of the book? Maybe page 269 where she says a massive thank you to Cycling UK (obviously I am biased!).
The journey gave Jenny a new perspective on the world, and her book gives us a chance to look at what she learned and be reminded that we all are more capable than we think we are. Her advice not to forget to enjoy the journey is invaluable.
Review by Victoria Hazael, Cycling UK’s digital content manager