Thursday, November 24, 2022

The Wind at My Back

“Cycling is about mapping the small worlds that are always around us.”

This 2018 literary cycling memoir by British writer Paul Maunder, a self-described “failed bike racer and failed novelist” (though since the publication of this book he has published a novel, The Atomics) who is best known for his non-fiction writing in magazines like Rouleur and Peloton, is right up my alley. 

It’s a deeply literary reflection on the interplay between the two crucial strands of Maunder’s identity: cyclist and writer. He makes the intriguing claim that cycling has been essential to his understanding of place, landscape, and nature, as well as his development as a writer. This elegantly written book is richly descriptive, both of English landscapes and of literary ones that have influenced his perception–of himself and the larger world.