Chasing the Chimney Sweep

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Penguin, 2006 - Sports & Recreation - 243 pages
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In the middle of the hottest French summer for years, New Zealand writer and amateur cyclist Selwyn Parker sets off with his partner Margaret and Kiwi friends Jo and Greg on a bizarre quest: a 2400-kilometre cycling journey around France to retrace the route of the very first cycling Tour de France in 1903. In 1903 some of the racers became so fatigued that they hallucinated, threw down their bikes and collapsed on the road, refusing to get up. A Century later our intrepid cyclists have much lighter, hi-tech cycles, but they face new challenges - sweaty, body-sapping temperatures; an imperfect knowledge of the French language; a tendency to get lost at least every hour; atrocious hotels; and dangerous main highways where in 1903 the cyclists rode down almost vehicle-free roads. Chasing the Chimney Sweep is a funny, engaging, surprising travel book which combines the adventures of our tenacious Kiwi four with fascinating stories of what happened in 1903.

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