Cyclogeography: Journeys of a London Bicycle Courier, by Jon Day
Informed by several grinding years spent as a bicycle courier, Day lifts the lid on the solitary life of the courier. Travelling the unmapped byways, short-cuts and edgelands of the city, couriers are the declining, invisible workforce of the city. The parcels they deliver – either commonplace or illicit – keep the city – and capitalism – running.
Following in the footsteps of the literary walkers, Day explores the connection between cycling and writing, and in the history of the bicycle he reveals also the history of the landscape. The great bicycle road races – the Tour de France, the Giro d’Italia, the Vuelta a España – are exercises in applied topography. Cyclogeography explores the relationship between bodies, bikes and geography.
Praise for Cyclogeography
"There’s a gap in travel writing, and Jon Day has just zipped into it—like a bike courier between white van and black cab. The British capital, he says, has been written about often from the perspective of the rambler and the stroller, but not much from the saddle. He’s started to make good the deficiency with Cyclogeography." —Michael Kerr, The Telegraph
"Jon Day’s ode to the bicycle takes the reader pillion from petrol-choked city to rolling dale in eloquent prose, which at best pedals in beat to the accompanying landscape." —Nicholas Hogg, The Independent
"Armchair cycling turns out to be an exquisitely indolent sport—at least when one has in one’s hands a book as choice as Cyclogeography. Everything about this slender hardback makes it a pleasure to read." —Kate Kellaway, The Observer