I like cycling. I haven’t done enough cycling over the past year. Okay, I’ve got that off my chest.
Last week, purely by chance, I was listening to the BBC World Service in the car (via DAB, not short wave) when I came across an interview with a lady called Emily Chappell.
I pricked up my ears as they were talking about cycling and the London cycling couriers specifically, as well as her endurance cycling and trips between London and Tokyo and Wales and Asia.
The interview was quite interesting as it talked about a new book and the life of a cycle courier in London.
For some reason I’ve always been fascinated by these lycra-clad cyclists who race around the UK capital, slickly passing through gaps and tight squeezes on the Queen’s highway, somehow narrowly missing people and vehicles all to deliver packages of all shapes and sizes.
Emily was talking about her new book – What Goes Around: A London Cycle Courier’s Story – and her name stuck in my head. There was something bugging me and I didn’t know what it was.
A couple of days later I Googled her name and came across some of the book reviews, including one at Guardian Online and it mentioned Llanidloes and Machynlleth, two towns not so far from my rural doorstep.
It was only when I delved further that I realised Emily was in fact from the area.
One of my many and varied roles is director of MyTown Media Ltd, a hyperlocal news company that runs MyNewtown and MyWelshpool and I was keen to get a story about Emily and her local link on to one of the sites.
Nobody had yet mentioned her links to Wales in the media – or at least the Wales media, either locally or nationally.
I ended up catching up with Emily on the phone (after several unsuccessful attempts due to her being in Scotland on her book tour) while she was in Peebles. I think it’s the first time I’ve spoken to anyone in Peebles.
I had a great conversation (at least from my side) and a good interview. It transpires Emily will be giving one of her talks in The Great Oak book shop in Llanidloes, Powys at the end of February. But that’s quite a small shop and I knew there would be a lot of people – cyclists and the public – interested in Emily’s fascinating story.
In the short emails since, Emily is keen to do another talk and I’m in the throws of trying to sort one in Welshpool. Feedback from the local Hafren Cycling Club and others has been good.
But for me, I’m also hoping to catch up with Emily when she’s back home to get a vlog and podcast together to share her story. So watch this space.
In the meantime, head out and buy the book. I’ve only just managed to buy it as none of the local booksellers had it. Can you believe that?
Anyway, it arrived at my local WH Smith yesterday and I plan to start looking at it this week. Why not order it now?
I’ll post a review of some sorts here once I’ve read it, along with a vlog and podcast interview with Emily.