I'm Steve, 57 years from Liverpool. I'm a husband, a father and a grandad, and when I set out in 2017 on my first ever bicycle tour, I was strongly built and weighed 350 pounds (158 kg) at 6ft (1.8m) tall. For just over a year and four months, I had the most incredible time, which included visiting 12 countries and 7800 of actual cycling miles (12550 km).
There's big and there's big and I'm bigger. That said, I ordered a bike I thought could take my weight and off I rode. I wasn't even a regular cyclist, weight-training was my hobby. I felt the bicycle was the vehicle I needed to see the world at just the right pace without having to carry suitcases or bags on my back.
I had no idea how far I could cycle with a fully-loaded bike in a day and, without a single day of practice, I managed 23 miles to a campsite in Cheshire. That was the farthest I had cycled since I was a teen and it felt pretty good.
I treated my ride like a holiday, albeit with a bike. I had no intention of simply picking two points on the earth and sleeping under a tarp for months on end eating pasta and porridge to fill in the gap. I travelled a lot like that in my youth. I thought I'd save that style of touring for another later adventure, if I enjoyed the first, of course.
That said, I had my share of wild camping in my tent. I also stayed on campsites, in huts, hotels and guesthouses. I had meals in restaurants, bars, from street-food vendors, and I even managed pasta on my camp stove. I didn't rely on others to house and feed me, I used my own hard-earned savings. It was my adventure after all and I wasn't interested in anyone else covering the costs.
I had more challenges than I could have imagined before setting out. Due to being run over by a truck some years earlier, my spine wasn't getting any better. I also suffered a few other conditions, so I felt the ride could possibly be my last really big physical adventure.
Being a family man in my 50's with financial and other responsibilities, I planned to have my wife visit me from time to time, as she would be working much harder to keep everything running smoothly at home in my absence. I was even prepared to return home on occasion for unforeseen reasons, depending on how long I was away, and I was cool with that. I wasn't out to set records, I was simply out to have a great adventure holiday with a bike.
Bicycle Touring / Cycle Touring
Bicycles and other pedal-powered vehicles are perfect for exploring the world at just the right speed and in any way you choose. A day out or a long weekend, with an organised tour group or partner. On a shoestring or healthy budget. Travel as your fitness will permit, for as far and for as long as you wish. There are no rules, and you don’t have to love cycling or be a regular cyclist to love touring.
✦ 74,000 words across 14 chapters, about a far from typical bicycle touring adventure.
✦ 70 Beautiful high-resolution black and white / greyscale photographs (full-colour photographs in colour-compatible devices and media)
✦ Professionally styled layout to create an even more pleasurable reading experience
✦ Organic reviews. No pre-launch reviews, no paid for reviews, and no review swaps
✎ Varied selection of reviews
"This is an enjoyable, intensely personal account of an epic cycling adventure. This is a big man with ambitions to match." PP UK ☆☆☆☆☆
"You are an inspiration to the rest of us with hypothyroidism” HT ☆☆☆☆☆
"...and at last, a bike touring book that most of us who enjoy travelling by bike can relate. I've become a little tired of the same old themes of east to west, coast to coast, from here to there, while reading how the cyclists live on bean and crumb and everyone else's dime. Love this!" CC USA ☆☆☆☆☆
" I hope that the book inspires other people to ignore their own weight/age/ability issues to enjoy riding their bike. Excellent story from a very brave man." UK ☆☆☆☆☆
“Your honesty and sense of humour had me gripped from the first few paragraphs” SH UK ☆☆☆☆☆
“Stephen Peel differentiated himself in his style of touring. His journey was not about drawing an unbroken line around the world. It was not about the miles cycled and beating the clock. He chose a unique path letting his daily experiences and body guide him.” TB USA ☆☆☆☆
"I enjoyed reading about the adventure and was greatly impressed by the sheer determination of the writer but was disappointed by the writing style." JPA USA ☆☆
“This book is so different to any long distance cycling bio I have ever read, no training, plenty beer and pizza and so refreshingly honest.” HD ES ☆☆☆☆☆
“It’s not about the cycling, it’s about how to live to the fullest and get the most out of it each day.” AC USA ☆☆☆☆☆
"the 350lbs was muscle it seems" PB ☆☆
“From the first page Stephen's flowing narrative, interspersed with his dry humour, had me hooked.” UK ☆☆☆☆☆
A highly unlikely bicycle tourist, available now
The link button on these listings is to Amazon UK. You might find things easier to check Amazon Books in your country of residence. Just type: A highly unlikely bicycle tourist into your countries Amazon Books search bar
All the content of the written formats, narrated by Aaron Smith, who has a voice very close to my own, and who get's my feelings across nicely. I had fun working on the audiobook to ensure it was of the highest standard
Kobo - eBook
Not everyone uses Kindle .mobi, and for those that don't, but do like eBooks, here's the ePub version available for Kobo Reader or through the Kobo app for tablet, desktop and smartphones
Google Play - eBook
Not everyone uses Kindle .mobi, and for those that don't, but do like eBooks, here's the ePub version available for Google Play Books related devices and apps for desktop, tablets and smartphones
I'm no videographer, but I thought it would be nice to at least try to add a bit of video.
Bicycle Touring for Beginners - Facebook Group
While on my very first bicycle tour - that lasted 16 incredible months - I struggled to find a great bicycle touring group dedicated to helping beginners like myself, so I setup up Bicycle Touring for Beginners in 2018, with the help of 9 other great friends and moderators.
I have created this great Journal and Log Book for you to record your cycling adventures. It has all the input sections I would have loved on my own bicycle tour, and that I will be using on my next to record everything I can
200 pages / 100 double-sided pages for daily tour inputs including page number, date, weather, location, from, finish, distance day, distance total, longitude, latitude, elevation, maintenance, repair, notes, where I stayed price and facilities, who I met and contact details, point of interest and location
Details for bike, gear, contacts, simple world map for you to add detail, and conversion charts including miles to km, wheel sizes, frame sizes, tyre pressures, pounds to kg, temperature chart.
100 Original images which I captured during my tour. Each small greyscale image is designed to add a little more interest to each double-sided page. The images have been lightened so that notes can be written over them