For six years, Emily Chappell was a cycle courier in London, living that dream of cycling-as-livelihood, and she’s now written a book about her life. Of course it focuses on that courier lifestyle, but it weaves in so much more – stories about living in the city, romance and heartbreak, psychogeography, love of cycling, and addressing that glamour and mythology around couriering, and how it’s changed and changing.
I talked to Chappell about how she moved from blogging to writing, how couriering lead to bigger bike adventures (Cycling solo across Europe to Japan! Riding across Alaska on a fatbike in winter! Moving into ultra-endurance racing!) and lots more. This is a long interview (sorry Emily!) so there’s a write-up of parts of it it over on Podium Café, or you can listen to it here, or click through to Soundcloud to download it. And if you want to win a copy of the book, read on below…
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Chappell’s book comes out on 7th January 2016, but you can pre-order it from your favourite local independent bookshop, or from Amazon – “What goes around: A London cycle courier’s story” (Guardian Faber, ISBN 9781783350537)
I very much recommend this book, so I’m really happy that, thanks to Faber & Faber, I’ve got a free copy to give away – if you want to win this, leave me a comment below, or tweet me with the hashtag #PigeonsGiveaway, and I’ll pull a name out of a hat on 24th December.
Follow Chappell’s adventures cycling round the world, getting into racing, and all kinds of other things, on her blog – and if you’ve ever thought about solo cycling adventures, check out her Q&A sections about the practicalities, including answers from other women about their international travels. And of course you can follow her on twitter, and go and see her talk when she turns up in bookshops.
Big thanks to Feargal McKay, and to Lauren Nicoll at Faber for setting this interview up.