The Hungry Cyclist in Rio

On the hottest day I have ever known in Scotland, I opted out of looking at Inverary Castle with the others and instead ran up Beinn Bhuidhe. I started out along the track in Glen Fyne and took the left fork through Merk Park and up to a col where Merk Burn begins. From there I climbed up north and then reached a flat bit where I managed to run as far as the base of the ridge. Here I walked up a steep gully. I then jogged along the ridge to the summit. The trig point, usually a surefire navigational landmark, was toppled over and incorporated into the cairn. I ran back the same way. I had my shirt off for the whole run. In Scotland.

I met the others at a beach near Bellanoch and we had a bbq, drank beer and enjoyed the sunshine. Sunday was a lying on the beach day and I finished reading The Hungry Cyclist by Tom Kevill-Davies (see I have to say, I loved this book.

He rode his bike the scenic route from NYC to Rio, searching for the perfect meal. His route took in the Great lakes, crossing the Rockies, Mexican deserts, a dodgy river journey across a continent and hundreds of miles of Brazilian beach. On the way he tastes bull's testicles, pigs brain, hallucinogenic mushrooms, armadillo, fried piranha cooked outside a brothel and he learns how to barbecue a guinea pig. More often his search for the perfect meal is successful. Throughout the book there are the best recipes from each area he has cycled through. I'm hoping to try making some of his recipes, maybe Ron Don, Pupusas, Fish Tacos or Hangtown Fry, as soon as I can figure out where to get the ingredients. Along the way he met some coluorful characters, such as a Panamanian fireman who thought he was MacGyver and a lycra clad German cyclist whose idea of a good meal was birdseed, jam and bananas.

I think there are two great strengths to this book. Firstly, there is the strong theme of food. With a distinct purpose to his trip, the writing is focused on the next newly discovered dish, and the people who cook and eat it. Many travelogues become a little self indulgent to the point that the author talks only about himself and his problems, and almost ignores his surroundings. This was impossible for Tom because of the second great strength: his superb sense of humour. Often self deprecating and naturally charming, on one occasion I dropped the book laughing.

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  1. many thanks for these kind words peter, and im so glad you enjoyed the read. im trying to guess when you dropped the book...

    best wishes and enjoy the sunshine



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