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Peter Gostelow

Adventure cycling

The improbable cyclist

Last Thursday evening I went to hear Anne Mustoe talk at the RGS in Winchester. ‘Dinner with Mr Gupta ‘ was a talk that focused on three episodes of her long cycling adventures that have spanned two decades. Amazingly, even now in her seventies she’s still travelling the World by bicycle.

“In January 1983 I was taking a holiday in India to recover from the rigours of the long Autumn Term. Somewhere in Rajasthan I looked out of the bus window and saw a cyclist, a solitary European man, pedalling across the immensity of the Great Thar Desert. I was seized with sudden envy. I wanted to be out there myself on that road on a bicycle, alone and free, feeling the reality of India, not gazing at it through a pane of glass.

I was not athletic. I was not young. I had never been a keen cyclist. I had no idea how to mend a puncture. I hated camping, picnics and discomfort. In fact, my qualifications for an arduous cycle-ride were minimal. Yet it was the bicycle which had immediate appeal. I made up my mind that morning that I would cycle across India. But the more I thought about it, the more I wondered why I should stop at India. While I was at it, why not cycle round the world?

Anne Mustoe

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