Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Cycling memories from the Chilterns

Cycling memories from the Chilterns

A WRITER and journalist who grew up in Watlington and Henley has written a book about cycling.

Paul Maunder, 44, has penned The Wind at My Back: A Cycling Life which explores his memories of being on two wheels and how cycling and creativity are connected.

The 272-page work takes us on a journey across wild moorland, through suburbia and city streets as well as the British countryside.

Mr Maunder said: “I grew up in Watlington and at the age of nine, when we moved to Henley, I started cycling seriously.

“My memory is that I saw the 1984 world championships on television and instantly fell in love, but my dad also liked cycling as a leisure activity.

“Once in Henley I was given enough independence to go out on little rides on my own. Once I had that freedom I was smitten.”

Mr Maunder lived in Deanfield Avenue and attended Gillotts School and The Henley College before studying politics at the University of East Anglia. His father was a teacher and his mother was a librarian at Henley library.

Many of the sections of the book are set in and around Henley and the book celebrates the landscape of the Chilterns.

An excerpt reads: “For a time my route was always the same, principally because my parents wanted to know where they should go searching, were I not to return, a six-mile loop we all referred to as the ‘Bix circuit’.

“The initial climb was always a shock. The depth of effort required to get a bike moving on a hill, and sustaining that effort over a period of many minutes, was very different to the stop-start exertions of football or other childhood activities.

“Even at the remove of more than 30 years I can still see every one of those six miles. Over the brow of the hill the road bends between fields of rapeseed and barley, past a riding school and past the plastic lawns of a golf course.”

Mr Maunder is a regular contributor to cycling magazines and lives in London with his wife and two children.

The Wind at My Back: A Cycling Life is available from Amazon priced £11.92.

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