A quirky, hilarious and endearing mix of personal travel and a cycling adventure through the most turbulent and dramatic period of French history. Travel with Susie as she wobbles on her bike through Paris and Versailles, the battlefields of World War 1, the Champagne region and more. In this unique presentation the reader can follow the author’s journey online through links to the websites of hotels, campsites, gardens, restaurants, historical places of interest, and even songs, that Susie encounters along her way.
Susie Kelly has already walked 900km solo from La Rochelle to Geneva (Best Foot Forward) and driven the entire circumference of France (Travels With Tinkerbelle), but cyclist she is not. By suggesting an electric bicycle to get her through the worst of the uphill slogs, her husband persuades her that travelling on 2 wheels is by far the best way to see the little-known, virtually undocumented part of France they plan to explore. And so, with not a few mishaps and misgivings, it turns out.
Alongside her energetic and resourceful husband (when he’s not zooming on ahead), Susie follows the identical route taken by Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI when they tried to escape from the Revolution, and their journey back to their executions. After a hair-raising journey through Paris that nearly ends in her own execution by traffic, Susie finds an area of calm waterways and tranquil countryside bursting with history. Idyllic territory for cyclists. Her route takes her from Versailles to the vineyards and champagne cellars of Epernay and Reims then through the Marne valley, the scene of unimaginable horror and devastation during World War 1.
In three weeks Susie and Terry cycle 500 miles, dining sometimes in luxury and often on weird makeshift meals in their tent. Along the way there are traumas, epiphanies, occasional matrimonial disagreements and the odd glass of champagne. Keeping up appearances amongst the petite, chic French at some of Susie’s more luxurious stops creates some serious fashion moments, tempered, as always, by Susie’s good humour and resilience.
“There are a handful of authors who achieve that elusive trick of making you laugh out loud. For me it’s James Herriot, Bill Bryson and Susie Kelly.” French Entrée Magazine
“This was a trip I enjoyed taking through Susie Kelly’s eyes, both for what I learned about the area of France she traveled, and the history involved. My backside and the muscles in my legs were much happier doing it this way, too.” Big Al’s Books & Pals
“A wonderful combination of travelogue, funny anecdotes with the added bonus of weaving throughout an easily digestible history lesson.”
“This is a book I could read again and again.”
"As someone who enjoys reading about travel on foot or bicycle I can say its as good as any I've read and is a massively entertaining and satisfying read."
"When it's funny it's laugh-out-loud funny, and when it's sad it is heart-breaking."
"This book manages to combine history, humor and the best of travel writing all in one."
"Susie rides again! Susie has done it again. This is a thoroughly entertaining read combining self deprecating honest comments with lesser known historical tales and anecdotes."
"Best of all is her humor, her description of seeing herself in a mirror after a days cycling was so funny."
"A wonderful read. I laughed and laughed. If you have an interest in France and her history, you will love this book."
If you enjoy relaxing, armchair travelling with a witty, humorous companion, if you enjoy the books of Bill Bryson, Tim Moore and Peter Mayle, you will love this.