The First Trip
RIDES OF PASSAGE
In 1994, father and son Arthur and Matt Lamy cycled 1,000 kilometres coast to coast across France, from the Channel to the Mediterranean. In 2015 they decided to do it again.
This is their story: two men, two cycle rides, and 21 years of life experiences in between.
Praise for RIDES OF PASSAGE...
"A very interesting book that will surely give more pleasure in the reading than Matt and his dad got from doing it!"
Mike Burrows in Velo Vision
"Heartwarming, funny and insightful, it made me wish I had done something similar with my own dad." The Northern Echo
"Rides of Passage is touching in its treatment of the passage of time and a special father-son bond, as well as in its delicious descriptions of France as seen from the saddle." French Property News
"Rides of Passage is a heart-warming and amusing account of a father and son reconnecting as they relive their youthful adventures and reminisce on the years between... it's a romp of a ride and a read." Cycle Magazine (Cycling UK/CTC)
"The appeal of this entertaining book is broad: anyone who has a father or son, anyone who has ever undertaken a long-distance trip, or anyone who has an interest in riding in France will enjoy many aspects of it — 10/10." Cycling Weekly
RIDES OF PASSAGE
Father and son, 2,000km in the saddle, 21 years in the making
More than just a cycle touring book, RIDES OF PASSAGE blends the stories of two life-affirming bike expeditions with the experiences of a father and son over 21 years to create a unique memoir.
Using original diaries from Matt and Arthur's first trans-France voyage, daily reports from their 2015 trip, and their two life journeys — as one grows from a teenager into a father, the other from a father to a grandfather — it is a tale that touchingly captures the passage of time, relationships, family life, cycling, and the sights and sensations of pedalling across a foreign country.
A truculent teenager and a middle-aged man set off on an adventure — not only to cycle across a foreign country where people spoke a different language but also, to make it more challenging, they carried their sleeping quarters and essentials with them.
What made us do it? As a 15-year-old schoolboy Matt had to complete something called Project Trident. This involved doing three weeks work experience, volunteering for charity, and completing a personal challenge. Matt could have chosen something a lot less arduous than cycling 1,000 kilometres across France and to begin with the trip was simply going to be a reasonable 400-kilometre tour around Northern France, almost all within sight of our home in Jersey. However, when Matt's three mates who were originally going to join us fell by the wayside, we were spurred onto greater things. Our French trip grew to a cycle-touring odyssey that crossed France, from Saint Malo on the Channel coast, to Sète (a very long way away) in the Mediterranean.
This journey had the potential to go very wrong. We were used to cycling in Jersey, which has a land mass that is only nine miles by five miles and, as a general rule, when you reach the sea you've gone too far. Even on a bicycle this usually takes less than an hour. But France is a very big place and each day we would cycle further and further from our home. To reach the Mediterranean we planned that it would take us 10 days, camping and map reading as we went.
We used pay phones to call home with updates of our progress and we slept in campsites that we found en route. We saw the ever-evolving beauty of a country as it changes from north to south. We met interesting characters and ate great food. We had close shaves with articulated lorries, skidding ambulances and aggressive dogs. But most importantly, after a week and a half we finally made it to Sète.
Then we spent the next two decades boring our loved ones with the occasional 'French story marathon' around the dining table.