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Uplifting travelogue with a difference
on 1 April 2008
Inspired to literally get on his bike following the tragic death of his mum, Bernie Friend, author of Cycling Back to Happiness, is not your typical travel writer.
An exhausting 6,000 kilometer cycle ride around the coasts of the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Scotland and England would be a daunting task for the fittest survivalist.
For Bernie, a lifelong hypochondriac with a morbid fear of dying horribly on foreign soil, it was an immense challenge.
Travel-phobic Bernie can't set foot on a plane, finds boats a terrifying prospect, and hasn't cycled since childhood. But in a last-ditch bid to take control of his fears he sets out from his home in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, on an epic adventure with just a borrowed bike and a one-man tent for company.
With his well-tuned nose for nutters, Bernie soon sniffs out the strange characters who populate the coastal route and discovers the healing power of travel along the way.
Bernie is joined in Germany by a travelling companion. While Phileas Fogg had Passepartout and Ewan McGregor had Charley Boorman, Bernie is saddled with agoraphobic hermit Rhys as a peddaling partner.
Together they cycle on through Scandinavia, the perfect double act of tortured souls seeking a pine-scented salvation in the land of trolls and Vikings.
The result is an uplifting tale of one man's battle with his inner demons.
Bernie's startlingly honest peeks into the darkest corners of his own fractured mind are contrasted with many painfully funny observations on the weird and wonderful people and places that cling to the coastal journey around the North Sea.
Join Bernie on his journey, and be inspired to face your own fears head-on.