Northbound & Down


When Otto Ecroyd embarked on a voyage to sail a broken boat from Norway to France - and failed - he decided to do what any other hapless adventurer would do: cycle from Alaska to Mexico. But, as Otto says, he 'had never ridden further than across town.' So, with no experience, the wrong type of bike and with panniers overflowing with lentils, Otto pedals across vast American landscapes, cowers from juggernaut RVs, and all the while wonders when he will next meet a grizzly bear. En route, Otto's wit and self-deprecating charm ensure he wins many friends, from an array of regional characters, to a cosmopolitan mix of fellow long-distance cyclists, each with their own motivation for riding the hard miles.

With some, he cycles leisurely in tandem; with others, in lung-busting sprints; and with others still, in bedraggled pelotons. But then, this is no grand depart from the daily grind to the upper echelons of sport, for Otto is not in it for the competition - just the adventure of a lifetime.

Northbound and Down isn't Ranulph Fiennes crossing Antarctica, or 'The Man Who Cycled the World'.  It's more entertaining than that. Three months in North America, 100km a day on a bike. The places, the people, the misadventures of the journey.

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