The route and story of Pedalling to Panama.
The book describes my solo long-distance cycle ride starting in Northern Mexico in September 2005 and finishing in style 4,300 miles later, with a police escort over the Puente de Las Americas, on the banks of the Panama Canal, in April 2006.
I quit my job as an accountant to fulfil a dream of seeing Mexico and Central America. Travelling by bike through impressive scenery I ran out of water, suffered eye injury and had to get the bike fixed after a breakdown.
I pedalled through Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama. The book provides political and historical comment as well as a travel narrative, on a region not covered extensively by travel writing.
In Mexico I met people who had lived and worked in the United States, sometimes travelling there illegally. Their experiences in the United States make interesting reading. I talk to street children forced to work rather than go to school, and paint a picture of their plight that brings a tear to the eye.
War-torn Central America was regarded for twenty years as a no-go area for tourists. There is eye-arresting poverty seldom seen in Europe. Now it is changing. My story tells of warm and hospitable people who are happy to talk about their experiences and views of the world. This adds spice to the book. The narrative includes my own observations of the effects of poverty and civil war on people.
The book is a travelogue of the journey – the route, incidents, and descriptions of people I met. There is also researched historical reference where appropriate, on this little known but unique part of the world.
It will appeal to cyclists, travellers, and anyone with an interest in Latin America who wants to hear what Central America is like now. There are an increasing number of books about South America, but Central America is a gap in current travel writing which my book fills. Mexico is a relatively unknown gem and my book brings to life parts of a vast, fascinating country.
Published by Author House, available from www.amazon.co.uk in paperback or Kindle format, or from the publisher Authorhouse.com (priced in US dollars)
I also sell autographed copies at my home in Glasgow, for ten pounds, if you can catch me in. (Call first on 0141 779 1994)
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