The proposer was a keen cyclist and had chosen the book as a light hearted, amusing account of Tim Moore’s attempt to cycle the Tour De France route.
There was general agreement that the book was a light, journalistic, good holiday read which did not need – or get – over analysis. The account of Moore’s escapades read well, eg his intake of calories including alcohol, though some thought he tried too hard to be funny. His treatment of his wife and children attracted some criticism, though Moore did show some awareness.
There was some discussion of what type of book it was. It was not a travel book. Moore did not give any insight into the France through which he was travelling; indeed his Little England caricature view of the French was somewhat overdone. Serendipitously, a more serious and in depth account of another British cyclist’s journeys through France has just been published in paperback. Graham Robb’s “The Discovery of France” has been well received. Also mentioned as a great cycling tour funny book was Jerome K Jerome’s “Three Men on the Bummell.”
As well as being a personal diary of experiences, Moore’s book’s wider remit was as a history of the Tour De France. Even in this respect the research was seen as somewhat inadequate and selective. There was also some discussion of the cycling experiences of members of the group, and whether the UK’s recent success in the Olympic cycling events would have a wider effect on the British attitude to cycling.