What Goes Around
Emily Chappell

What Goes Around

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ABOUT THE BOOK

Emily Chappell never meant to be a cycle courier. She planned to earn her living using her mind rather than her legs. She thought it'd be a useful stopgap while searching for a 'real' job. Today, six years on, she's still pedalling. 'It's my most enduring love affair; the career that's shaped my life, made me what I am, and entirely derailed any hope of a normal existence.'

As she flies through the streets of the capital, dancing with the traffic, Chappell records the pain and pleasure-both mental and physical-of life on wheels: the hurtling, dangerous missions; the ebb and flow of seasonal work; the moments of fear and freedom, anger and exhaustion; the camaraderie of the courier tribe and its idiosyncratic characters; the conflict and harmony between bicycle and road, body and mind.

At the same time it is a hymn to London; its changing skyline, its chaos and interconnectedness: 'the unlikeliest street corners will have some tattered threads of memory fluttering from them like a flag...It's almost as if the memories have overflowed from my head and scattered themselves about the city. Some parts of my life I can recall simply by thinking of them; others I think I'd remember better if I went back to a certain part of London and plucked them up from the tree I'd hung them from, or retraced them from the park bench I'd scratched them on, or snatched them up as they blew around in circles in an alleyway like a discarded carrier bag'. This is a book about discovery and belonging, connection and memory, choosing life's uncharted course and the delicious sensation of just riding.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Hello – I’m Emily. I like bikes. A lot.

I spent 2011-13 cycling across Asia, from Wales to Japan. In February 2014 I cycled across Iceland. I spent the first three months of 2015 cycling from Anchorage to Seattle, and that summer competing in the Transcontinental Race. After dropping out halfway (with a suspected heart problem that turned out to be nothing more than grumpy intercostals), I’ll be back in summer 2016, to finish the job.

In between my adventures, I work as a cycle courier in London, England. I used to blog about it as That Messenger Chick. I’ve never enjoyed a job so much, or stuck with it so long, but there’s very little career development in couriering, so I’m delighted to have found other ways of cycling and writing full-time. (Luckily, I never wanted to be rich.)

 

  • Imprint: Guardian Faber Publishing
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 320
  • Price: £11
  • Publication date: 7 January 2016
  • ISBN: 9781-1-78335-054-4

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