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Arts / Travel writer to head north on cycle adventure book tour

Simon Parker.

A TRAVEL writer will open up about his bicycle trip from Unst to Scilly – and back again – in a multimedia presentation in Shetland later this year.

Simon Parker cycled some 3,500 miles in his solo Britain By Bike challenge during the pandemic in 2020 and 2021.

He turned to travel and exercise after his mental health “spiralled to a place of misery and hopelessness” when the Covid pandemic put a halt to international travel.

The challenge has culminated in the publication of the book Riding Out: A Journey of Loss, Love and New Beginnings, which is released on 21 April.

Parker will travel around the UK this year to make a series of appearances at theatres and literary festivals to speak about his adventure.

The tour will end up at Mareel in Lerwick on 19 October.

“Like millions of people all over Britain, I struggled to stay positive in the early days of the pandemic,” Parker said.

“But by hitting the road and putting my faith in adventure and exercise I was able to find solace in the epic landscapes of Britain and learn to find comfort in the unknown.”

Shetland News spoke to Parker before and after his gruelling challenge.

After reaching the Muckle Flugga lighthouse in Unst, champagne bottle in hand, Parker said it was “great to be back” in Shetland – a place he feels has good roads and welcoming hospitality.

The book tour will include a presentation involving high quality films, audio clips and live readings, as well as personal anecdotes.

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