This gallery shows the paintings for my new book A Cycling Year. I am hoping and planning to crowdfund its publication with a Kickstarter project which is now live! Please take a look
A Cycling Year takes its inspiration from an old map and my love of Yorkshire. Walking around a flea market in Hawes in Wensleydale about 15 years ago after a particularly wet and windy mountain bike ride I found an old map hidden under some books. I love maps and live in Otley in Wharfedale, so I was especially excited to find this copy of Bartholomew’s Sheet 6 printed in 1938 and backed with cloth. This map was aimed at cyclists, to help them plan routes and carry in the back pocket of their jersey to help them find their way. I had the map framed and hung it on the wall above my kitchen table where I could see it every day and use it to plan my adventures.
While the map covers the length of the River Wharfe ‐ from its source near Cam Head in the central Yorkshire Dales to its lower reaches where it meets the River Ouse at Cawood near York ‐ it also details much other wonderful ground. The south‐eastern edges of the North York Moors, Pendle Hill and the Forest of Bowland, the South Pennine Moors, Haworth and more. The map has taken me from Otley to Scarborough by Knaresborough, the Wolds and the North York Moors, and from Hebden Bridge to Garsdale along the Pennine Bridleway, bivvying on the side of Ingleborough en route. I’ve cycled to the Malham Show in late summer, taken winter rides to Masham and the Piece Hall in Halifax, and joined the crazy and wonderful Three Peaks Cyclo‐Cross. There is a chapter for every month of the year, each one telling the story of a bike ride.
The book also explores the ways in which other writers and artists have been inspired by cycling, nature and the landscape ‐ Edward Thomas, Eric Ravilious, Rebecca Solnit, Madeleine Bunting, J B Priestley and others. In turn they have inspired me and my bike rides, and this is reflected in the book.
In the coming months this gallery will grow as I complete more of the illustrations for the book.