Anne Mustoe

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14th March 2008

When Anne set off to cycle alone round the world, she was 54, overweight and unfit. She had not cycled for 30 years and she wobbled on her new machine.

Most travel writers start travelling when they are young and hope to make a career of it. Anne had already had her career and wanted an adventure before it was too late. What she didn't know at the time was that her adventure would turn into a new career!

Old Career:

Born in Nottingham, the home of the Raleigh Bicycle
Classics M.A. from Cambridge University
Worked in personnel and management training with GKN
Married a Q.C. Three step-sons, one of whom is a solo round-the-world yachtsman
Taught Classics and Economics at Francis Holland School, Clarence Gate
Set up small independent travel business
Returned to teaching as Deputy Head of Cobham Hall, Kent
Headmistress of St. Felix School, Southwold, Suffolk
President of the Girls' Schools Association
Chairman of ISIS
Justice of the Peace in Suffolk
Member of the Final Selection Board for the Foreign Office and Home Civil Service
Educational consultant.

So why did she give it up?
"In January 1983 I was taking a holiday in India to recover from the rigours of the long Autumn Term. Somewhere in Rajasthan I looked out of the bus window and saw a cyclist, a solitary European man, pedalling across the immensity of the Great Thar Desert. I was seized with sudden envy. I wanted to be out there myself on that road on a bicycle, alone and free, feeling the reality of India, not gazing at it through a pane of glass.

I was not athletic. I was not young. I had never been a keen cyclist. I had no idea how to mend a puncture. I hated camping, picnics and discomfort. In fact, my qualifications for an arduous cycle-ride were minimal. Yet it was the bicycle which had immediate appeal. I made up my mind that morning that I would cycle across India. But the more I thought about it, the more I wondered why I should stop at India. While I was at it, why not cycle round the world?

It took me four years to screw up my courage to leave a secure job and cycle into the sunrise, but I did my sums and reckoned that I could just afford it, if I lived modestly on my savings until my pension came through. I had no ties. My family were married off and I was a widow - not a happy situation, but at least widows are freer than wives. I could see the gap in the fence and I made a run for it. I traded in the Kurt Geiger shoes and the Alfa Romeo for a pair of trainers and a sturdy custom-built Condor cycle (bought for me as a leaving-present by the girls at my school), and set off in 1987 on my first solo cycle-ride around the world."

New Career

Cycled round the world from West to East, London to London
Cycled round the world from East to West, Rome to Rome
Cycled through the Indian Subcontinent from Kathmandu in Nepal, across India, to Kandy in the central highlands of Sri Lanka
Cycled from Cleopatra's Needle on the Thames to Heliopolis on the Nile, where the Needle originally came from
Cycled the Amber Route from the Baltic to the Mediterranean
Various short rides, like the Santa Fe Trail, the Camino Real and the PilgrimWay from Le Puy to Santiago di Compostela
Writing books
Giving talks and readings.
Chairman of Trustees, The National Byway.

Talks:
Anne has lectured at the Royal Geographical Society, and she gives talks to lecture associations, travel clubs, cycling groups, W.I. groups and luncheon clubs all over the country, with or without slides. Fees are scaled to suit the size of the audience and the type of occasion.
If you would like to make a booking, or find out where there might be a talk near you, please send an e mail to Anne at anne_mustoe@yahoo.co.uk All enquiries will be answered eventually, but travellers travel and you may Sometimes have to wait a while!

Links:
The Cyclists' Touring Club: www.ctc.org.uk
The National Byway: www.thenationalbyway.org
Condor Cycles: www.condorcycles.com
Julian Mustoe - Round the World Yachtsman: harrier.users.netlink.co.uk

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