Monday, 9 August 2010

Anne Mustoe; cycle round the world 1933 to 2009

Anne Mustoe headmistress and author died last year.

She travelled by Roman roads across Europe; Alexander the Great’s route from Greece to the Indus Valley; Pakistan and India with the Moghuls and the Raj. Across the United States she followed the great pioneer trails, and undeterred by downpours, heat, political turmoil or amorous waiters, she promptly decided to do it all over again, in reverse direction.

She set out from London to ride round the world from west to east in 1987 and completed the circumnavigation 12,000 miles and 15 months later. Her first book, A Bike Ride, dealt with all the preparations, route-planning, packing and budgeting, as well as the riding.

She followed Roman roads to Lisbon, the Conquistadors across South America, Captain Cook over the Pacific, and the Silk Route from China back to Rome. Special chapters dealt with the day-to-day difficulties of the voyage up the Amazon in small cargo boats, and cycling the Australian Outback, the Gobi Desert and the Karakoram Highway.

Two Wheels in the Dust, encapsulated five winters on the Indian sub-continent.
For Cleopatra’s Needle the indefatigable cyclist set off from the obelisk of that name on the Thames Embankment to ride back to its original location, Heliopolis in Egypt.
Che Guevara and the Mountain of Silver she cycled from Buenos Aires in the wheeltracks of the 500cc Norton as ridden by Che in his early life, and recalled in the film The Motorcycle Diaries.

Mustoe cycled off on her last expedition in May 2009, but became ill in Syria. She died in Aleppo in November.

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