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The unicyclist, the vicar and the paediatrician

summer 2016

From triple helix - summer 2016 - The unicyclist, the vicar and the paediatrician [p21]

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Peter and Joe Sidebotham

Troubador, 2013, £8.95 Pb 144pp, ISBN 9781780885155
Reviewed by Sarah Maidment, Trainee GP based in Oxfordshire

As a Christian doctor, a keen cyclist and having previously ridden the 1,000 miles from Land's End to John O' Groats, I felt adequately qualified to do this review. The book is written by a Christian Paediatrician, Peter Sidebotham, who tells the story of his 16-year-old son, Joe, as they ride together from Land's End to John O'Groats on a unicycle.

The opening chapters recount their less-than-perfect training and preparation for this epic adventure. Joe and his dad are by no means 'seasoned cyclists'. Joe would probably describe himself more as a 'stunt man', having found his way into unicycling via circus skills workshops.

Spurred on by pledges of sponsorship (for charity), an exciting challenge and Joe's enthusiasm, the unicyclist [Joe, on one wheel], the Paediatrician [Peter, on two wheels] and the Vicar [60-year-old David, on a three-wheeled recumbent tricycle] begin their journey from Land's End.

Even the best travel authors and most highly-acclaimed cycletourists at times struggle to captivate their audience, as they write about what can become a fairly mundane trip from A to B, ticking off the miles. Peter's account is interspersed with snippets from Joe's audio-blog, telling their story from different viewpoints. Their journey is interspersed with mishaps and unfortunate events, which make a compelling read. I was disappointed by the amateur style of writing but could not help feeling impressed by their efforts, with a real sense of 'good for them', for what they had achieved.

Article written by Sarah Maidment

More from triple helix: summer 2016

  • When the foundations are being destroyed
  • Life is the gift of God...
  • Death of a 20-year-old
  • A call to arms
  • BMA retains opposition to assisted suicide
  • the nurse-physician relationship
  • Exporting British healthcare expertise
  • New template for the UK
  • Robots and healthcare
  • Tackling global health inequalities
  • Integrity in research
  • Gospel mission and medicine
  • A yak in the fridge
  • Emotions
  • The amazing technicolour pyjama therapy
  • The worry book
  • Rediscovering a ministry of health
  • The unicyclist, the vicar and the paediatrician
  • Openness unhindered
  • Mindful of the light
  • eutychus
  • help with learning to walk
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