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Travels with Vita and Aurelia

August 2014, no. 363

Cadence: Travels with Music: A Memoir by Emma Ayres

ABC Books, $29.99 pb, 288 pp

Travels with Vita and Aurelia

August 2014, no. 363

To take to the road on a bike, especially if you are a solo female cyclist, is to make yourself vulnerable, submitting yourself to hours of muscle-taxing solitude and reliance on the kindness of strangers. But while slower and physically more arduous than other modes of transport, cycling brings you closer to your surroundings. It offers different perspectives and unexpected insights.

ABC Classic FM breakfast presenter Emma Ayres’s Cadence recounts her ride on a Cannondale named Vita from Shrewsbury to Hong Kong with her violin (Aurelia) strapped to her back. Part memoir, part travel writing, Cadence is more than an account of an intercontinental cycling voyage. It is a coming-of-age story that turns on the trope of ‘[c]adence in music, cadence in cycling, cadence in speech’, narrating Ayres’s evolution as a professional musician, a serious amateur cyclist, and a radio broadcaster.

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