A story about the nature of work, the science of bicycles and the wisdom of children.
In 2011, international businessman Peter Holmes à Court left the executive world and found himself living deep in rural France with only his seven-year-old twin girls for company.
Peter was struggling as a single father in a foreign country - unsettled by the sudden move away from a traditional job, and completely baffled by the society around him. His only plan: to ride L'Etape du Tour, the challenging amateur leg of the Tour de France. In an effort to find some new friends in the community - and a bike for the race - he discovered the region's small bicycle factory.
He was soon spending his days there: photographing his custom bike being built, meeting the locals, and learning about the rich traditions of artisan craftsmanship. Trying to enjoy the simple things and become a better father, Peter slowed down, and started to reflect seriously on history, industry and the structure of our modern economy. He and his daughters finally began to put down roots and understand the beauty and calm of a small-scale existence – and a very different approach to excellence and the well-lived life.
This is one man's compelling, informative and funny story about the wisdom of children, the nature of work today, and the science of bicycles.
“Peter writes from an historically unique and sociologically fascinating position. Somehow he combines this with perceptiveness and a surprising writing talent. I feel it was pretty much his human duty to write a memoir. I am so glad he did. ”
Jo Ely, author of Stone Seeds
“When his marriage imploded, Holmes a Court headed into the middle of Nowheresville, France, his pre-teen twin daughters in tow, with the tripartite goal of learning a language, riding in a race, and writing a book. He succeeded at the first two, but failed to write the book he’d intended. Thank God for that, because the book he did write is an honest, touching, hilarious, and sneakily profound story of how a man realized what he really believed, what really mattered to him, and who he really was.”
Duff McDonald,, Author, The Firm: The Inside Story of McKinsey, and The Golden Passport: Harvard Business School, the Limits of Capitalism, and the Moral Failure of the MBA Elite
“Peter Holmes à Court has written a lyrical book full of passion, intensity and intelligence that teaches the ultimate life lesson: it’s all about the journey and those who ride it with you. The most original business book – and parenting manual – that you’ll read this year.”
Roman Krznaric, Author, Carpe Diem Regained; Empathy: Why it matters, and how to get it; How to find fulfilling work