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What Goes Around

Emily Chappell

A beautiful new view of the city from a talented new writer and cycle courier.

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Date Published
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At twenty-five, Emily Chappell took up cycle couriering while she searched for a ‘real job’. Eight years on, she is still riding. As she flies through the streets of London, dancing with the traffic, Chappell records the pains and pleasures of life on wheels: the dangerous missions; the moments of fear and freedom, and ultimately the simple joy of pedalling onward.

Critic Reviews

This memoir of a cycle courier and her love affair with the capital delivers the goods in style...Chappell is a gifted storyteller. She deftly weaves in a plotted history of couriering, from the explosion of the industry in the late 1980s...through to its gentle decline at the hand of email attachments, file sharing and electronic signatures...In and out of all this, fine words flow on the simple but profound pleasure of floating through the city on a bicycle - of the "strange sense of stillness", and "the energy of sheer motion itself.

Robert Penn, Observer
Critic Reviews

Fascinating for offering a ­female courier's memoir of a predominantly male culture.

New Statesman
Critic Reviews

With remarkably intricate and evocative detail, Chappell takes us through her journey from wide-eyed new girl to hardened veteran. She combines fascinating insight into the job with raw personal experience and passion. It feels a privilege to be allowed in. The book's heartfelt odes to cycling mean you don't have to be at all interested in actual courier work to find this absorbing. In fact, it's so well written that you probably don't even need to like bicycles to be entertained and engaged.

Urban Cyclist
Critic Reviews

[A] collection of anecdotes and memories that is part personal history, part portrait of the city. Chappell is a marvellous writer, and the book reads rather like a bike ride with its succession of turns and unexpected discoveries ... The joy of cycling is at its heart, however; if any book could make you consider chucking in your desk job and throwing on some Lycra, this could be it.


Emily Chappell studied at Cambridge and SOAS, and since 2008 has worked as a cycle courier in London.Emily’s writing has featured in the Guardian and in 2012 she won Travel Blogger of the Year at the British Travel Press Awards, and a Jupiter’s Traveller Award from the Ted Simon Foundation. She delivered her first lecture to the Royal Geographical Society…

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