Praise for Freewheeling Through Ireland

‘He tells us: “I found that the entire Republic was in a grand conspiracy to make sure I enjoyed myself” – and Enfield’s stories will make you weep with laughter’

The Oldie

‘Enfield’s writing is gently amusing and he is good on the quainter details of life in Ireland, particularly rural life. This is a sometimes witty and often well-observed account of some of the most beautiful and magical spots in the rugged Irish landscape and the fishermen, landladies, publicans and horse-dealers who people it’

Sunday Telegraph

‘With a wit that’s dryer than a martini and an unfailing sense of the absurd, Mr Enfield is the perfect companion with which to travel… a book that is liberally sprinkled with literary tips and historical references… If you are planning a trip, don’t leave it behind and if you are not, this might just tempt you’

Saga Travellers News

Praise for Greece On My Wheels

‘Enfield not only impresses – he informs and delights… the overall effect is charming… This is a man with a deep affection for the beauty and culture of the land he is gliding through’

Wanderlust magazine

‘I would not have expected an account of one man’s travels around Greece on a bicycle to be such fun… This is so much more than a travelogue… It is a delightful introduction to a wonderful country, and a story well told’

Saga Travellers News

‘The most charming travelogue I’ve read this year. Mr Enfield takes the reader on a cycling tour, a history lesson and a literary safari that combines old world wit and charm with a sweeping breadth of knowledge. This volume should be on every creative writing course syllabus as an example of travel writing at its best’

Paul Blezard, presenter and producer of Between the Lines and Footnotes

Praise for Downhill All the Way

‘With all the excitement of the Tour de France, Edward Enfield’s Downhill All the Way provides welcome respite for those of us less inclined to mountains. Retiree Enfield recounts his north-south crossing of France in a humorous, heart-warming fashion. The charming anecdotes and his invaluable Continental touring tips combine to make this ideal summer reading’

London Cyclist

‘A charming and witty work!’

Destination France

‘In a journey fraught with incident – including being banned from a swimming pool on account of his trunks being too decent – Edward’s skills as a narrator combined with his gentle humour and sharp observer’s eye result in yet another delightful travel book from the pedal-powered pensioner. Through the Rhône and down to Provence and the Camargue, Edward is witty and informative as always. There’s also a funny introduction to the book written by Harry Enfield, Edward’s very talented comedian son’

Provence Life


Copyright © Edward Enfield 2008

Illustrations by Peter Bailey

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced by any means, nor transmitted, nor translated into a machine language, without the written permission of the publishers.

The right of Edward Enfield to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

Condition of Sale
This book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, re-sold, hired out or otherwise circulated in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent publisher.

Summersdale Publishers Ltd
46 West Street
West Sussex
PO19 1RP

Printed and bound in Great Britain

eISBN: 9780857653123



With Journeys in Bavaria and Poland




Edward Enfield’s chief characteristic is, he says, that he is very old. He is old enough to have been evacuated to Canada during the war, and old enough to have spent many hours at school and Oxford struggling to write Greek and Latin verses (which practice is now obsolete). He is sufficiently old to have done National Service in Germany and to have worked for Cathay Pacific Airways when they only had three aeroplanes.

When he retired from his eventual employment in local government, he was given, by Richard Ingrams, a suitable niche in the form of a regular column in The Oldie magazine, and he has written for many other publications including the Express, Evening Standard, Telegraph, Guardian, Sunday Telegraph and Radio Times. His elderly voice was often heard on radio, as co-presenter of Double Vision and as presenter of Free Spirits, the last of the Down Your Way series and Enfield Pedals After Byron. He has been a senior presence on television in, for example, Watchdog and the BBC’s Holiday programme, Points of View and The Heaven and Earth Show.

He has one wife, four children and ten grandchildren.




Praise for Freewheeling Through Ireland

Praise for Greece On My Wheels

Praise for Downhill All the Way

Copyright Page

Title Page

About the Author


The Romantic Road – 1997

A Polish Interlude – 1998

The Danube – 2006



When it comes to introductions, the world divides into those who read them and those who don’t, with those who don’t probably outnumbering those that do by about nine to one. I am generally one of those who does not, as I am usually keen to get on with the book itself without bothering about what comes before. Sometimes, though, I read the introduction after I have finished the book, which is the best way if it happens to be a classical novel, as these have introductions written by editors who discuss the plot so fully that they completely give the game away. I recently made the mistake of reading the introduction to a Henry James novel before I started the book, and as a result I knew exactly who was going to marry whom, when I ought to have been kept in suspense.

In the hope that some of those who read this book will sooner or later get round to the introduction, I will say that its purpose is to thank two people for the help they gave me in writing it. The first is Jennifer Barclay of Summersdale Publishers, who sent me back the drafts of each section with her most helpful and incisive comments. She has also invented what I think is a completely new editorial tool in the form of a smiley face. It looks like this:

and she puts it in the margin of any passage which makes her smile or laugh. As I am quite incapable of judging my own work and each time wondered if she would damn each section out of hand and demand the return of my advance, it was always enormously encouraging to find a sprinkling of smiley faces to indicate those parts that had met with her approval. I have also to thank Bill Billington, a friend and colleague over many years and a German scholar good enough to have spent the war cracking codes at Bletchley Park. He put me right on several points of German, cast his eye over the Romantic Road and Danube sections, and drew my attention to two omissions which I have since rectified.

In gratitude to those who have read thus far I will pass on a tip which I got from George Byam-Shaw, a friend from Oxford days. I sent him a copy of my book about Greece and he replied by return of post, saying, ‘I make it a rule always to thank an author for his book before reading it – it saves possible embarrassment.’ You can do this with any book given to you by anyone, not necessarily the author. If you have been made a present of, say, ‘A Life of J. R. R. Tolkien’, and don’t like the look of it, write at once to say how delighted you are to have it, how much you look forward to reading it, put it on a shelf and after a decent interval take it to the Oxfam shop. You may of course treat Dawdling By the Danube in exactly this way if it has been forced upon you by some well-meaning friend.