I cycled four thousand miles from Bristol to India but I didn’t want to write another travel book. I didn't just want to write about the experience of cycling, but about the experience that went on in my head. How I travelled imaginatively, not just on two wheels.
The book is far more than the story of a bicycle trip from Bristol in the UK to the southern tip of India, it is also a journey from Western to Eastern philosophy and how this informs the everyday experience of riding a bike.
Mind is the Ride takes the reader on a physical and intellectual adventure by bicycle, interweaving philosophy into the cyclist’s experience, using the components of a bike as a metaphor for that experience. Itcomes with the backing of Boneshaker magazine, a perfect-bound, design-led publication celebrating the human side of cycling, distributed in twenty seven countries.
Each chapter is based around a single bicycle component. As each part is added, the story of the trip from west to east is furthered and a philosophy of mind from west to east is developed. By the end of the book the bike is “built”, the ride to India completed, and an understanding of the relationship between mind, body and bicycle made explicit. Each stage will be realised with an illustration of the component and the growing bike using the same hand crafted attention to detail and love of design that Boneshaker is famous for.
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance has been mentioned in comparison but “Mind is the Ride” has its own unique character. It is the pedal powered antidote to the petrol driven philosophies of the past. The age of the “travelogue” is over. We have travelled to the furthest limits of the world and hit the buffers. “Travel” and “Culture” are cast aside like supplements in the Sunday papers. We need to travel inwardly to see the world afresh. Mind is the Ride is that journey, on a bicycle.
Jet McDonald is a writer, musician and psychiatrist. He spent a year cycling from Bristol in the UK to Trivandrum in India with his girlfriend Jen. He is a lead writer for “Boneshaker Magazine”, a perfect-bound, design led publication celebrating the human side of cycling, distributed in twenty seven countries. His non-fiction work has been published in “The Idler”, a collection of radical essays. He is a member of the Royal College of Psychiatrist’s Special Interest Group in Philosophy.
Jet learnt to ride on a red Raleigh roadster age four. He got a Chopper when he was seven and a Claude Butler racer in kingfisher green for his first paper round. He has always been part of the thriving alternative bicycle scene in Bristol, performing with Bristol Bike Festival and Sustrans, the organisation behind the national bicycle network. It was through these associations that he started to write for Boneshaker magazine. Jet is the author of two novels, the first of which was nominated for a BFS best newcomer award. His short fiction has been published in numerous anthologies and reviewed in The Guardian. When not writing Jet is a performer of short stories with Bristol’s “Folk Tales,” a group of musicians and storytellers, performing at Glastonbury and End of the Road Festivals and also with the award winning “Liars League” and “Heads and Tales” live fiction collectives. In 2008 he won the The Missouri Review Audio Fiction Award. He is an accomplished songwriter who has released six albums and toured nationally. His album “Soft Soft Soft the Sparrow Sings”, composed on his bike trip to India, received widespread airplay, including BBC 6 Music and Jack Thurston’s “The Bike Show.”
Boneshaker Is a perfect-bound magazine that gathers personal stories, beautiful photographs and carefully commissioned illustrations from around the world exploring the wonderful things that happen when people and bikes come together. No training tips, race diets or lycra. It’s not how much your bike weighs that matters, but where it takes you. It’s not how fast you got there, but what you saw along the way.
How long will it take for my book to get dispatched?
For books in stock we usually dispatch orders within a few working days. You will receive a dispatch email when your order is on the way.
Where can I get my book delivered to?
We have temporarily stopped taking orders for published books going to EU destinations due to BREXIT restrictions, but we deliver to most other countries worldwide. Enter your delivery address during checkout and we'll display the shipping cost when we know where to send your book. If your country does not appear on the list we are not currently taking orders to that destination.
If I buy an ebook, when will I receive this?
Ebook files are sent via email after checkout, or you can download them from your Unbound account.
Where can I buy a copy if there's none available through the Unbound website?
The book should be available to order from most bookshops, or you can support your local bookshop online by ordering from bookshop.org.
Still have a question? Visit our Help Centre to find out more.
21st May 2021Is cycling floating on air for kids who never got a hovercraft?
When I was a kid, maybe 8,9,10, I was fascinated by those ads in the back of American comics, eg Caspar the Ghost, Batman, Superman, etc that promised you x-ray specs, or bodybuilding devices that made you Mr Universe in one week, but, most excitingly, ones that said you could build your own hovercraft. I never did send off for a hovercraft but now hovering around middle age I have written a pop punk…
27th November 2018The Finish Line
Apologies for the quietness. I've been in my bike cave putting the last touches to Mind is the Ride which is coming out May 2019.
The illustrator is the wonderful Dawn Painter, She has handdrawn thirty bike parts with a human line and real delicacy and we've used some of those drawings for the front jacket:
The last chance to pledge for an advance copy and get your name…
19th December 2016One Hundred Percent Funded!
with the help of a generous pledge from a "secret admirer" we've been able to take "Mind is the Ride" to its crowdfunding target just before Christmas. I must offer deepest thanks to that "secret admirer" and to every single one of you.
It's been a long and interesting journey, that in many ways echoes the original ride from Bristol to India; the generosity of friends and strangers…
24th October 2016Rock n Roll Tour (Part 3)
This autumn I have been to the "Rapha cc" cycling cafe in Manchester, "Pedalling Ideas," a hive of cycling conversation in Leeds and "Magazine Brighton," an ace indie magazine shop in, you guessed it, Brighton.
Magazine Brighton - photo by Stuart Langridge
As a result of all this touring, and with your support, "Mind is the Ride" is nearly seventy per cent funded. The blog below is a journal…
30th July 2016Rock n' Roll Tour (Part 2)
Having left the story of my Rock n Roll cycling and philosophy tour (do those words really all fit together?) at the Manchester Spin Festival we ride on to the next stage; the bucolic setting of inner Wales and the lost in time, but somehow right on the button, market town of Lllanidoes.
In fact this really was verging on Rock n Roll, given that I was performing an actual music gig in The Old…
11th June 2016Rock n' Roll Tour (Part 1)
I’ve been storming around the country by bicycle and train spreading the word about “Mind is the Ride.”
First stop was planet “Look Mum No Hands,” the stylish and uber friendly bike café in central London run by Alex, events organiser supremo, nervous speaker mentor and all round excellent lady. Alex and I and the bike mechanic lumbered across the café with a HEAVY duty bike stand, plonked it up…
11th June 2016Fifty per cent funded!
Half way there my fellow riders through the imagination. Thanks so much to everyone who has pledged. I’ve been talking around the country to so many different people about Mind is the Ride and the momentum is really beginning to roll towards that one hundred per cent finishing line.
(Look out for a Shed blog entry any time soon documenting my rock n roll speaking tour by bicycle. I meet Olympic…
6th April 2016Let Sleeping Dogs Lie
This is the second in a series of articles written for Boneshaker magazine.
Cyclists. Watch your ankles. Dogs. Watch out for those bike pumps.
"Let sleeping dogs lie. Well, I would do, if they didn’t want to bite my bleedin’ ankles off. In doggie dreams there is only one thing higher on the list of treats than rabbits, and that’s bikes, or, to be more target focused, ankles. …
1st April 2016"Mind is the Ride" Goes On Tour
I'll be talking cycling and philosophy at all these events around the UK.
Tell your friends! And if you've got any ideas for other places I can speak / spread the word do let me know.
(For those of my supporters overseas I do hope to be able to come and visit you all one day...hopefully by bike...:))
I've written for seventeen issues of Boneshaker cycling magazine and I'm going to regularly start posting articles from the magazine in the shed. This short piece is one of the first, written longhand on a piece of notepaper as I leant against the wall of a cramped, "Formula 1", motel in St Dizier in North Eastern France. The room was just big enough for two touring bikes and all our panniers (we…
14th February 2016Pedal Pedal Pedal
“Mind is the Ride” continues to climb towards its funding target thanks to all your support.
Now well past the thirty per cent signpost I can feel my legs getting stronger, my upper body more supple, my eyes fixed on the next milestone.
It’s been an adventure getting this far; all the new people I’ve met in person and online who can see the potential in the book; all the opportunities that…
18th December 2015Fan mail
You probably shouldn't blow your own trumpet. But sometimes you do need to ring your own bike bell. At least to let someone know that you're charging through a pedestrianised area with a copy of the latest Boneshaker cycling magazine (hot off the press issue 17)
I mainly use my bell when I'm rolling down an unbelievably steep hill with the wind busting the freckles off my nose. Not to tell anyone…
While we are waiting for 467 more pledges to appear, do you realise it costs 20 pounds just to ship your book to Canada? Who sets these rates? I have shared this promotion on Facebook and Twitter and can't wait to actually have it published. Bike-positive books are hard to come by and I enjoy a good dialogue about the mechanics of bicycles and the pleasure and freedom of riding one. But you might want to reconsider those shipping charges. Thanks and good luck.
Hi Curtis, Thanks for getting in touch and for your useful feedback. We send the books via a tracked and signed for service to ensure safe and traceable delivery, and we do not make a profit on the delivery costs. We are currently looking in to developing the site so that supporters can choose their own shipping option, (courier or standard airmail) but this function won't be live for a while yet. I hope this helps to explain our prices a little. Thanks for supporting Jet and Unbound! Unbound Support
Hello Jet Get writing super fast - I'm sharing the link everywhere .... Can't wait to read your adventure Lawrence
Hello Lawrence, thanks so much for pledging and sharing the link. I'm writing as fast as I can, with the unstoppable stamina of the touring cyclist. This book is an adventure of the imagination and it's so good to know readers are out there supporting me through the high roads and by roads to the finish-line. Jet
Supported and shared. Quick question, what's the shed?
Thanks Guy! Really appreciated. Basically the Shed is the blog site for the project. Everytime I update the Shed you'll get an email letting you know or just click on the Shed icon on the "Mind is the Ride" page and it will take you there. The last entry is a diary of my recent speaking tour on cycling and philosophy. Jet
hello Jet, Well done for getting to fully funded. Please could i ask when will your book be arriving on our doorstep? maria
Hi Maria, Thanks so much for getting in touch and your congratulations. I’m pleased the book is now heading towards publication and I’m in the process of completing the manuscript and organising the illustrator for the project as we speak. I can’t be exact with timescales beyond saying later this year. But as soon as I can be more clear about this I’ll let everyone know. Thanks for your patience. I can promise you it will be worth the wait. Jet
Hi Jet I hope you are well , any news on the arrival of your book ? Best wishes Lawrence
Hi Lawrence, thanks for getting in touch. It's been a quite journey and I appreciate your patience. The book is now coming out Spring 2019 and we're putting the finishing touches to the design before it goes into production. I'm really proud of the project and think it will be unlike any other cycling book. Do let me know if you have any more questions. Best, Jet