Its Not About the Tapas

After working for four years at a London book publisher, Polly Evans moved to Hong Kong where she spent many happy hours as a senior editor on the citys biggest entertainment weekly. But fighting deadlines from a twizzly office chair and free use of the coffee machine seemed just too easy. So Polly exchanged the shiny red cabs of Hong Kong for a more demanding form of transport – a bicycle – and set off on a voyage of discovery around Spain. From the thigh-burning ascents of the Pyrenees to the relentless olive groves of Andalusia, Polly found more adventures than she had bargained for. She survived a nail-biting encounter with a sprightly pig, escaped over-zealous suitors, had her morality questioned by the locals, encountered some dubious aficionados on the road and indulged her love of regional cooking. While she pedalled, Polly pondered some of the more lurid details of Spanish history – the king who collected pickled heads, the queen who toured the country with her husbands mouldering corpse, and the unfortunate duchess who lost her feet. And wherever she cycled, she ate and ate – and yet she still shrank out of her trousers. ITS NOT ABOUT THE TAPAS is funny, irreverent and inspiring. It will establish Polly Evans as one of the most exciting new voices in female travel writing and has been selected for the longlist of the WHSmith 2004 Peoples Choice Award for Travel Writing.


Longlisted for WHSmith 2004 Peoples Choice Travel Writing Award

‘A hilarious account of her epic adventure around bike-mad Spain’ Daily Express (Book of the Week)

‘This true triumphant tale of her travels will appeal to anyone who’s eager for adventure’ OK! Magazine
‘Combining history, travelogue, and much sampling of regional cuisine, her adventures are related with an infectious gusto and humour’ Choice
‘A highly likable debut…as unpretentious as a tapas bar, and as brimming with savory morsels’ Kirkus Reviews
‘Bicycle enthusiasts, rejoice!…Evans spices the account of her agony with amusing tidbits from Spanish history, culture, and cuisine’ Library Journal
‘Each encounter is portrayed with the humour of someone who always sees the funny side of things…[Evans] uses her down-to-earth attitude and amusing observations to create a highly entertaining travel book infused with her own very individual personality’ Press Association
‘This lively account of Evans’ attempt to cycle through the Pyrenees and from Andalucía to Madrid makes a refreshing change from the usual travelogue…A hugely enjoyable read’ Spanish Magazine
‘This is an irreverent and enthusiastic account of how you can travel a thousand miles, eating all the way, and still drop trouser sizes,’ Waterstones Books Quarterly
‘The author has a self-deprecating humour and a relaxed writing style. But beware: this is the type of escapist reading that might just have you putting panniers on your bike and booking a flight’ London Cyclist

‘A dangerous read for anyone bored in the office – confirmation that lifes a whole lot more exciting out there on the road.’ Rebecca Stephens, MBE

‘Comic female travel writing par excellence; a bike adventure around Spain, deliciously portrayed with snippets of weird history and sumptuous food.’  The Bookseller

A hilarious tale of Polly cycling across seemingly inaccessible parts of Spain on her gleaming Italian bicycle.’  The Book of Happiness by Heather Summers & Anne Watson

‘A fast-paced but reflective memoir about Evan’s six-week bike pilgrimage across Spain, complete with sherry binges, mongrel-dodging and watching Lois y Clark in dumpy motels.’ Great Reads, People magazine

‘Evans peddled 1,000 miles through Spain, taking a six-week tour of the country’s golden coasts, vineyards and olive groves. Sampling everything from prawns to paella, Evans discovers one of the best payoffs of travelling by bike: She can eat more without gaining a pound.’ Shape magazine

Evans’ derisive wit, directed at herself as often as at the Spaniards, is in the best British tradition of xenophobic sarcasm, parliamentary put-downs and Monty Python moments…She also effortlessly inserts mini-lessons on Spanish history and culture that could stand on their own…I’d never letEvans plan a trip for me, but I found myself more than willing to go along for the ride.’  San Francisco Chronicle

“This book is great…an action-packed story of determination, gall, and joie de vivre. The plot twists and turns like the squirreliest of singletrack, in an on-going tapestry of history and scenic beauty crafted by an author of supreme talent.” Mountain Biking Magazine US