Simon Hood grew up in a village near York with a bus service so infrequent that he soon learnt to ride a bike. In his early teens, trips to the city centre were blighted forever by his first visit to Bootham Crescent. Subsequent matches failed to deter him: York City grew into an affliction he is yet to shake off.
Simon studied in Scotland and France, graduating with a 2:1 Joint Honours in malt whiskey and red wine. Since then, he has lived in a variety of cities across several countries, always with a bicycle and access to York’s results close to hand.
In August 2009, Simon set out to pedal to every one of York’s matches over the course of the season. Fifty matches and 10,000 miles later, he sat gingerly down to write a book.
Simon still gets to a few York City matches each season, but not as many as he’d like; from time to time he still gets to pedal a few miles, but not as many as he’d like.
Simon currently lives in Oxford with his family. His panniers have been replaced by a baby seat.
Sick of drifting aimlessly through his thirties, Simon Hood gives up his job and flat to embark on a unique adventure. A lifelong York City supporter, he sets out to cycle to their every match over the course of a season.
York are languishing in the fifth tier of English soccer; home to footballing outposts as obscure as Ebbsfleet, Histon and Nailsworth. What follows is a ten-month, fifty-match, 10,000-mile pilgrimage taking Simon from Tyneside to the Sussex coast, from Cumbria to Kent. Along the way he rides through floods and snow with friends old and new, meets a Knight of the Realm, breaks a couple of bikes and battles with The Bonk.
Would he make it to each match in time for kick-off? Would he resist the temptations of public transport? Would the team rise to the challenge and reward his efforts with an unlikely shot at glory?