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'Beyond the Bike' and behind the story...

Guest blogger, Claire Le Hur, author of The Adventures of Thandie the Tandem, explains her publishing journey and the inspiration behind the book.

The Adventures of Thandie the Tandem was published by the Self Publishing Partnership in June 2018. A second book in the series will be published in spring 2019, of course, also with SPP. We really enjoyed working with Douglas and the team and we were impressed by the speed at which they could publish a really lovely book.


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This illustrated book for children aged 5- 9 is the latest venture from Beyond the Bike which was set up by my husband, Stuart in 2011. Beyond the Bike is a project aimed at raising money and awareness for education in the developing world. Stuart has ridden Thandie the Tandem bicycle through Europe, Africa and Asia. His first trip was solo and took them from South Africa back to London. I joined him for his second trip cycling again in Africa – from Kampala to Cape Town and then from Singapore to Shanghai. Stuart and Thandie have cycled through more than 30 countries, covering more than 20,000 miles together. They always leave the back seat free to pick up local people and have friends join them. They have given lifts to more than 300 people, many of whom are included in our books. On our trip I rode a single bamboo bike, made by a social enterprise in Kampala. Since 2011, we have raised nearly £200,000 for various charities, mostly concerned with education and conservation. 


In the book Stuart has become a boy named Timmy.


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When Timmy receives a letter from his Uncle Max asking him to come to Africa to help him protect the elephants from poachers, he jumps at the chance to leave London and have an adventure. Max sends Thandie the Tandem to help Timmy reach him in Kenya. But will a boy and a tandem bicycle find their way safely through the different countries, even through the desert? And will they be able to save the elephants from the evil Mr Kubwa?

Timmy and Thandie’s adventures are very much based on our real experiences. Thandie (pronounced Tandy), is short for Thandiwe meaning ‘Beloved’ in several African languages. Not every part of the story is true but we will leave it up to the readers’ imagination to decide what really did happen.

We are both teachers and have joined forces with illustrator Tim, another teacher and tandem cyclist. The book fits into the KS 1 & 2 currricula. We have included as many of the Year 3 and 4 spellings as possible as well as the language targets. Timmy and Thandie’s travels should provoke ideas for discussion on diversity fitting in with British Values such as ‘mutual respect and tolerance for different faiths and religions’. Teaching resources (written by primary school teachers) based on the book are also available on our website.


Half of any profits from this book are going to Space for Giants (a conservation charity based in Kenya) and Beyond Ourselves (an Educational Charity based in Zambia supported by Beyond the Bike since 2011). For the second book we are teaming up with another conservation charity – Game Rangers International and we will continue to donate half of our profits to charities close our hearts.


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Here are just a few comments from our readers:

‘A delightful tale of adventure, Africa and saving the elephants, all by bicycle - and raising money for excellent causes. Kids of all ages are going to love it.’
Robert Penn, bestselling author of 'It's All about the Bike'. 

‘I really enjoyed it. I especially enjoyed the bit with the poachers because it is so exciting.’
Alice, aged 9. 

‘I have had so much positive feedback from parents and children. We are currently reading it in class because the children wanted to – they are absolutely loving it!’
Linsay, Year 2 teacher and Literacy Coordinator. 

Just to let you know that we finished your book last night- we thought it was fab. It instigated a very interesting conversation with my five year old son about poaching, ivory and Olly questioning ‘why anyone would want to hurt elephants?’. Thought it was brilliantly paced, with dramatic events populating each chapter- Olly even took it into school to talk about it with his class. Look forward to reading more adventures of Thandie the tandem!’
Alex (father of Olly, aged 5).

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For even more information, head to the Beyond the Bike website. 

The Adventures of Thandie the Tandem is also available on Amazon now.

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