Coffee First, Then the World

One Woman’s Record-Breaking Pedal Around the Planet

The Story of the Book

My Writing Retreat

Writing a book had never sat high on my To-Do list before cycling round the world.

But with an encouraging big sister and an abundance of memories I was fighting to keep hold of, I decided maybe it was time to put pen to paper. 

The trouble was that writing a book and riding a bike are two very different skill sets. 

My writing experience up to that point was nothing more than some blog and Instagram posts – even then I’d often overthink, mis-spell and use emojis to fill in the connecting bits. So, it was sure to be a steep learning curve. 

I was introduced to Literary agent James Spackman, who is a cycling enthusiast so we spoke the same language. He guided me through the process of putting a pitch together, while the dog and I retreated to a wooden cabin in the remote Highlands to try and work it all out.

James then presented the concept to Charlotte Croft at Bloomsbury Publishing, who to my absolute delight loved it. 

Then all I had to do was produce the goods!

Preparing the Framework

There were hours upon hours of Audio diaries from my trip that my Mum and her husband Donald set about transcribing – a laborious job that will probably give my mum nightmares for ever more! This provided an amazing framework to get me started. 

My hope for the book was to share a far more raw version of the story than had so far been portrayed using just the highlights in the film, podcasts and more than 100 talks about the well-rehearsed story. Writing it down I wasn’t able to brush or laugh things off (particularly with the ban of using emojis!). 

In the end I found the process somewhat therapeutic. I combined the memories  with reflection, looked up the facts and replayed my words from the time to create a fuller picture of what I experienced. It was such a personal story and one that held a lot of emotion, so I struggled to find a writing pattern that worked for more than a couple of weeks at a time. 

I used a variety of different methods to trick my brain into sitting still and being productive on a screen. Each worked up for awhile, until I got used to the method and the urge to change tack set in.

I’d adapt the time of day I wrote or allotted for exercise – what percentage of time I’d sit down or move around. I went from going with the flow to heavily planning a schedule. Then I deleted all my apps, hid my phone away, later re-installing them all and taking it on myself to be the number one meme lord of my friendship group.

I de-caffeinated myself for a couple of weeks at a time, then allowed myself to only have coffee away from the cabin – which meant I’d go for a ride. The cabin was so remote it would take me two hours to find a brew worthy of the ride, then two hours back again.

I trained hard on the bike – took up roller skating, yoga, crossfit and running. 

I fasted, juiced, went paleo and ate a lot of take aways.  

I drank copious amounts of prosecco, over caffeinated, under-moved. 

I missed every single deadline that was set for me and carried onscreen woes around in my backpack everywhere I went for nearly 2 years! 

But like everything we do in life doing it OUR way is important, so here we are, the book is written, copy edits done and going to print – FOR GOD’S SAKE PLEASE BUY HERE.

My Book

You should write a book they all said! It will be fun they all said…

Of course, writing a book, and riding a bike, are two very different skill sets. But ever the optimist I thought: “you’re
right”, and gave it a go.

It took me four times longer to write about the world than to ride it, but in Spring 2023 I will be a published author as Coffee First, Then the World: One woman’s record-breaking pedal around the Planet, hits the bookshelves…

and no one is more surprised than me!

By the time Jenny crosses the finish line at the Brandenburg Gate she is a changed person, thanks to one humble bike, and the entire world.

Book Description

Coffee First will be HOT OFF THE PRESS this coming spring…
Pre-Order NOW 

In 2018, over the course of 18,000 miles, Scottish cyclist Jenny Graham smashed the round-the-world cycling record by nearly three weeks, finishing in 124 days and 11 hours. But her real achievement was a new relationship with herself and with the world. Alone and unsupported, Jenny left family and friends behind in Scotland to complete her mission: a solo lap of the planet by bike. 

Her inspiring story swerves from terrifying near collisions on the Russian roads and weather extremes in the southern hemisphere to the beauty of the Mongolian landscape and exhilarating wildlife encounters in North America. 

As she battles the physical and mental challenge to race against the clock, Jenny gradually opens up to the joy of the adventure itself and all its daily discoveries, and gives in to her impulse to connect with people. 

With infectious wit and honesty, Jenny recounts her friendships with strangers and the myriad different cultures she comes across that gave her a new perspective on the world. 

By the time Jenny crosses the finish line at the Brandenburg Gate she is a changed person, thanks to one humble bike, and the entire world. Jenny broke the record, but it was what she discovered about herself and the world around her that truly changed her.


One of the best things about writing the book is that I get to go on tour with it!  From Mid-April to Mid-May I’ll be cycling between 20 venues from the New Forest in the far south to my home in Inverness, giving talks about the round-the-world trip and writing books! 

In advance of publication the book has been read by some of my peers in the world of outdoor pursuits, and here’s some of the LOVELY things they’ve said…

Lorraine Kelly
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‘An amazing adventure... I was left in total awe'
Mark Beaumont
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‘Brilliant. brimming with wonderful observations and reflections, this takes pride of place on the adventure bookshelf.’
Alastair Humphreysauthor and adventurer
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‘Jenny Graham tackles the world and shares her experiences of the brutal, elite world of endurance cycling with humour, honesty and humility.’
Tim Mooretravel writer
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‘A compelling account of a truly remarkable achievement.’
Karen Darke MBEParalympic cyclist and author
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‘A rollercoaster ride... With a natural, chatty and engaging style that effuses who Jenny is, this is down-to-earth storytelling of her extraordinary ride ... a reminder of what a positive mindset, daily intentions, the kindness of strangers and the love of friends enables even when very far away.’
Kate Rawlesauthor of The Carbon Cycle
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‘Simply astonishing. An astounding feat of physical and mental endurance, told with humour, humility and compassion. A gripping story. I couldn't put it down.’
Ned Boultingcycling broadcaster and author
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‘An astonishing achievement, recounted with humility and style.’
Vassos Alexandersports presenter, endurance runner and author
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‘Inspiring, funny and gripping, this is one of the best adventure books I've ever read.’
Anna McNuff author and adventurer
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‘I adored this book... I have no doubt it'll inspire so many to keep on pedalling - right through their fears and out the other side. Details of the mind-bending logistics of Jenny's self-supported journey around the planet are balanced beautifully with heart-warming tales of the kindness of strangers, descriptions of wild landscapes and (most importantly) where in the world to find the best cinnamon roll ... Bravo, Jenny!’
Isla Shortathlete
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'A glorious account of Jenny's adventure around the globe. Full of charm. I found myself rooting for her throughout her varying challenges in new cultures, with her slowly deteriorating body and in the internal resistance she so often triumphed over. A raw and incredibly relatable book which inspired me.'