In the Trail the Young Lawrence of Arabia

As a youth and student, TE Lawrence, later Lawrence of Arabia, cycled for thousands of miles around southern England, Wales and then France. He loved the independence of exploring by bicycle and he loved to push himself physically. The physical resilience, self-reliance and sense of adventure that he displayed as a boy and a student presaged the man he was later to became. See more about the Young Lawrence.

This project - In the Trail of the Young Lawrence of Arabia - is a contemporary piece of travel writing that takes inspiration from the young Lawrence’s cycle journeys. It is written by travel writer and endurance sportsman James Henderson. In it James Henderson uses TE Lawrence’s letters home from 1906-8 as a lens to recreate the journeys and to view again the places he visited.

James Henderson has recreated TE Lawrence’s trip to visit the castles of Wales. Next he will follow in the trail of Lawrence’s trips through France. There are several differences between the trips… not least the standard of the bicycles and the roads… See more about the differences, including about Food & Drink

the 2019 Cycle Journeys

James Henderson has cycled around Wales (late April and early May 2019 and, unfeasibly, he was rained on only once in eight days). This trip was undertaken by TE Lawrence in the Easter holidays of 1907.

The second journey is around Normandy and Brittany, where in 1906 and 1907, TE Lawrence cycled, alone, sometimes with a friend and for a short time with his father, around Normandy and Brittany, with a quick trip down to the Loire.

The third journey, undertaken during the summer of 1908, in the vacation between the first and second year of his studies at university, was an extraordinary 4000 kilometres long, covering much of France.

A Life of Adventure

This site, A Life of, is all about… well, adventure, something that was written into TE Lawrence’s very make-up. He travelled and explored from an early age. Read about some other adventurers from a more modern age.

Read about ultra-cyclist Sean Conway’s record-breaking crossing of Europe. See more…

See BBC TV presenter Sophie Raworth’s tips about running in the Marathon des Sables. Read more…

Read about Godzone, the longest and arguably the toughest adventure race. See more…

Training Journal

And you thought your training was hard... Read the Fat-knacker's Repose, the story of the calamities and mis-adventures of James Henderson's training regime in A Life of Adventure's Training Journal...  His recent entry is My Crampons for  a Pillow...

Some more adventures to consider...

About A Life of Adventure

A Life of Adventure is about participatory sport and adventure – races, rides, expeditions, events, training for them, preparing, participating and competing. We don’t usually do mountaineering or professional sport, nor machines, either - instead it’s about the things that will inspire YOU to get out there and get active.

It’s about motivation, training and swapping advice, and it’ll give you the view from the ground, the grunt and graft during participation. And let’s not forget our adventurous ancestors, so there are historic stories about adventurers too.

A Life of Adventure was almost named Adventure, Adventure, Adventure… in a play on Location, Location, Location… Basically it’s the antidote to nesting. So if you are happiest when working your body hard in an exotic location and you feel a small ache of dissatisfaction at our daily diet of stories about rather badly behaved professional footballers, if you feel an urge, to get out there and do something intensely physical, then this site will have lots of ideas for you.

To find out more about James Henderson, the main writer at A Life of Adventure, see here...

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A Life of Adventure would love to keep you posted with ideas and tips about well… adventure. Sign up and we’ll send occasional inspiring, pithy and hopefully funny messages about how to find adventure and the people involved. We promise not to bombard you and will never sell your email address on. You can Sign up here...



A Life of Adventure would be delighted to hear from you, with a question or comment, a suggestion for an interviewee, or a subject to cover, or an adventure for Desk till Dawn at the Financial Times’ How to Spend it magazine. Please do so through our Contact Form here.