A Spoke In The Wheel tells the story of Ben, a disgraced cyclist who is trying to rebuild his life far away from anyone who could possibly know who he is or what he’s done. Or so he thinks.
The first coffee shop he stumbles upon he meets Vicki and Polly, two cycling mad women who know exactly who he is. Vicki is kind while Polly is prickly and filled with disappointment. Circumstances throw them together and they end up sharing a house.
The three of them form an unlikely bond due to, I think, the stereotypes they’re fighting against in society. Ben is an ex-cyclist due to his being caught using of performance enhancing drugs. Polly is a wheelchair user, struck down by flu in her third year of university and never fully recovering. Vicki is presumably bisexual and struggles with being a top performing female in her cycling club.
I was really interested in seeing Ben’s thought process when it came to doping. He put forward the mentality that if he didn’t use performance enhancing drugs he’d lose his spot on the team because he wasn’t good enough. People always say it’s the taking part that counts but I don’t necessarily think that’s strictly true.
I enjoyed witnessing the characters develop as time passed, particularly Ben and Polly. While I was disappointed that Ben didn’t truly want to share his side of why he used performance enhancing drugs but it really showed how he’d grown. He stopped being someone who wanted approval and acceptance and became someone who just wanted to move on with his life and be himself, whoever he may find that is.
Cycling isn’t a subject I’m particularly interested in but I really found this story fascinating and was intrigued as soon as I read the blurb! Kathleen Jowitt does a fantastic job and portraying each character and showing their development!