For a time there were four bikes in Matt Seaton's life, a training bike, a track bike, a mountain bike and a racing bike. His evenings were spent "doing the miles" on the roads between South London and the North Downs. Weekends were taken up with Club meetings, road races and time trials - rides that took him to cold village halls at dawn and out onto the empty bypasses of Southern England. Cycling had become a passion that bordered on possession. When he was in the saddle, real life remained at a comfortable distance. But this flight from responsibility could not last. Life came flooding in with his marriage to Ruth Picardie, the birth of their twins and Ruth's brutal illness. Today the bikes that remain are gathering dust on top of the road grime from their last rides, museum pieces of a life distantly remembered. "The Escape Artist" is at once a celebration of amateur sport, a social history of the bicycle, an honest account of adult responsibilities and a quiet hymn to the beauty of cycling for its own ends.
Matt Seaton was born in Brighton in 1965. He has written for, amongst others, the Observer, Telegraph, Vogue, Independent on Sunday, Daily Mail, and the New York Times Book Review. He is a contributing editor at Esquire and the Parents editor at the Guardian. He co-edited and contributed to the book Before I Say Goodbye (Penguin, 1998), by his late wife, the journalist Ruth Picardie. He is remarried, to American writer Anna Shapiro, and lives in Kennington, south London, with her and his two children.