Cyclist and Cat: Now an Audiobook

Adventure Travel

Warning: cuteness overload

When Dean Nicholson set out in 2018 to bikepack through Europe, he had no idea he’d end up running a business from his adventure. But after adopting a stray cat early in Bosnia, the 28-year-old Scotsman and his two-year-old feline companion have become so popular that they have just come out with a book called Nala’s World. It even has an audio version on Audible. Since cats drive tens of millions of internet clicks a day, you could say that sharing images of a photogenic feline perched on your shoulders, breeze in her whiskers, is a sure way to become a sensation.

Originally, Nicholson set out with a friend (known only as Ricky) on what was to have been a lads’ bike tour through Europe. Nicholson bought a 13kg Trek bike, possibly the least fancy global expedition transport available by retail. They began their tour in Amsterdam with a couple of other mates who had left 65 days earlier. Early photos featured a lot of night life.

Nicholson’s bike wouldn’t be everyone’s first choice for a European odyssey, but Nala has been smitten with it.

Nicholson and Ricky packed 6.7kg of essentials, including a tent, sleeping pad and panniers. A GoPro was probably the best investment of the adventure, although Nicholson wasn’t aware of it at the time.

Their loose itinerary outlined 14 countries. Then fatefully, in Bosnia, a meek meow halted Nicholson in his rubbery tracks. He and Nala have been inseparable ever since.

Nala has now visited 12 countries with Nicholson, including France, Holland, Italy, Montenegro and Germany. Nala seems to have brought stability to Nicholson over the months, with a noticeable shift from “lads gone wild” to loving documentarian of Nala’s adventures. Ricky and the other lads are long gone.

As Nicholson and Nala have grown in popularity, their time on two wheels has slowed. Early images showed Nicholson in his tent in remote countrysides after long slogs. Now, documenting distance or scenery has been replaced with daily images of spring flowers, Nala sleeping somewhere or portraits of strangers they meet along the way, no doubt keen to pat the most celebrated feline of 2020. We guess that Nala’s not too keen on camping.

If Nala’s not on Nicholson’s shoulder while he pedals, she’s in front of the handle bars in a windowed basket through which to see the world whiz by. Their bond has pulled the heartstrings of almost a million Instagram followers, allowing them to grow their merchandise offering and redesign their website with community engagement as the core focus.

Former images of rough campsites have been replaced by Nicholson and Nala in comfortable accommodations.

About four months ago, Nicholson ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament. Since then, the pair have traveled even more leisurely. Crossing from Germany into Austria four weeks ago, Nicholson and Nala traversed the byways by both bike and car. They are now on the outskirts of Vienna, promoting their new audiobook. A classic Scots accent narrates the encounters Nicholson and Nala have had on the road.

The pair recently celebrated Nala’s second birthday with a vacation in the Austrian Alps. A healthy looking Nala gazed lovingly at her human companion, who captured the moment for their adoring fans, as she sat beside her biscuit bowl with a “2”-shaped birthday candle within it.

Nicholson has already surpassed his initial 14-country plan, Nala shows no signs of slowing down and the sturdy Trek continues to escort the pair onward.

It’s a classic tale of smart cat and smarter cyclist whose audience now affords them a gentle ride through Europe. Not even a global crisis can stop this dazzling duo from exploring the world.

About the Author

Chasing Dreams Travel

Alex Myall

A travel journalist born of her own mini adventures into far flung destinations. What began as a passion for guiding others to explore, evolved into journaling, blogging and booking. Find out more at https://chasingdreamstravel.co.nz/

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alinsdau
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That’s a great story, thank you for sharing. I’ve seen trail hiking cats but this Euro-traveler cat is possibly better.