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Janapar: Love, on a Bike [Paperback]

Tom Allen
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Janapar Media; 1st edition (29 Jan 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0957495609
  • ISBN-13: 978-0957495609
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.8 x 3.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 41,300 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

At the age of 23, Tom Allen quit a perfectly good career in IT in favour of a life of penniless, wandering itinerancy. He set off with a three-wheeled bicycle, a tent and a video camera, leaving his Midlands home with a madcap idea to cycle round the globe. Fate, however, had other ideas, and eight months into his ride, alone in mountains during a bitter Caucasian winter, he met Tenny -- the girl who would change the course of his journey and then his life.

After four saddle-sore years spent cycling across three continents, Tom sat down to write the book that would tell this personal tale of adventure and romance in full. 'Janapar' was published in early 2013, alongside a feature-length documentary created from Tom's raw footage by BBC producer-director James Newton.

Tom continues to write and travel as a full-time occupation, and runs a popular adventure cycling blog at tomsbiketrip.com. He still has no fixed abode.

Product Description

Sometimes the hardest part of a journey is knowing when it's over.
When twenty-three-year-old Tom Allen and his friends set off from their English village to cycle around the world, they were expecting physical hardship, extreme conditions and a serious case of culture shock. But the hours spent poring over maps could never have prepared them for the experience of life on the road: the petty squabbles, the extreme hospitality, the unexpected joys and dangers.
And then Tom meets Tenny, a feisty Iranian-Armenian girl with dreams of her own, and hits a crossroad. Should he give up his grand plan for the girl he loves, or cycle off and risk missing out on the greatest adventure of them all?

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
Tom set off on an adventure with two mates from the Midlands and the possibly naive intention to mountain bike around the World rather than get a 'proper job'. What happened over the next 3 or 4 years was as much about self discovery as miles covered and places visited, and was far from what he had intended/envisioned.

I've followed Tom Allen's blog for the past year or two as he tried to turn 3 or 4 years of video footage and notes taken into a full length film and book. Despite the challenges of doing this independantly, he has managed to produce something wonderful. I love the film and still find it inspiring and funny after having seen it 3 or 4 times. But the book gives so much more. Even in the film, which is by definition limited to the footage that was taken, Tom manages to put across a very honest and personal account of his motivations. Of the joys and challenges of such a trip. Of loneliness and companionship. Of the humbling friendship of complete strangers. Of the difficulties in finding out that perhaps the plan you've been obsessing over isn't the only plan.

But in the book he is able to communicate this to a much greater degree. I've read books about cycle trips that are very much of the 'On day 97 we cycled from A to B covering 80 miles. I felt tired.' ilk. Janapar is not that book. It's about an adventure. It's about personal motivation and challenge. It's about seeking something more meaningful than the daily 9-5 that most people get sucked into. And it's about finding things you didn't expect in the places you least expected them.

Tom writes eloquently, honestly and with great self-awareness (after the event at least!). Janapar is a joy to read and will make you want to quit your job, pack a bag and cycle off on a voyage of discovery. That's what I'm going to do. Thanks Tom (I think!).
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By Harry
Format:Paperback
I should state for reasons of candour that I am a friend of the writer, but should also say that in times past we have been very blunt with each other and wholeheartedly disagree on a wide variety of subjects. I do, therefore, feel that I can review this book with a certain degree of objectivity.
I finished it in less than a week, sometimes cursing slightly under my breath at Tom's habit of conjuring awkwardness from thin air. He sometimes comes across like a magician who keeps shoving the rabbit back in the hat because it's the wrong colour - everything goes well but it's not the sort of well he wanted. This dictatorial attitude to fortune, however, is whittled away, sliver by sliver, by circumstances, and the reader realizes that, just like the writer, what he thought he was getting himself into is nothing like what he will find himself coming out of.
That is the beauty of this book. Tom is nothing if not brutally honest, and never more so than with himself. His prejudices, lack of preparation and outbursts are all candidly dealt with, laying bare the vulnerable side of someone I thought I knew rather well, and this only makes the love-story narrative of the book that much more engaging. His ignorance of many of the places he visits might strike some as nave, or even arrogant - particularly those who count themselves well-travelled, and say that they have "done" somewhere, who memorise long factoids plucked from a book, who quote what someone else said about the place and then agree with or destroy that opinion based on their own meagre experience - but Tom's unflinching lack of compromise with regard to his way of doing things is admirable, and wonderfully moving when you realize just how much the journey means to him, and how much it might mean to give it up.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not any old cycling story.... 11 Mar 2013
By Kirstin
Format:Paperback
There are millions of self help books... there are hundreds of cycling books... there are gazillions of love stories! There is one Janapar. Tom writes not only with beautiful language, but with a stark and brave honesty that made me feel like I had gone on the journey with him.
Finishing the last sentence in the book - I felt like I wanted to start it again. Filled with humour, life and inspiring observations this is a must read for anyone who wants to live their life.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Johno
Format:Paperback
As both a keen cyclist and someone who has spent many months on the road in lots of the countries Tom covered, this book seemed to speak directly to me.
I found myself nodding along with so many of the situations the author describes so eloquently and it made me pine for the open road once again.

Travel books can have a tendency to fall into the, "and then we went here, and then we went here..." trap but the multiple story-arcs going on during this trip ensures that you're always engaged and wondering what will come next.

The author also came across as refreshingly honest - from the initial highs and 'arrogance of ignorance' from the preparation and early days to the inevitable team squabbles and other low points.

If you're vaguely interested in travel or adventure then check out this very English kind of story but be warned: it'll probably make you want to quit your job and hit the road on two wheels!

Great job Tom!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Readable, thoughtful and self-aware 3 Nov 2013
By Mark
Format:Paperback
I bought the book from the author Tom Allen after the screening at Roll for the Soul in Bristol, partly because it seems like the right thing to do to support self-publishing, self-employed authors like this, a bit like tipping the waiter. I was very pleased at how well written the book was (it's his first book, though he's blogged a fair bit), and I would definitely recommend this to anyone, not just cycling/adventure fans (though it does come with a risk that it may inspire you to set out on your own adventure!). Very enjoyable, & highly readable (I finished it in a day).

Incidentally the book is also well designed (cover and inside typography) and well edited, much higher standard than the average self-published book. I saw that he ran a successful Kickstarter to raise money to pay for professional services in these areas, and I have to say it really shows (and I hope this isn't just special pleading as an ex-boook publisher!).
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Janapar
Makes you want to start your own adventure really great book very inspiring its not just about the bike ride its a lot more than that.
Published 1 month ago by JOE
3.0 out of 5 stars Why?
Tom's journey through Europe, the Middle East and part of Africa demonstrates great tenacity and single-mindedness. But what exactly was he trying to prove? Read more
Published 1 month ago by Scribbler
5.0 out of 5 stars Hard core cycling adventure
Great book really enjoyed it just found out there is now a film so will be watching that next .
Published 2 months ago by MARK BOWEN
4.0 out of 5 stars Janapar
I really enjoyed this book, it does seem to jump around a bit and it does leave me with some unanswered questions, I'm sure if I watched the film it would fill in the gaps. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational
Enjoyed this book very much. Tom is constantly asking himself some very poignant questions throughout this book so I wouldn't class it as your average travel journey but something... Read more
Published 3 months ago by David
5.0 out of 5 stars A cycling book with depth
For a first book, this is excellent writing. It is more than a journey: a reflection of life and its purpose. And a love story, of course. Read more
Published 6 months ago by H. Moat
5.0 out of 5 stars An inspiring story of life, love, and soul-searching
I was introduced to Janapar - and in turn Tom - through an acquaintance in December of 2012. The film was relatively new to the masses, and I was happy to be a (somewhat) early... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Ian
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and insightful book
Read this after having seen the movie by the same name. Obviously, that was a bit of a plot spoiler. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Simon
5.0 out of 5 stars A journey around inner thoughts.
Strangely captivating. Not so much of how to physically manage long distance cycling, more as how one man psychologicaly managed to cope and adapt to life altering choices and... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Chris D
5.0 out of 5 stars Allowed me to vicariously live a dream
I was surprised that Tom Allen was such a wonderful author. Besides being a great story, he is a great writer. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Chad A. Kurtzman
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