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Long Road, Hard Lessons: Ireland to Japan by Bicycle - A Gruelling Test of a Father and Son's Relationship Paperback – Illustrated, 18 Jun 2012


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Product details

  • Paperback: 381 pages
  • Publisher: Tinderbox Publishing; 1st edition (18 Jun. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 095720020X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0957200203
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.6 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 437,948 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

If you want to understand the point of adventure and the way it can glue families together, listen to Mark Swain describing his hellish night of suffering half-way through an extraordinary 10,000-mile bike ride to Japan. --Nicholas Roe, The Telegraph (UK) --Nicholas Roe - The Telegraph

The story of a great journey, packed with vivid descriptions of landscapes and the ups and downs of life experienced from the saddle. --Christopher J A Smith (author)

About the Author

Mark Swain was born in Singapore in 1958, where his father was stationed in the RAF. He has lived in many countries, and as a young man found it hard to break the habit of a nomadic life, spending a great deal of his youth hitchhiking around Europe. With a low boredom threshold, Mark has had dozens of jobs and quite a few careers, but only one wife. Studying Graphic Design at Hastings College of Art, he ran off and joined the Army in search of adventure. Later he found himself travelling the world on the QE2 as a silver-service waiter and going to the Falklands war. As a TEFL teacher, 1984 saw him land in Tokyo, where he met his wife Lorna. Between then and now, Mark has run a language business in Barcelona, customised VW Beetles, trained and worked as a systems analyst and completed a degree in 3D design. Eventually he stood still long enough to set up a risk management and business training company. At 54, when not writing, he works as a management consultant and trainer. He sleeps little, yet there are never enough hours in his day. Mark and his wife Lorna have three grown-up children and live in Canterbury, Kent. He plans to repeat this cycle trip with his grandchildren, when they arrive.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By veronique on 23 Sept. 2012
Format: Paperback
A psychological, spiritual and philosophical, inspirational connection between father and son. When I read the book, it almost felt like someone was speaking to me. His experiences are very well explained, I felt like I was living the experience. I would love to recommend this book to my friends, if only it was translated in French. I recommend this book to anyone, especially those wanting to experience the journey themselves.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Colin on 25 Jun. 2012
Format: Paperback
So far, this is a great book! (I'm a third of the way thru'). Never a true word said using the phrase `there's something in it for everyone'; if you love to travel and want to learn a little about the countries they visited and locals they met along the way, if you love cycling (this book would equally be invaluable for those who choose an engine instead of pedals!), if you want to do the same kind of journey (with or even without one of your offspring!) and if you're a dad, (my son is 8 months old and I have much to learn. At times reading this book, it also made me reflect upon my relationship with my own father, which may not be a bad thing), if any of the above strikes a chord with you then give this book a try.
One of the messages I have taken from this book so far, is that if you're a successful businessperson with a loving family; who `says' you can't take some time out for a journey like this, it's what life is all about.
It's fascinating to read what goes thru' the minds of a dad and his son during the long hours on the road and to read about how they deal with all sorts of challenges on route, it's as interesting to read about how they deal with all the `good stuff' that happens too.
It's extremely well written and has a nice helping of humour along the way, I feel like I'm on the journey with them, both physically and mentally, I'm looking forward to the next country!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By LaLucy on 30 Nov. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Mark and Sam have written this book honestly and from the heart. It is a great adventure and kept me interested all the way to the end. I liked their honesty and found it refreshing to read about a man who so obviously wants to improve his relations with his son while also working on improving himself!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Linzi B on 16 Oct. 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As you follow Mark and Sam on their journey from the UK to Japan it is fascinating to read about the high's and low's that they come across along the way. I love the way that you read Marks version of what happened and then Sam's and how different the journey can feel through a different set of eyes. This is an insight into different countries and cultures and the great people that they meet along the way. It is a great read about father and son relationship as well as the trials and tribulations of an amazing cycling experience, I didn't realise that there would be so many cycle repair shops en route LOL. An entertaining and interesting read for all.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By veritas on 11 Sept. 2012
Format: Paperback
I read this book in one sitting, which is unusual for me, and found it quite compelling. Like some other reviewers have commented, it can be enjoyed on several levels. The psychological journey unfolds in parallel with the gruelling physical journey. Descriptions of the many locations were fascinating and memorable and real eye openers - especially when father and son stayed in less than glamorous lodgings! Their stamina and openness is impressive. Recommended reading!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By rgh on 3 Feb. 2013
Format: Paperback
I enjoyed the travel element of this journey hugely but groaned every time I read the dad announce that "Sam was quiet this morning ...". You just know that a page or two of self-indulgent and controlling comments is about to come from pushy dad. Sam often said that he would rather have done the trip alone or with his mates - he was right! But a great journey, well written and described - but not up there with the best of cycle journeys.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By whereistherent on 31 Jan. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I picked this up for free on the Kindle and as they asked for a review in return, I feel it's only fair to oblige.

The journey that these to made is nothing short of incredible, to spend so long on the road living in the manner they did is quite remarkable and I'm incredibly jealous of their experience.

The book is a mixed bag. I liked it, it only took me a couple of days to fly through it and there was enough to keep me interested. However it could have been so much more. There is a lot of emotional stuff that could have been kept out.

I appreciate the book is partly about the father/son relationship, I just felt that it wasn't particularly insightful (teens are grumpy and don't appreciate their parents, successful businessmen are hard-headed and think their kids are ungrateful).

As a travel book it doesn't really stand out either, I've visited a lot of the places they cycled through and didn't feel that there was anywhere near enough description. Having kept travel diaries myself I know how easy it is to resort to constantly describing what you eat, but they mustt have seen and experienced so much more than is written in the book; encounters with others, misadventures etc.

Having said all of that, it is a worthwhile read and is inspirational and I congratulate the guys on their epic achievement, I know I couldn't do the same.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've taken to the bike again. Given that I'd just finished Dervla Murphy's "Full Tilt" I was surprised that Pakistan had to be missed out. I was charmed by the descriptions of Japan, which I remember to be very true.
Of course the fact that the journey started in Dingle, my home town gave me cause to smile too.
I've been looking for a cheap 2nd hand Super Galaxy since I read this, and there may be a fifteen year old one in Scotland for me to test my dodgy knee on. Like the lads I'll do the training on enroute.
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