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The Road Gets Better from Here [Paperback]

Adrian Scott
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
Price: 11.93 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

7 May 2008
With virtually no experience and absolutely no support, Adrian rides a basic stock motorbike 20,000kms across nine countries in three months to fulfill a lifelong dream. He sets off from the bleak, windswept former gulag gateway city of Magadan in a remote corner of Siberia, but before the day is out he crashes badley, breaking his bike and seriously injuring himself. He is completely alone. He struggles on through swamps, bogs and mud tracks and nearly drowns in the icy rapids along Stalin's infamous Road of Bones. Although it is summer in Siberia, it is freezing and the driving rain is relentless. When the sun does appear, he is attacked by fierce squadrons of giant mosquitoes and, with wild bears roaming, he cannot stop, often riding for days at a time. Sheer physical strength saves his life on numerous occasions. He battles on deep into central Russia, across the vast Steppes of Kazakhstan and on through the scaring Taklimakan Desert in remote western China. He scales the breathtaking Pamirs and rides across the roof of the world before entering the fabled Silk Road cities of Samarkand, Bukhara and Chive. He scurries across oddball Turkmenism, and on across ancient Persia before finally arriving at his destination, exotic Istanbul. At every turn, Adrian is adopted by a vast array of characters, each with stories to tell and who, extraordinarily, expect nothing in return; tough Siberian truck drivers, frontier road workers, border guards desperate villagers, drug-addled soldiers and crazy modern-day traders, each insisting that he join them in their homes to share their lives and most of their provisions. It is these encounters which provide such a rich and compelling subtext to his extraordinary journey.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 374 pages
  • Publisher: Virtualbookworm.com Publishing (7 May 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1602641862
  • ISBN-13: 978-1602641860
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 15.2 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 154,242 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully evocative and insightful account 7 Feb 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I am reading a lot of this type of stuff at the moment and this ranks with the classics of the genre; Mondo Enduro and Jupiters Travels. Despite Ted Simon and at least one member of the Mondo team being experienced journalists this is probably the best written adventure motorcycling book I've read. Adrian Scott is obviously a very perceptive and intelligent guy who would appear to have learnt at least two languages (Russian and Farsi) in preparation for this trip, giving him the rare boon of meaningful communication with most of those he encounters.

But this highlights my one niggle: there is almost no personal information here about him, his background or his everyday life. He starts the journey as a stranger to us and, to a great extent, ends the journey that way too, although the book really conveys the fears, discomfort, frustration and exhilaration of his very personal experience.

He attempts a very similar route across Asia as the Mondo boys but in reverse (natural for someone hailing from Australia I guess), learning how to fend for himself and cope with the demands of the journey at it's most confronting and physically arduous phase in the gulag region of Siberia.

He, like Ted Simon, learned to ride a motorbike as the preferred mode of travel for the trip, and his lack of riding skill, technical knowledge and mechanical sympathy are nearly his undoing on numerous occasions. He makes up for it with great receptiveness to his surroundings and openness to those that he meets, often at these critical moments, which see him rewarded with generosity and kindness by many people along the way.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Road Gets Better From Here 29 May 2009
Format:Perfect Paperback
Adrian Scotts takes you on an adventure where you feel in the saddle. Half way through the first chapter I was exhausted. He really embraces the highs and lows of the journey and shows true empathy towards the people he meets along the way. If you want to feel really part of the writer's travels and experiences this is the book for you. I still can't believe this is basically Adrian's first ride on a bike and attempt at writing.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Make this a cult book 25 May 2010
Format:Perfect Paperback
This is probably the best motorcycle travel book I have read. It manages this impressive feat in a number of ways. The story it tells is one of incredible toughness - both physical and mental - in the face of a bad accident on day one. The worst start any biking traveller could imagine. Less than ten pages in and the narrator is eating a mess of his mangled food, mixed with gravel, nursing a broken ankle by the side of a deserted road on the easternmost tip of Russia. What follows is three months of usually gruelling riding. Also moving is the sense of humanity we get at just about every turn of the journey. Scott is taken in by incredibly generous and hospitable folk throughout, people who have unimaginably tough lives, living on very little by Western standards, with almost unbearable occupations, but who share what they have with him - and with real pride and nobility (usually).

Adrian Scott's writing is impeccable. He must have spent hours each day with his notebooks. He describes, for example, the nuances of changes in facial structure of the people he meets as he journeys across westward across Asia. His accounts of architecture, particularly of his extended stay in Samarkand, are vivid and detailed. He is a traveller who has done extensive research before he left (or maybe he added it afterwards - I doubt it somehow) and his book gives us detailed but readable political and social histories of many of the newly independent countries he visits. He also seems to have taken the trouble to learn some Russian in preparation.
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