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Uneasy Rider: Travels Through a Mid-Life Crisis [Paperback]

Mike Carter
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
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Book Description

5 Mar 2009

A broken heart and a moment of drunken bravado inspires middle-aged, and typically rather cautious, journalist Mike Carter to take off on a life-changing six month motorcycle trip around Europe. Never mind that he hadn't been on two wheels since an inglorious three-month teenage chapter involving a Lambretta, four crashes and an 18-month ban for drink-driving, a plan had begun to loosely form...

And so, having completed a six day residential motorcycle course and hastily re-mortgaged his flat, Mike sets off alone, resolving to go wherever the road takes him and enjoy the adventure of heading off into the unknown. He ends up travelling almost 20,000 miles and reaching the four extremes of Europe: the Arctic Circle in the north, the Mediterranean coast in the south, the Portuguese Atlantic to the west and the Iraqi border of Turkey in the east.

But really it's a journey inwards, as, on the way, Mike finds his post-divorce scars starting to heal and attempts to discover what he, as a man in his forties who hasn't quite found his place in the world, should be doing. Self-deprecating, poetic and utterly engaging, his is a heroic journey taken for the rest of us too scared to leave our 9 to 5 office-bound existence.

Frequently Bought Together

Uneasy Rider: Travels Through a Mid-Life Crisis + Jupiter's Travels
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  • Jupiter's Travels 6.99

Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Ebury Press (5 Mar 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0091923263
  • ISBN-13: 978-0091923266
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.7 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 53,947 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


"As wise and witty a travelling companion as you could wish for" (Tim Moore)

"One of the most honest and funniest writers around" (Carole Cadwalladr)

"A fantastic read" (Charley Boorman author of A Long Way Round)

"Wry, moving and very funny" (Daily Express)

"Buy it for the 42-year-old in your life. You'll recognise the signs" (Nicholas Lezard Guardian)

Book Description

High Fidelity meets Jupiter's Travels in this hilarious and urban angst-ridden take on the classic biker memoir genre

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
50 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lots of laughs and some enlightenment 16 May 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I found Uneasy Rider not only to be very funny but also compelling reading. A clockwise journey around Europe is undertaken on a BMW R1200GS covering 20,000 miles over six months.
Mike is a (another) journalist (see also Geoff Hill) on a journey, who having decided on the trip must first learns to ride a motorcycle. The new bike is duly purchased and we set off on an amusing voyage into the mental state of middle aged men - Mike seems far more concerned with his own pulling power than that of his motorcycle - but of course there could be no doubts about the adequacy of the big BMW.
Towards the end of the book things don't seem so funny any more and I was left feeling rather cheated of France, Spain and Portugal. They were ridden through (and are to be thoroughly recommended by motorcycle) but don't get a mention; one minute he was in Corsica and the next back in London.
A jolly good read with lots of laughs and plenty for those of a certain age to think about. I am pleased to reflect now that I have a better understanding of the disillusionment of mid life. The book is probably aimed at male readers, and indeed I bought it for my husband but was hooked after the first few paragraphs, and as a middle aged female motorcyclist found it most entertaining.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Travels - good. Crisis - bad 14 Feb 2009
I picked up this book as I was browsing. Being a 39+ biker planning a tour it obviously appealed, and at first I found myself enjoying the stories within. I enjoyed his tales of Scandinavia, Eastern Europe etc, but I found as we travelled south the author's mood seemed to become more reflective, more self-revelatory, and as I got to know Carter better I found I liked him less and less, till towards the end I would happily have slapped him round the helmet with one of his free BMW spares.

Which brings me to my thoughts on finishing. Yes, it was interesting to read Carter's travels. No, I don't think we'd get on down the pub, and why? why? is this book sold as being one man's heroic tale, when as I've now learnt it was one man's fully paid up (by the Observer) tour of Europe on a free motorcycle.
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Uneasy Rider 9 Mar 2008
Uneasy Rider is one of those rare books which manages to straddle genres and defy categorisation, whilst at the same time remaining immensely readable and hugely entertaining. This is a book which will appeal to men and women alike, bikers and non-bikers, the adventurous and the armchair traveller. It's a book about dreams broken and pieced together again, about making sense of the past and uniting it with the present and of bonds forged and boundaries crossed. It is a book about people written with insight, humanity and humour.

Mike Carter has achieved a fine balance between travelogue and self-confessional, which makes his book so much more than the usual series of postcards from a journey. The descriptions are lusciously vivid and his landscape is peopled with remarkable, quirky and wonderful characters. The theme of a mid-life crisis, its manifestations and the possible reasons for it, is woven through a series of beautifully realised vignettes, sometimes laugh-out-loud funny, sometimes heart-rendingly poignant, strung together by the narrative of the journey.

There is an honesty and frankness about Uneasy Rider which is as appealing as the self-deprecating humour and it is written with such confidence that the erudition (of which there is plenty) is neither laboured nor inaccessible. Personally, I would have been happy to learn more about the author's life (because I'm nosey like that!), but then it's also the mark of a good book when you are so engaged that you care what happens after you close the cover. I wanted to know more - what became of Margaret, did he ever go to see the Aussies on their home territory, what happened to Hanne....

Uneasy Rider made me laugh out loud and brought tears to my eyes. I finished it thinking that I had found not so much a travelling companion as a really good friend.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
I have read nearly every motorcycle travel book availible and i must say this is probably the most entertaining. As i approach my own 40th birthday i now understand my own 'mid life crisis' so clearly explained by the author. That aside, this book has been a true joy to read, funny, serious, happy, sad, bike travel, adventures etc etc etc. If you like travel books and/or are approaching middle age (crisis) and/or enjoy good reading you must buy this book. I truly hope to be able to follow Mike on his next trip, ride soon!
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not quite what I'd hoped for... 15 Aug 2008
This was an easy read that flowed from page to page, although as a biker myself I found it wanting. It's been said before in these pages and is very true that the transition from Corsica to London was a great disappointment; was there really nothing interesting to write about on the journey back home from there Mike?!
Also Mike is obviously a very educated and learned man, so whilst I took his quotes from some of the great names in literature in good humour, I suspect others may have seen this as arrogant and conceited on his part.
If you are into bikes and biking in general, don't expect a great detailed narrative, but as a light heartened and alternative read on the subject of men & the mid-life crisis, this a good read; took me just three days on the commute to finish it!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazingly insightful
I read this book while traveling in Costa Rica and demolished it in no time at all before lending it to my companion who loved it too. Read more
Published 10 days ago by D Geoghegan
5.0 out of 5 stars mid-life crisis?
Mike Carter writes in a disarmingly modest & open way about his own mid-life crisis, relationship problems & his response to them - ie - to ride 20000 miles arond Europe on a... Read more
Published 1 month ago by lurve doctor
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read
Mike Carter uneasy rider is a must read, whether its your first motorcycle adventure book or have read plenty this one will not disappoint. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Georges
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious
One of the best books I've ever read, especially in this genre. It's hilarious, all the more because he makes the same mistakes a normal "non-hero" type makes!
Published 8 months ago by Brendan Doherty
4.0 out of 5 stars a good read
nicely narrated; the title of the book nearly suggests that it is that hippy film of the 60's. a great piece of writing
Published 8 months ago by tony jesus guillamon
4.0 out of 5 stars Quite amusing at times
Im not a great book reader but i read this book quite quickly so it must have held my interest quite well
Published 9 months ago by C. mason
5.0 out of 5 stars The answer is....42!
Superb book which from the beginning is impossible to put down I read it relishing every page.

His writing style is excellent and very descriptive, you feel as though... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Monk
4.0 out of 5 stars Uneasy Rider
An enjoyable read, had me laughing out loud in places. Also very touching in parts. I recommend this to anyone who likes reading about life events
Published 10 months ago by M J SMALL
5.0 out of 5 stars Good story, good read
Uneasy Rider is the account of a motorbike journey undertaken by a newspaper sub editor who, divorced and approaching middle age, seeks to find himself and heal the wounds of... Read more
Published 12 months ago by R. J. de Bulat
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read
Good deatailed and inspiring account of Adventure bike riding in Europe. Gave me a clear understanding of what countries to avoid & oneS to put on my bucket list !!!
Published 12 months ago by KEITH BARKER
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