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Reviews Written by
G. P. Thompson "Graham Thompson" (Peterborough UK)
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Lezyne Femto Drive Front Cycle Light - Red (13YAT6190)
Lezyne Femto Drive Front Cycle Light - Red (13YAT6190)

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Initial disappointment but not now, 22 Oct. 2013
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When I received this light I was disappointed. It is very nicely made and looks great but it is a cycle light and it was far to dim to be of any use. On a dull wet morning I could hardly see it from about five feet away had it not been flashing. However, I put a new set of batteries in and it is bright as I would have expected so very happy with it now.

No criticism of dealer, these are sealed and new with proper insulator pads separating the batteries but who knows how old the batteries are. Buy with confidence but get a good supply of new batteries.


Praesagium
Praesagium
Price: £0.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Keeps you gripped to the last word, 6 Aug. 2013
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This review is from: Praesagium (Kindle Edition)
Beautifully crafted novel featuring disparate character inevitably linked by fate, some by actions, others mere mentions. They are all brought to life so superbly as the plot twists and turns, at times like a slalom skier, yet other times like wisps smoke caught in a breeze, but all inexorably heading to a brilliant climax that can almost be likened to the click of a switch. Very well constructed storyline that grips you to the end. Great book at a price you cannot afford to miss!


Riding2Recovery: All around the ragged edges
Riding2Recovery: All around the ragged edges

5.0 out of 5 stars Superb sequel, 3 May 2013
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This is certainly a book of two halves. One, the actual cycling is well documented and observed in both books. Graeme has a knack of seeing and describing places and scenes in a way that can range from seemingly harsh to sublime but always honest. Equally important to the reader, and more so to the author, is the reason for doing these rides.

Graeme has suffered severe mental health issues for some years and he has found that by planning and completing very demanding rides he his helping himself to come to terms with, and have some control over, his personal issues. To be candid and open about this in a cycling book, I believe, is very brave and courageous. But he takes it to another level in that he is using the rides not only for his own self help but to raise awareness and charitable funds for other people who have similar issues.

So, how does cycling from Lands End to the far north of the Shetland Isles via the rugged west coast of Ireland, across the Isles of Arran and the Outer Hebrides, around the north west coast of Scotland and out to the Shetlands via the Orkney Isles manage this?

Initially, it sets out to advertise why he is doing such a ride. By towing a trailer, named Trevor, emblazoned with logos of the charity 'Mind' and a synopsis of what he is doing, Graeme is able to not only raise donations but, importantly, to get people to engage with him and share their stories. He has a great skill in giving people the time, space and opportunity to talk about their problems. Something you may feel he could really do without, having enough of his own, but in reality both he and the person he engages with appear to gain some strength and comfort from knowing that they are not alone, that there are good people who understand where they are coming from. I found this to be very heartwarming and a constant source of admiration throughout the book.

The cycling side of it takes us through the wettest summer on record up the westerly coast of Ireland, not known for its droughts at any time, then across to Scotland and the Isles for a well described and breathtaking cycle tour. This is not about breaking records it is far more than that, it is about exploiting what all cyclist already know to work towards self healing.

Like anyone on a tour, he faces the weather, indeed lots of it in this book, hills headwinds and soggy camping places. At one point he even talks about giving in and returning home the going is so bad. I think I would have folded long before he even thought about it and, really, I would have had no excuse. But Graeme didn't. Conquering his demons is what this ride is all about and he fights back with great courage and clearly wins the day.

I would recommend that if you have not read his first book, 'Riding2Recovery a journey within a journey',  that you get it and read it first. There are two reasons for this. One, simply because it is a good book and a good read but it also sets a lot of the background to why Graeme does these rides. Secondly, it will help when you read this second book to see that what he is doing is working.

Both his books stand out from the crowd to me simply because a very sensitive and stigmatised problem is being dealt with in such a different and positive way. There is no way these books are somber or depressing, on the contrary, they are touching, uplifting and truly inspiring.

I have had a veritable feast of 'food for thought' in reading these and I truly admire what Graeme has done and continues to do.


Basel or Bust
Basel or Bust
Price: £0.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable read, 27 April 2013
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This review is from: Basel or Bust (Kindle Edition)
One thing I have learned while armchair cycling on my Kindle book reader is that every now and again, a gem of a book can pop up in the most unexpected ways. This book, Basel or Bust by Simon Atkinson is just one of those little gems.

It is not a long book at around 57 pages but at a mere 77 pence, it isn't a bank buster either. So, can a 57 page book be interesting? Well I believe this book proves it can. For a first book by an author who has never attempted anything like it before, I think Simon has done a good job and I hope to see more (and longer) books to come.

Simon decided to ride the LEJOG (Lands End to John O'Groats) with his mate Doug and ended up riding 1000 miles to Switzerland and back! Well, we all have plans that turn out like that don't we?

This turn of events came from finding that, after all the planning into to the route and stopovers, the good old British rail system let them down, so Europe it was then.

Basel or Bust is nicely written as a diary in which each days journey and events are layer out. Like all good cycle touring books, it has ups and dows, emotional as well as hils. Meetings of characters and descriptions of the places traveled through. They also have to have drama and this book had it when events lead to Simon completing the ride alone after reaching Reimes on day three.

Alone now, Simon hunts out McDonalds, mainly for free WI Fi, to keep family back home aware of his progress as he ploughs on towards Switzerland for a short visit before heading back to Calais and then home.

All in all, this is an enjoyable read. Simon tells it like it is for the whole ride and, for stats fans, lists each days achievements. I really enjoyed following Simon on his first literary bike tour and not only recommend the book but really hope there will be more to come.


My Summer Sabbatical: Cycling Across Switzerland and France
My Summer Sabbatical: Cycling Across Switzerland and France
Price: £2.32

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly delightful read of a cycling adventure, 13 April 2013
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In the summer of 2012 Andi traveled to Switzerland with her bike and four yellow panniers then cycled and camped solo across Switzerland and France via the Swiss and French Alps, Jura and Vosges Mountains and through the Champagne region up to Calais before returning to the UK, some 2000km in total.

There are two striking things about this book. One is the passion that Andi has for climbing steep, very steep, hills! The other is that Andi is a lone female cyclist. Now I don't mean that in a sexist way, she is a lot braver, fitter and tougher than I am.

What I am getting at is that female cyclist authors seem to me to see the world slightly differently which I really like. The first book I read by a female cyclist was `It's not about the Tapas' by Polly Evans and, although I cannot put my finger on what I mean, she and Andi see things differently to the way male authors do. I just don't know what it is but I do like it.

There are some truly great moments of personal achievement in this book. Starting with the planning of the initial traveling to Switzerland including being treated as a bomb wielding terrorist on the Eurostar (I would have given up at that point) through to combating weather going from thunderstorms to heat waves. Not only that but language barriers and hills, big hills. Did I mention the authors insane passion for climbing over mountains on a laden bike?

There is humour, clever observation, detailed descriptions and photo realistic images written in the words of this book. Obviously, Andi is no stranger to cycling both at home and abroad and it probably had something to do with cycling the Yorkshire Dales that made her set her sights on the Alps as a `bit of a challenge'.

I don't like to put spoilers into reviews but there is one bit while slowly pedalling up a mountain pass where she realises that she does not appear to be gaining on some walkers ahead the going is so slow. I love little details like this.

This book is full of moments like that and the spirit lifting cheers of ordinary people who are sightseeing at the top of these amazing mountain roads. The support of other cyclists in France and the barely visible curt nods of the cyclists in Switzerland.

The wonderful descriptions of the campsites she visits and the people she met on them had me in stitches at times. No one to book you in and need the loo? Call the Police and let them sort it, and they did! One odd thing though was the closer I got to the final chapters, the more I craved a simple omelette with chips. You will need to buy the book and read it to find out why.

All in all, a very well written book that will have you flipping the pages to keep up with her at times and others where you would want to stay awhile and enjoy the serenity. A very good book and I hope there will be more to come.


Crossing Europe on a Bike Called Reggie
Crossing Europe on a Bike Called Reggie
Price: £1.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Armchair cycling doesn't get better than this, 13 April 2013
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Andrew Sykes is a language teacher, an admirable profession that to do well, I assume, must have some empathy with the countries and people who live and speak those languages. If this is the case then a tour across Europe should come as no surprise. But it was as a result of him watching the cyclists at the Beijing Olympics that the seed of this journey was sown. The idea of doing a long distance tour on a bike is very different to the Olympian cyclists but that is of no matter, the idea was there and two years later, taking advantage of the long summer holiday, the ride to Brindisi, southern Italy started.

Andrews journey took inspiration, and indeed some of the actual route of the Via Francigena, an ancient Pilgrims route and the Eurovelo 5 cycle route, an inspired use of the old and new.

Now, this did not just happen. Andrew describes in detail the two years between the idea and the reality in which route planning and information sourcing took place using an online blog. But happen it did despite little information being available on cycle routes (Eurovelo) in Europe, a situation that is now changing as more information is collated on the internet.

This book certainly goes the extra mile in detailing how the ride was planned and executed. However, it is not dry as some overly detailed books can be. The whole point of a journey like this has to be the pleasure of actually doing it as much as the achievement of something special. It is the pleasure of the ride that comes across so well, even the times when `pleasure' would probably have been said through gritted teeth.

No journey of this distance can be all plain sailing. Andrew and Reggie have their individual highs and lows, sometimes they coincide! No matter what the joys or pains though, the humour and great writing keep you willing them on. With a knack for great descriptions of the terrain, history, people and events along the route we, as readers can feel part of the journey and get a great sense of occasion.

One of the recurring comments I read about this book is "inspirational" and it is. Many tour books come over as a little clinical about how it all came about, a bit macho but, and here I beg the authors understanding, this book refreshingly comes across as an ordinary guy facing the worry, uncertainty but above all, excitement of setting off on an adventure. For me, that is one of the endearing things about this book, the fact that anyone reading it can admire the adventure but feel that maybe even they could do it to.

I cannot recommend this book too much and the icing on the cake is that Andrew is planning the 2013 ride right now with the hope of a another book coming out in 2014. To paraphrase MasterChef's Gregg Wallace, Armchair cycling doesn't get better than this.


It's All Uphill From Here
It's All Uphill From Here
Price: £1.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Mid life meets Lycra and likes it!, 22 Mar. 2013
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This has to be one of the most entertaining LEJOG books I have read. Not only a great read for the ride itself but for the story behind it. The wish to get back into cycling and off the couch. Very well written, entertaining and informative. Well worth a read no matter what you cycling interest but if you are thinking of doing the End to End, make sure this book is part of your planning.


Free Country: A Penniless Adventure the Length of Britain: A Penniless Adventure the Length of Britain
Free Country: A Penniless Adventure the Length of Britain: A Penniless Adventure the Length of Britain
by George Mahood
Edition: Paperback

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great fun read, 14 Dec. 2012
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I am a big fan of travelogue books especially if they are a bit quirky and/or funny. The best I ever read was 500 Mile Walkies by Mark Wallington. Many I have read since have been in a similar vein but none have come close. That is until I read 'Free Country: A Penniless Adventure the Length of Britain' by George Mahood.

The basic concept is for two guys wearing matching Union Jack Boxer shorts and nothing else stood in the wind and rain at Lands End at the start of their cycle tour to John O'Groats. Oddly, for a cycle tour, they have no bikes or money or food or clothes, nothing. Their aim is to set off and throw themselves at the mercy of the people they meet on the way to provide them with everything they need. Madness? Oh yes, truly mad.

However, these two guys are those gems of humanity that you come across very occasionally who can walk the wrong way, blindfolded, down a motorway fast lane and every car will miss them. On their journey they meet many more such gems but you need to read the book to get to know about the amazing people that helped Ben and George to travel the length of Britain.

This book is an absolute must for a funny, well written look at the better side of human nature and endurance. I have often heard the expression "Could not put it down" when a book is being talked about. I assumed that this was due to careless use of Superglue. However, I know know what it means, this is certainly a book I genuinely didn't want to put down.


Magic Lantern Compact Guides®: Canon Powershot G10 (Magic Lantern Guides)
Magic Lantern Compact Guides®: Canon Powershot G10 (Magic Lantern Guides)
by Jason Schneider
Edition: Paperback

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must have for any G10 owner, 25 Sept. 2009
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OK. Canon come in for some stick for not including a printed manual with the camera. The book comes in for some stick on being, in part, just like the manual. Neither of these arguments are justified in my opinion. If Canon had included a printed manual, I would not have bought this superb book and would have been worse off for not having it. The book is bound to be, in part, like the manual as it covers the same thing. What else could be expected.

The real point is that the book goes beyond what a manual would do. It is superbly illustrated with relevant pictures and is written in a style that makes it very accessible. So thank you Canon for giving me a pointless PDF file as by spending very little money I now have a reference piece on Canons superb G10 way beyond anything that could ever have come with it.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 10, 2011 9:08 PM BST


Understanding Exposure: How to Shoot Great Photographs with a Film or Digital Camera
Understanding Exposure: How to Shoot Great Photographs with a Film or Digital Camera
by Bryan Peterson
Edition: Paperback

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A must have for any photographer, 25 Sept. 2009
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There has been a lot written about this book in praise of its layout and content. I could not praise it more, a perfect book to explain what appears to be a simple subject but done in such a way, none of the potential complexities get in the way. Very well written, very well laid out and an asset to own.


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