9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 1 November 2010
I've just finished this book and I have to say I really enjoyed it. Not being a cyclist but having a keen interest to do a cycle trip I found this book an eye opener in terms of some of Mark's experiences. They're experiences you would never encounter travelling by any other means and they're also experiences I've never imagined or even passed my mind.
Having read a similar style book about a runner, I found Mark's book to be far more intersting. It's far too easy for these types of books to become a montonous read - about a guy who gets up and cycles or runs everyday. I particularly liked reading about his emotions and feelings and more so, his lack of planning in certain stages. It's given me great insight into what's involved in such a trip and I find anyone who can do any such activity wholly inspiring.
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on 30 December 2011
I received this book as a Christmas present. Its now 30th December and I have finished it having hardly put it down and largely ignored other Christmas related events.
I am a long distance cyclist myself, although not in Mark Beaumont's league or anywhere near it, but I can relate to the chalenges and problems he met in his epic journey.
There was the desire to cover a huge distance each day, resisting the temptation of spending time exploring beautiful and interesting places en route. I can tell you that a 100 miles day after day on a bike takes a hell of a lot of effort.
There was also the fear of mechanical break-down, which can be a major problem when stranded miles from anywhere. I liked his account of these problems and how they were overcome, because I have been there myself. Mark had also to cope down with problems with his engine - his body, under the strain of propelling his bike against the wind, rain, cold and many many hills.
I can also relate to the daily search for somewhere to sleep and the fear of not finding it.
I think this book will appeal very much to touring cyclists.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 30 August 2010
Great read, what an adventure, cyclng around the world by bike and with a world record deadline. Really enjoyed Mark's descriptions of the places he went and people he met plus the scrapes he had. The format of the book also becomes rather unique - nearly a blog style account by the end, which made a nice difference. Dunno what the previous reviewer was on about it not being interesting, it was, cycling through Iran, Pakistan, Australia etc on his lonesome with just a tent, staying in a random petrol station Mosque or under a road tunnel, being put in jail by the Pakistan police with villagers starring at him for hours, meeting the girl of his dreams and having to weigh up whether to travel with her or stay on target for the record. My sister, who rarely reads books, couldn't put this one down, which is saying something. All credit to Mark Beaumont for a great adventure, world record and read.
73 of 81 people found the following review helpful
on 1 August 2009
Before I write this review I think I should clarify that I think Mark's achievement riding round the world in under 200 days was absolutely amazing. For that I am in awe and can't praise him enough. And I suppose doing the blog throughout the trip, making the TV programme and writing a book are all par for the course. However, there is a slight problem. When you are racing around the world you are sat on a bike almost all day every day. So in fact nothing much of interest happens. You don't see anything of the places you pass through, and you meet precious few colourful characters for insufficient time for you to find anything out about them. There are no romantic entanglements to make you question whether you should stop somewhere forever and not go home. Moreover, because the book tells us that he achieved the world record on the back cover the potential tension about whether he will make it or not (which works in a real time blog) is completely absent in the book. In fact this is basically groundhog day on two wheels. He gets up, bikes all day for about 100 miles. Eats in a café somewhere and then pitches his tent and falls asleep. Next day same thing. Next day same thing with saddle sores. Next day same thing but sleeps in motel. In fact when he finally got knocked off I felt happy because something had actually happened, instead of feeling empathy for his predicament, worried about what he would do next and anxious he might not make it in time to beat the record. This book could have been half the size and I would have raved about it. If you want to read something more interesting about a big long bike trip, without feeling you are on some sort of endurance feat yourself, I would suggest you try `Why don't you fly' by Chris Smith, or `Thunder and Sunshine' by Alastair Humphreys.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 6 January 2014
First, let me say that I admire Mark's feat of cycling 18,000 miles in record breaking time. That said, his cycling achievement doesn't make for an interesting or inspiring book. Since his priority is simply to clock up the miles each day, he doesn't have the time to stop and explore the places he cycles through or to meet any colourful characters along the way. Instead of the sights, sounds, smells and flavours of the countries he cycles through, all we get are repetitive whinges about his legs aching or not being able to find food or accommodation. He may as well have cycled the entire 18,000 miles on a gym exercise bike and written about that.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 9 July 2012
I had read previous reviews and one was about how Mark Beaumont wasted his time and missed the chance to really experience cultures and travel properly because of his focus on achieving the world record. This reviewer missed the point entirely, and I suspect if I or Mark himself explained the reasons why he didn't stop and absorb the culture and countries more, he/she wouldn't understand anyway.
This, to me, was all about the challenge and pushing himself to see just how far he could go. Some people can do this, some people can only understand this, and most people can't do either. I suspect that his main goal was to set up a life and a career doing something that he loved and not pencil-pushing at a desk all day. Cycling the world got him on his way to this and he describes his journey through the challenge, and before the challenge with some intriguing background into his reasons for doing it, with great honesty and providing insight into the world of an extreme endurance athlete.
The book inspired a friend of mine to cycle from China back to England after being an English teacher in Korea and is currently motivating me to seek out my own adventures and push my own boundaries. I have great admiration for a man who bit the bullet and reached out and grabbed life with both hands and is not letting go.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 27 September 2010
I was reading this from the point of view of someone interested in cycling and a month after finishing my own mini challenge in the form of Lands End to John O'Groats... some of the other reviewers are right... you're not going to get lengthy descriptions of local customs, architecture and in depth accounts of romance on the way. What you do get is a great insight into the aspiration, state of mind and experiences of someone on a unique adventure that required guts and determination - in these days of package holidays and if you're not careful, packaged life, I found it inspiring stuff !!
21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on 2 September 2009
Lots of other reviewers enjoyed this book, giving it 4 or 5 stars. While the book is well written, I must warn you it is very monotonous. This is not suprising given that other than the occasional visit from a physio or the BBC making a documentary, the author undertook the journey alone. In the first couple of chapters we get an idea of the routine involved, cycle, try to find food to refuel, find a place to sleep at night. The problem is that this is repeated throughout the book, over and over and over. Nothing terribly exciting really happens. I did'nt finish the book in the end, the repetition becoming to much for me half way through. One for the serious cycling enthusiast only.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 19 July 2011
I think what Mark did was incredible and I admire him greatly for his accomplishment. However, I too found the book repetitious. What bothered me most was his negativity. While I appreciate that this was a difficult undertaking, it seemed like he had a negative spin to put on most of his anecdotes and the many people who helped him. One example: when he arives drenched to a motel that is closed on Christmas day in New Zealand, the kindly owner not only opens up a room for him, but also offers him a meal of Christmas leftovers. His take on it is, "It was one of the best Christmas dinners I have ever had. It wasn't a particularly fantastic meal ..." Why mention that? The lady did you a kind favour and saved you an 8km trip in the pouring rain to find your own food on Christmas Day. He is also quite critical during his trip through the U.S. At one point he eats at a Wendy's burger restaurant and decries the lack of veggie options. While I'm no fan either, every Wendy's I've been to had many options for salads. He seemed to have given up on being a vegetarian before he even left Europe anyway, partially after realizing that it would not provide him with the calories and nutrition he required fo his trek.
So, while I wanted to enjoy this book a lot more I can only offer it 3 stars. I haven't seen the tv program, but perhaps that would give me a better impression.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 15 December 2012
As a a life long sporting cyclist of nearly 50 years I intend to ride around the UK when I retire and then ride around France and Italy and take in the major tours. So, I purchased this book, having watched the documentary on the TV, as I was hoping to get some extra tips on how to cover 100 miles a day every day on a low budget. I have not been disappointed and recommend this book to any one who has a sense of adventure and a love of cycling. Would have liked more info on how Mark funded the ride but as I have not got to the end yet it may be in the last chapter!
I will not be cycling through Pakistan or India though. His description of the poverty and the food has put me off for life. I will stick to central Europe for my long distance cycle touring.
A great ride Mark I salute you.