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A Bike Ride: 12,000 miles around the world
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 17 November 2002
This was an inspirational book, written by a historian. I enjoyed the book.
However, I was disappointed with the book in one way. The author speaks mainly as a historian, taking the reader on a historical tour of all of the places she visted on her bike. Even by the end of the book, we know very little about the author herself, or her personal feelings. There are several very poor, black-and-white photos of places she visited, but there is not even one photo of her! I would have preferred one photo of her, with her bicycle, anywhere, than all of the other photos she included in the book. I would also have liked her to share more of her personal life with the reader, which she seems to have purposely avoided (In the chapter where she travels through the American Midwest, she comments that Americans seem to discuss their personal problems even with strangers, but indicates that she feels that is an oddity. I found that an interesting comment on American culture, and probably very true, when compared with other cultures, especially the British culture.)
This one issue aside, I found the book inspiring, for a woman of her age, and poor physical condition (at the outset) to have cycled around the world. I read with great interest her descriptions of the people's behavior (both toward her and toward each other) in various places. I was quite surprised by her descriptions of Pakistanis, Indians, and various Americans (as an American myself). I was both surprised and not surprised by her travels across America--it being the hardest place because of the vast, empty distances (particularly in the West).
Disappointingly, the author shared only a few minor details of her life. I am quite a history buff myself, but this book rather overdosed on history. Nevertheless, I did pick up a few interesting historical tidbits. For example, I found it quite interesting that her cycling through Italy was far easier than many other places (in spite of the mountains) because the Romans constructed their roads in such a way as to try to never give up height before reaching the highest point. Therefore, the route gradually climbed, whereas in newer areas (such as America), modern roads repeatedly climb and fall, making it much harder on a cyclist.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 11 April 2002
Mrs Mustoe wasn't very fit or very young when she decided to embark on her adventure around the world. She wasn't even sure if she would make it, but was certainly going to give it a go. As a result, I have thought "well, if she can cycle around the world, I can cycle a country" and am looking forward to doing so this year. This book gives you an insight into the history of the various areas visited as well as a glimpse of the wonders of human nature along the road. Truly an inspiration and should be read by anyone who is even beginning to think "Oh, I don't think I'm capable of adventure anymore!"
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
What an amazing feat. A cyclists dream, but one which is getting more and more difficult to attempt due to all the world unrest.
Unfortunately the book doesn't quite live up to the feat itself. The book tells much of the history of the places visited. I would have preferred more narrative on the people met, and the emotions of Anne herself. I must admit I skipped a few chapters because I got bored.
Well done on the cycle, but a disappointing book in which I wanted to know more about the author, and was left wanting.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 12 March 2000
This is a fun book. It is not a standard Great Outdoors bikelogue; Mrs Mustoe's style is too genteel for that. She stays in rooms rather than tents (ranging from the cheapest of the cheap in Pakistan to international hotels elsewhere), and writes with more enthusiasm about the cities she crosses than about the countryside which separates them. Much of its charm comes from the personality of its author and in particular her passion for history. For Mrs Mustoe this was probably a much greater adventure than for more typical long-distance cyclists; up to the great day when she set out she had been, as she says, a headmistress in a Hardie Amies suit, and her descriptions of her slow adaptation to this completely different lifestyle are intriguing. She has shown that even the less likely candidates can enjoy long distance cycling, without any of the special skills which many bikelogues consider essential; as far as I can tell she accomplished her journey without toeclips and without knowing how to fix her own punctures!
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on 21 September 2013
An odd book, this. Despite the length of the book (290 pages) and the epic scope of the journey (12,000 miles round the world on a bicycle) we learn nothing about the author, other than the basic facts that she was a retired school headmistress with a love of ancient history. This, for me, is a major flaw. A good travel writer should make you feel like you're on the journey with them, yet after reaching to the end of the book, I couldn't tell you who I'd been travelling with or what her thoughts and feelings had been. This made it hard for me to warm to her and maintain interest in her journey.

Much of this book follows in the footsteps of Alexander the Great across Europe and Asia and it seems that the author is far more comfortable describing the ancient world than revealing her own thoughts and personality. The author doesn't really bring to life the places she visits and the people she meets. There is too much of 'I did this, then that..' kind of writing rather than expanding on the more interesting episodes, which would make for a much more interesting read.

The print and paper quality of the book is poor, making the small number of photos and maps that are included difficult to decipher. I should add that there is not a single photo of the author on the cover or inside the book, which is a strange omission.

In short, probably best to give this one a miss.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 15 September 2005
Found this book on the shelf in summer let in Andalucia. While I was gripped enough to avoid the midday sunshine and found her experiences inspiring, I too could have done with some more of the author herself. I find Josie Dew more 'human' with more of herself to give, not just the terrain and historical encounters. Yes she (Anne)was following the route of Alex the
Great but a few more personal angles would have been entertaining.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 26 December 2013
Although I'm sure the contents of the book will be a very interesting read the actual quality of the book feels very much like a cheap photo copy, the text isn't sharp and the section with the photo's in is very poor quality indeed. Quite dissapointing as it was a gift for someone.
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on 17 June 2015
One of the best cycle touring books Ive read.

There are several levels to this book: Annes journey as travels around the world after having not cycled since she was a child (she was 55 when she headed off), wonderful stories about the roads she was travelling on (Roman roads from the UK to Italy, then following Alexander the Greats conquests, the Silk Road and the paths of the pioneers in Australia and the reverse of the ones in America), as well as little anecdotes about people, places she meets/see, and her life prior to the journey.

Well written, flows beautifully and unlike some books Ive read, doesnt go too much into what she packed/bike specifications, or waffle on about nothing for pages.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 14 September 2013
Whilst the book was very interesting, it was more of a history book rather than in depth readng about the actal adventures enroute which i had hoped for.
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on 14 May 2015
Nearly finished it and I am loving it. She took off cycling around the world at 50 odd years of age with barely any cycling experience. It is more than a regular book about cycling, she was a historian so she has plenty of knowledge about the places she travels through. I love books like this because they inspire me to get off my posterior and do something. Not something like cycling around the world but just something more than I'm doing now, ie something out of my ordinary!
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