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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Watch the film, then read the book and understand much more...
Tom set off on an adventure with two mates from the Midlands and the possibly naive intention to mountain bike around the World rather than get a 'proper job'. What happened over the next 3 or 4 years was as much about self discovery as miles covered and places visited, and was far from what he had intended/envisioned.

I've followed Tom Allen's blog for the...
Published 18 months ago by UnInspired Ramblings

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3.0 out of 5 stars Bicycle Warrior!
Enjoyed it. Started reading it in woods (camping) near Alexandra, New Zealand while cycle touring. Finished it in Wimborne, England!

Would have liked a few photos. But then, that's just me wanting a visualisation. Will get the movie.

Thanks.
Published 14 months ago by Nigel


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Watch the film, then read the book and understand much more..., 7 Mar 2013
This review is from: Janapar: Love, on a Bike (Paperback)
Tom set off on an adventure with two mates from the Midlands and the possibly naive intention to mountain bike around the World rather than get a 'proper job'. What happened over the next 3 or 4 years was as much about self discovery as miles covered and places visited, and was far from what he had intended/envisioned.

I've followed Tom Allen's blog for the past year or two as he tried to turn 3 or 4 years of video footage and notes taken into a full length film and book. Despite the challenges of doing this independantly, he has managed to produce something wonderful. I love the film and still find it inspiring and funny after having seen it 3 or 4 times. But the book gives so much more. Even in the film, which is by definition limited to the footage that was taken, Tom manages to put across a very honest and personal account of his motivations. Of the joys and challenges of such a trip. Of loneliness and companionship. Of the humbling friendship of complete strangers. Of the difficulties in finding out that perhaps the plan you've been obsessing over isn't the only plan.

But in the book he is able to communicate this to a much greater degree. I've read books about cycle trips that are very much of the 'On day 97 we cycled from A to B covering 80 miles. I felt tired.' ilk. Janapar is not that book. It's about an adventure. It's about personal motivation and challenge. It's about seeking something more meaningful than the daily 9-5 that most people get sucked into. And it's about finding things you didn't expect in the places you least expected them.

Tom writes eloquently, honestly and with great self-awareness (after the event at least!). Janapar is a joy to read and will make you want to quit your job, pack a bag and cycle off on a voyage of discovery. That's what I'm going to do. Thanks Tom (I think!).
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very honest, beautifully written account of one man versus himself, 3 May 2013
This review is from: Janapar: Love, on a Bike (Paperback)
I should state for reasons of candour that I am a friend of the writer, but should also say that in times past we have been very blunt with each other and wholeheartedly disagree on a wide variety of subjects. I do, therefore, feel that I can review this book with a certain degree of objectivity.
I finished it in less than a week, sometimes cursing slightly under my breath at Tom's habit of conjuring awkwardness from thin air. He sometimes comes across like a magician who keeps shoving the rabbit back in the hat because it's the wrong colour - everything goes well but it's not the sort of well he wanted. This dictatorial attitude to fortune, however, is whittled away, sliver by sliver, by circumstances, and the reader realizes that, just like the writer, what he thought he was getting himself into is nothing like what he will find himself coming out of.
That is the beauty of this book. Tom is nothing if not brutally honest, and never more so than with himself. His prejudices, lack of preparation and outbursts are all candidly dealt with, laying bare the vulnerable side of someone I thought I knew rather well, and this only makes the love-story narrative of the book that much more engaging. His ignorance of many of the places he visits might strike some as naïve, or even arrogant - particularly those who count themselves well-travelled, and say that they have "done" somewhere, who memorise long factoids plucked from a book, who quote what someone else said about the place and then agree with or destroy that opinion based on their own meagre experience - but Tom's unflinching lack of compromise with regard to his way of doing things is admirable, and wonderfully moving when you realize just how much the journey means to him, and how much it might mean to give it up.
This is no chuck-away, look-wot-I-did-Mum tale of a 1st Worlder finding himself, but an excellently crafted, beautifully written story of one man and his bike, and who they meet along the way. And while the book is of itself a very satisfying read, you are left in no doubt that Tom is not yet done with his journey.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not any old cycling story...., 11 Mar 2013
This review is from: Janapar: Love, on a Bike (Paperback)
There are millions of self help books... there are hundreds of cycling books... there are gazillions of love stories! There is one Janapar. Tom writes not only with beautiful language, but with a stark and brave honesty that made me feel like I had gone on the journey with him.
Finishing the last sentence in the book - I felt like I wanted to start it again. Filled with humour, life and inspiring observations this is a must read for anyone who wants to live their life.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great, heartwarming story - can't wait to watch the film!, 7 Mar 2013
This review is from: Janapar: Love, on a Bike (Paperback)
As both a keen cyclist and someone who has spent many months on the road in lots of the countries Tom covered, this book seemed to speak directly to me.
I found myself nodding along with so many of the situations the author describes so eloquently and it made me pine for the open road once again.

Travel books can have a tendency to fall into the, "and then we went here, and then we went here..." trap but the multiple story-arcs going on during this trip ensures that you're always engaged and wondering what will come next.

The author also came across as refreshingly honest - from the initial highs and 'arrogance of ignorance' from the preparation and early days to the inevitable team squabbles and other low points.

If you're vaguely interested in travel or adventure then check out this very English kind of story but be warned: it'll probably make you want to quit your job and hit the road on two wheels!

Great job Tom!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Readable, thoughtful and self-aware, 3 Nov 2013
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This review is from: Janapar: Love, on a Bike (Paperback)
I bought the book from the author Tom Allen after the screening at Roll for the Soul in Bristol, partly because it seems like the right thing to do to support self-publishing, self-employed authors like this, a bit like tipping the waiter. I was very pleased at how well written the book was (it's his first book, though he's blogged a fair bit), and I would definitely recommend this to anyone, not just cycling/adventure fans (though it does come with a risk that it may inspire you to set out on your own adventure!). Very enjoyable, & highly readable (I finished it in a day).

Incidentally the book is also well designed (cover and inside typography) and well edited, much higher standard than the average self-published book. I saw that he ran a successful Kickstarter to raise money to pay for professional services in these areas, and I have to say it really shows (and I hope this isn't just special pleading as an ex-boook publisher!).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great read!, 15 Jun 2013
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This review is from: Janapar: Love, on a Bike (Paperback)
However many 'round the world' cycling books I read, no two are the same. This is a much more personal account of a fabulous journey that includes an unexpected encounter without the whole book being dominated by it. Carefully written with a very private portrayal of the author.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting read, 13 May 2013
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Bookworm (Newbury, Berkshire) - See all my reviews
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Well written and insightful story. Tom's introspection bring into sharp focus the mental and physical challenges that are experienced when travelling long distances on a bicycle.
It hasn't dulled any appetite I have for attempting a similar adventure. Definitely worth reading.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Janapar, 29 April 2013
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maryellen hutchins (front royal, virginia, US) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Janapar: Love, on a Bike (Paperback)
A member of my cycling club recommended the movie, so I watched that before I read the book. The movie was very good, and I have watched it a couple of times now. The book, however, has so much more detail. I think I could "feel" the enormity of the task better through the book. As a bonus, Tom continues to keep in touch with his family of readers so we can be part of his current adventures. Good read, good person.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Touched, 20 April 2013
This review is from: Janapar: Love, on a Bike (Paperback)
I am touched by the book.
I started dating not too long ago and after reading the book, I feel that I will treasure my love one and will endure this relationship with more understanding, love and fun.
thank you.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pedaling Towards an Uncertain Future, 20 April 2013
This review is from: Janapar: Love, on a Bike (Paperback)
With Janapar, Tom Allen shares an unflinchingly intimate look at the modern journey. Our maps may all be filled in, but the adventuring spirit is still strong, as Tom shows us here.

This is a highly personal story of love, exploration, and introspection, warts and all. Recommended for those who need a push towards their own journeys of discovery. Reading Janapar, you can feel the winds of the Sudan, the hospitality of Iran, and the blissful fatigue of long days on the road.
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Janapar: Love, on a Bike
Janapar: Love, on a Bike by Tom Allen (Paperback - 29 Jan 2013)
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