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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I thoroughly enjoyed this book as a book
Stellar. So much more than a book about cycling. None of that "gruelling man against machine, no pain no gain" spiral of self. None of the jargon, shaved legs and cranks and cogs......Witty, aware and warm. It is about travel, it is about people and it is about cycling but only in the same way that Bridge Over The River Kwai is about engineering-there's so much...
Published 3 months ago by Thomas Jones

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Over-elaborate and under-developed.
I found this a difficult book to read. The writing is over-elaborate and ornate, and the author seems to want to use his book to make comments on the state of our societies, but these ideas are never clearly elaborated or convincingly described. Instead, the book is written in an almost stream-of-consciousness style. This might be an interesting technique in some contexts...
Published 1 month ago by Mr. P.D. Thwaites


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Over-elaborate and under-developed., 5 Sep 2014
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I found this a difficult book to read. The writing is over-elaborate and ornate, and the author seems to want to use his book to make comments on the state of our societies, but these ideas are never clearly elaborated or convincingly described. Instead, the book is written in an almost stream-of-consciousness style. This might be an interesting technique in some contexts but here it seems almost willfully obscure, blurring both the descriptions of the (admittedly fascinating and impressive) bike ride, and the political convictions hinted at.

I also found certain parts of the book quite pitifully narrow-minded. The author seems to have harbored judgments about certain places which predated his ride - his judgments on Chinese society, for example, which emerge before he even enters Chinese territory. These prejudices mean that a clear sense of some of the countries he travels through never really emerge. Too often, we are provided instead with a rather bitter display of the authors emotions towards a place he seems determined not to appreciate.

Overall, I found the book to be over-written, poorly developed, and often accompanied by a pettiness ill-fitting of the grandeur of the journey being described.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I thoroughly enjoyed this book as a book, 16 July 2014
This review is from: Life Cycles: A London Bike Courier Decided to Cycle Around the World. 169 Days Later, He Came Back with a World Record. (Paperback)
Stellar. So much more than a book about cycling. None of that "gruelling man against machine, no pain no gain" spiral of self. None of the jargon, shaved legs and cranks and cogs......Witty, aware and warm. It is about travel, it is about people and it is about cycling but only in the same way that Bridge Over The River Kwai is about engineering-there's so much more. It's not a place, it's a feeling. I thoroughly enjoyed this book as a book. Not a book about any thing specific other than the joy of cycling, travelling, meeting people and thinking. There's also some great bits on food, love, sleeping rough and just the effervescent joy of humanity. Spiced with politics, incisive comment and some scenes that really made me laugh. This book was none of the things I thought it would be-yet I was delighted by it. Read it, it'll make you want to be you more.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hard work for the first quarter or so..., 8 Aug 2014
By 
A Genealogist (Warwickshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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I thought I had better update my earlier, rather scathing review. I pressed on through the cliches and interesting English in the first quarter of the book. The author finally settles down and more the most part has produced an enjoyable tale of his journey around the world. Definitely worth persevering with. It's not perfect, and there are huge gaps but worth a punt...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fast-paced, thoughtful and warm tour of the world, 22 July 2014
This review is from: Life Cycles: A London Bike Courier Decided to Cycle Around the World. 169 Days Later, He Came Back with a World Record. (Paperback)
This is a fanatic book. The story alternates between dream-like descriptions of what it’s like seeing the world, all of it, at 12mph and more lucid intimate accounts of the human kindness that it seems strangers everywhere are just waiting to offer.

One page you’ll happily drifting along with a beautiful series of descriptions of that range from neat observations to sleep deprived hallucinations then bang! the next page is straight back into a dialogue with Khazak man about the price of dinner several hundred miles from a cash machine. Each dialogue is so finely scripted it could only have been written by the man selling burritos at the Mexican border, or the Orthodox priest on a beach in California, or the Maori forest ranger in the New Zealand…there are loads more but I wont spoil the surprise.

Some of the scenes play out into farce like the over protective Chinese border guards while others turn to piercing insight like the reaction to an unshaven cyclist in the US, and yes at one point there is even a little 400mile/48hour race but always there is a warmth and curiosity that constantly links them together and draws you out. After reading Lifecycles I don’t think I have ever been more inspired to get on a bike and go meet some strangers.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is much more than a cycling book, 17 Jun 2014
By 
BS (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Life Cycles: A London Bike Courier Decided to Cycle Around the World. 169 Days Later, He Came Back with a World Record. (Paperback)
Let's be honest, there are an awful lot of books about long distance bike rides. Most are written by people who ride well and write badly. This is most definitely not the case with Life Cycle. It goes without saying that Julian Sayarer can ride well, but he can also write damn well, and, equally importantly, has something worth saying. This is much more than a cycling book, it is a thought provoking commentary on the way we - and others - live. No hesitation about awarding five stars. But one minor quibble: the primary market for the book is cyclists. So why no details of the equipment - bike and camping - that Julian used?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I like plenty of techical detail about the bike, 5 Aug 2014
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Not my type of cycling book. I preferred the account of Mark Beaumont of his round the world record ride. I'm a long distance cyclist myself. I like plenty of techical detail about the bike, descriptions of problems encountered and accomodations. Theres not much of that in Julians book.
I would have liked to read more about the countryside passed through but less about politics.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars very good, 27 Jun 2014
This review is from: Life Cycles: A London Bike Courier Decided to Cycle Around the World. 169 Days Later, He Came Back with a World Record. (Paperback)
certainly the best travel / cycling books I have read and a lot more ,people and places particularly people not machines and mileage. loved it . oh and he is clever compassionate and funny.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A modern classic, 9 July 2014
By 
Tom L. Nancarrow (uk) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Life Cycles: A London Bike Courier Decided to Cycle Around the World. 169 Days Later, He Came Back with a World Record. (Paperback)
A wonderful, wonderful book! The bicycle is used as the vehicle, but this is no tedious 'sportsman's biography' - it is a funny, intelligent and fascinating snapshot of global politics in the early 21st century.

Julian proves to be a masterful storyteller - he has given us an indispensable account of people living lives on planet earth in the modern age. Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating Journey, 14 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Life Cycles: A London Bike Courier Decided to Cycle Around the World. 169 Days Later, He Came Back with a World Record. (Paperback)
I chose a 5 star rating for this book as it is one of the best I have read in a while - its an honest and well written account of an amazing journey around the world by Bicycle, that leaves you thinking and wanting more. I would recommend this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting read, 12 July 2014
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This review is from: Life Cycles: A London Bike Courier Decided to Cycle Around the World. 169 Days Later, He Came Back with a World Record. (Paperback)
Very interesting read, highly descriptive of the locations he rode through. I would have enjoyed the book more had more technical information of his bicycle, punctures, problems relating to the ride, etc, been included.
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