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6 of 6 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 10 months ago by Thomas Jones

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hard work for the first quarter or so...
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...
Published 9 months ago by A Genealogist


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6 of 6 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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5 of 5 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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6 of 6 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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6 of 6 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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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Over-elaborate and under-developed., 5 Sept. 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 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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4.0 out of 5 stars Get On Your Bike, 1 April 2015
When you set out to tour the world and write about it, you have a choice - do you follow the Bill Bryson school of poking gentle fun at odd foreigners while unearthing mountains of trivia about their country? Or do you take the Paul Theroux approach, hating everything and everyone you meet, until you find something you do like and hating yourself for doing so? Sixty pages into this and it was heading down the Theroux style without so much of the people hating. Not many jokes though, more earnest thoughts about politics and economics, interlaced with personal observations of the road and the effect it’s having mentally and physically on the traveller as he cycles the endless miles.
The journey starts by crossing the channel to mainland Europe and, almost suddenly, we’re in Romania. That was quick! And then we’re heading into China with the Ukraine and Kazakhstan behind us in the dust. My overall impression was that there was little else than dust on the road to Shanghai. In China, the dust comes from concrete construction and road building. The author struggles to take it all in, and the lack of human interaction due to the language barrier means that this part of the book is less engaging than it might have been.
The next big lump of the journey continues over in North America where I suspected I’d be reading some left wing polemic about the decline of the West and the embedded ignorance of fat, happy and ignorant Americans. What a tonic then to find the reverse. The author is smitten by the ride from Seattle down to San Francisco and writes with such enthusiasm that I was tempted to book a flight and go and do it myself. It was totally refreshing to read of a Brit who loves the Land of the The Free, where all its many faults and fears are countered by the generosity and intelligence of many of the people he meets. He heads to Mexico too and guess what, he isn’t shot, raped or beheaded as many warned he might be. Mexico is just another country despite what the media would have you believe.
Like a lot of these travelogues, the book hits hyper-speed as we near the end of the journey. One minute you’re in North America, a few pages later back in Spain, France, turn the page, The End. Was that it? Seemingly yes. Very little reflection on what, if anything, was gained or achieved by the guy who made the journey. But overall I was glad that he managed it and that he wrote this account of it too.
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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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5.0 out of 5 stars It's not about the bike..., 26 Jan. 2015
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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)
Stephen Taylor's review on here says all I would want to say about this book, about why I enjoyed it and how it'll remain with me. I can add little more to that review other than to say if you've read and enjoyed the equally life-affirming "Jupiter's Travels" by Ted Simon, then you'll enjoy this book as well - if not more, as once again I felt inspired by beautifully sensitive writing leading me to appreciate better the oft-quoted Robert Louis Stevenson quote "Little do ye know your own blessedness; for to travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive, and the true success is to labour". In that respect I'm with Mike from Montana, the duffel-coated travelling man wholly at peace with the world who has nothing and everything.

O and to Mr Sayarer: if you ever read this comment, I'd just like to say thank you, your message was both loud and clear to me. And by the way, before I forget and if it matters - well done on your record.
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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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