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on 23 June 2008
Alastair's first book was great: ordinary Yorkshire lad toughens up in the crucible of Africa and triumphs. In his second and much better book, Alastair pushes himself even harder and becomes a Nietzschean superman, riding the Road of Bones in Siberia in winter in temperatures of minus 40 degrees. It's quite incredible how tough a man can become and still remain human, literate and sensitive, as Alastair does.

This book has it all, it's a great travel read, a look into the human soul and how most people, given enough determination, could attempt something like this and grow massively in the process. For bikers, it's something special, as he has some great insights and tips for world bike touring and camping. Of all the world cycling books, this one is most relevant and useful for anyone thinking of or planning an adventure like this.
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on 7 August 2009
I have read an awful lot of books about people making big long bike trips, and in my view this one is the best of the lot. It charts the second half of Alasdair Humphreys' round the world cycle trip and is a continuation of his first book, Moods of future joys. In this book he travels by boat from Cape town to Rio, and then by bus to very southern tip of the Americas. From there he cycles up the west coast of south America through to Columbia, where he then hops on a boat for a while, before continuing by bicycle up through the western seaboard of the States and Canada. Another boat trip, Alaska and he reaches the top of the Americas. All that in 161 pages. There is adventure, humour, thrills and spills throughout. Sometimes he cycles alone, sometimes with others, sometimes naked. The momentum never stops. This is so much more than a travelog. But if that wasnt enough he then gets another boat, crosses the icy depths of Siberia, Japan, China, the `stans' and back through Europe. The second half if anything is better than the first. I don't know if he was a writer before he set out, but he certainly was one by the time he got back. This is so much more than a story about a bloke from yorkshire on a bike. It is a journey of self discovery that you can share and learn from. Inspiring and entertaining at the same time.
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on 30 June 2008
Enjoyed the first book. Good that this follows on (although it stands alone as a book - you don't have to have read the first volume). It is easy to care for the writer, so its nice to find out what happened to him next.

Once again there is expression of emotion, confidence, doubt etc which is so much better than the boring travelogs of some, who mistakenly think just listing places visited is a story. I hope to read more from this author in the future.
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on 8 January 2009
I'd say this is a must read book for the simple fact that it goes against the grain - no massive back up, expensive equipment or 'fastest, strongest, quickest' just a brilliant understated story. Buy it now!
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on 12 January 2009
This book continues on from "Moods of Future Joys". I loved both books (read my review for the first book). Also, every person I have borrowed these books to, regardless of whether or not they were outdoorsy, adventurous or sporty themselves, loved them too!

If you want a pair of books to get you motivated to help achieve some of those big goals in your life, I'd thoroughly recommend "Moods of Future Joys" and "Thunder and Sunshine".
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on 27 December 2010
This book, Alistair's second volume of his travels by bicycle around the world, along with the first volume are simply outstanding. If you are serious about travelling the world by bicycle then they are mandatory reading. If you prefer the comfort of your sofa or armchair these books will still stir your imagination and curiosity for the world. They are superbly written and compelling reading. Simply brilliant.
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on 27 November 2009
A must for every bicycle lover involved in 1 to 100.000 miles trip around the block or around the world.
It's not a "technical" book but a kind of novel about touring alone, meeting other people and lifestyles.
Extremely well written but "friendly": I'm Italian and my English is not so good, but I've been able to understand 95% of the book without a dictionary!
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on 7 December 2011
I read this book 3 years after it was published, but I am glad that I discovered the writer and his three books on epic journeys on bicycle. This book covers the time period from early to mid 2000s, but the conditions described therein will be relevant even 20 years down the road.

So Alastair Humphreys started his epic journey on bicycle from Ushuaia at the southern tip of Argentina, pedaled along Argentina - Chile borderline on the Andes through Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, took a yatch through Pacific Ocean to Mexico, continued pedaling through western USA, British Columbia (Canada), Alaska, to Siberia through Bearing Strait, into Japan, China and then on to Central Asian Stan countries, over Caucasus, into Turkey, crossing into Europe and through Balkans, Switzerland, France all the way back to his hometown in Yorkshire - over 70,000 kms in total.

This book made Bill Bryson's hike on the Appalachian Trail a mere backyard tourism. I had thought that Sarfraz Khan's hike through Pakistan's and Afghanistan's remotest regions for establishing schools for Greg Mortensen's CAI as narrated in the book 'Stones into School' was adventure at its best. However, Humphrey's cycling super-adventure stands in a league of its own.

Thunder and Sunshine is not only about Humphrey's physical and psychological struggles. It is also about culture that he encounters and describes in detail. He did a brilliant job while describing people and conditions in Siberia, China, and Stan countries.

At the end of his journey, Humphrey regretted that it was coming to an end and just wanted to turn his bike and head to Australia. I was left with the same feeling. Because it was so informative and adventure intense, I wanted the book to never end and wished that Humphrey just continued on.

The two deficiencies I found in the book, but they did not matter much to me, were (1) lack of photographs and (2) errors that needed proof-reading.

I am amazed that Humphrey survived the journey. The odds of elements (during the course of this journey, he endured temperatures ranging from -40 C in Siberia to +45 C in Turkmenistan), rogues, terrorists, murderers, wild animals, wild traffic, etc. were all stacked against him. When people discouraged him to visit countries like Colombia, Pakistan, etc., he thought of creating a company for starting "Dangerous countries tourism'.

I live in Canada and hike and trek with my dogs. I can safely say that this great an adventure truly deserves a lengthy article in National Geographic.
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on 4 December 2009
This is the seond part of Humphries travels around the planet on a bicycle.A must have, if you have read the first
as it caries on from the where the first book leaves you.

Although I do have an interest in cycling, I picked this up as a travel book. I read discovery road a few years ago and was interested to see another viewpoint (and route) of travels around the planet.

Alistair Humphries certainly provides both. His views on the world and its many inhabitants are enlightening, he is both objective and respectful trying hard to keep an open mind and accept others as he finds them and not as he has been told to find them.

I loved the read, loved the journey and enjoyed all of the lessons that the book teaches (intentionally or otherwise).

If I had a criticism, it would be that, like the journey itself, this book represents a huge challenge. Trying to document an entire navigation of our planet in one (or two) books is near on impossible and at some stages (towards the end of the first book) it inevitably feels a little rushed in it's attempt to "wind up"

Perhaps Humphries has a career in publishing extended versions for all those who want to see more "detail" however hum-drum.

In summary, a good choice for those interested in our world, socio-economics, global politics, travel, religion, conflict, geography, sailing or.......bikes
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on 10 June 2008
I bought Alastair's first book and thought it was very good but this book is even better. I read it once then my Japanese partner took it back to Japan so I bought a second copy for myself and am reading it again. It is by far the best book about a cycling trip that has been written in my view and I've read and enjoyed most of Josie Dew's books and Anne Mustoe's books.
My two sons are about Alastair's age so I have bought them each a copy for their birthdays - I believe they will be inspired by it.
That's 4 copies!!! Well worth buying. I'm looking forward to Alastair's talk next week.
Mike Newton
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