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46 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A risk well worth taking
Wanting to do the Land's End to John O'Groats (LEJOG) bike ride I looked to the internet for advice and found a website all about George and Ben, two guys who had decided to do the trip in a pretty special way. Starting with nothing but a pair of boxer shorts (each) they did the whole trip relying entirely on the kindness and donations of the people they met. It sounded...
Published on 21 Jun 2012 by robert Evans

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An easy read
I liked the rambling style and the chapters equating to a day's cycle ride.
I did not appreciate the swearing which detracted from my enjoyment of the book.
Published 16 months ago by Allen F Pattrick


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46 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A risk well worth taking, 21 Jun 2012
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This review is from: Free Country: A Penniless Adventure the Length of Britain (Kindle Edition)
Wanting to do the Land's End to John O'Groats (LEJOG) bike ride I looked to the internet for advice and found a website all about George and Ben, two guys who had decided to do the trip in a pretty special way. Starting with nothing but a pair of boxer shorts (each) they did the whole trip relying entirely on the kindness and donations of the people they met. It sounded like the idea of a genius or an idiot so when I found out that one of them had written a book about the whole trip I thought I'd give it a go.

I didn't expect much from the book as doing a trip is one thing, but writing about it takes a different kind of skill and a different kind of stamina. However, I reckon Mr Mahood has cracked it. The book is funny, totally engrossing and actually quite moving. There's just something simple and direct about the writing that brings the trip back to life right there in front of you. Maybe it's the sheer riskiness of having to ask complete strangers for food, accommodation, clothes and even bikes that pulls you in. It's hard enough to ask for anything nowadays in our ordered, atomised, urban lives, but these two succeed in pulling out not only the generosity of the people they meet, but sometimes the most bizarre and interesting stories.

When you finish it you will want to do the whole trip yourself. I know I do.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny, uplifting and oddly gripping, 19 Jun 2012
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This review is from: Free Country: A Penniless Adventure the Length of Britain (Kindle Edition)
Genuinely could not put this one down. The urge to see what sort of adventure would face the boys next as they traversed the length of Britain on nothing but wit and charm was irresistible. Wonderful little stories about the many people they meet along the way, as well as every joyous moment and sodden grumble. Very entertainingly written, and truly inspirational in an era when trust seems a rare commodity. Probably the most fun I've ever had for 1:53
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm amazed they made it!, 8 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Free Country: A Penniless Adventure the Length of Britain (Kindle Edition)
I'm not sure which is the most remarkable achievement: cycling 1,000 miles, starting without a bike, clothes, food or accommodation or writing about the adventure in such an amusing and engrossing way. One thing is for sure, I'm surprised Ben and George made it and in such relative comfort too! How on earth did they manage to blag their way into staying a night at such places as top hotels, cosy Bed and Breakfasts, barns and a narrow boat barge? They must have lots of charm and look incredibly honest, even when looking rough, strangely dressed and no doubt smelling a bit too! In the the same circumstances, I think I'd be sleeping in a ditch with an empty stomach and no bike at my side!
I loved the narrow boat story because that happened only a few miles from where I live and it was great to see my home area written about. I'm glad we were so generous. Yes, George, I live in the area where you were getting confused about whether you were in England or Wales. Your confusion was understandable- even the locals get confused as to where the very convoluted border is. And at least you got to sleep in a boat.
What interesting characters Ben and George met on the way, from helpful old ladies, shop assistants and students, to "hitman" Ronnie, two would-be thieving deaf boys and a pair of delightful Llama farmers. And they didn't cycle all the time. They took time out from their struggle with The Falcon, Pinky and others, to watch a film, take a slow speed boat round a lake, visit Robbie Burns' cottage(at least it was warm), look out for the Loch Ness Monster and go whisky tasting, still without spending any money. Quite brilliant and it really does say a lot about the generosity of the British that they managed it.
Told with a great sense of humour and a wry smile at themselves (the strange array of clothes they were desperate enough to wear was very, very funny...bin bags and tiny wellies included) this is a well written and entertaining read. Well done, George and Ben. Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book to lose yourself in., 16 July 2014
Travelling in South East Asia and Skydiving in New Zealand are common fodder when it comes to exciting adventures, but doing something original makes for the best stories, and that’s just what George Mahood’s ‘Free Country’ provides.

George and his mate Ben embark on an end to end journey of Great Britain starting in only a pair of Union Jack boxers, and attempt to make the 1000 mile journey without spending a single penny. The result of this is stories such as ending up sleeping next to bulls in a farm barn, singing Christmas carols for food in the middle of summer, and other little moments which genuinely made me laugh. The book is one of the first I’ve read for a long time for pleasure and is one I can whole heartedly recommend because of the laughs it provides but also the warm hearted gooiness the reader feels from the realisation that on our fair isles, there really are some great people out there.

The masterstroke of ‘Free Country’ comes from the relate ability of the two main ‘characters’ the book focuses on. The adventure is recalled from George’s perspective, who comes across the more reasoned of the pair, whereas his friend Ben comes across with a slightly shorter fuse. Both are young, and just out to do something a bit different because they have the time. Further to this, the adventure is one almost anybody could recreate as it is without cost, unlike a trip to Thailand or New Zealand, meaning when reading, I couldn’t help but imagine myself in the same situation.

The brilliance is writing was never the point of the journey and as such is written by a person the reader is likely to have a similar individual within their own friendship group. The result is one can relate with their experiences; getting lost in the places they are and meeting the people they meet.

‘Free Country’ is not designed to bend the mind in an ‘da Vinci Code’-esque manner, but instead is just a book that allows a moment of escapism following the journey of two normal lads in circumstances many have the ability to create, but barely anyone actually does. This is driven home at the end with the realisation the book is self-published, which for anyone needing any more reason to give it a go, should offer further incentive, because the plucky courage to both embark on the adventure and also publish the book are admirable.

If you’re looking for something to read over summer by the poolside or commuting on the train, this is a perfect book to cheer you up and put a smile on your face. And at the end of the day, what can be better than that?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a Story!, 1 April 2014
This review is from: Free Country: A Penniless Adventure the Length of Britain (Kindle Edition)
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. This was a very amusing account of a rather amazing journey. You would think the tale of one day's cycling would be the same as the next. Far from it! Every day was different - and interesting. The desire to read on was not motivated by the need to reach the end, but to see what each succeeding day would bring.

A great achievement Mr Mahood - both the journey and the book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A superb read, 2 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Free Country: A Penniless Adventure the Length of Britain (Kindle Edition)
As the father of a first time self published book (as they slept) I have been reading many first time authors and have to say I found this a truly wonderful book and look forward with great anticipation to reading the next book
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Move over 'Le Tour', 'Le Jog' is here., 28 July 2014
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This review is from: Free Country: A Penniless Adventure the Length of Britain (Kindle Edition)
It has a great opening line - "We were standing in our pants on the end of Britain". I downloaded it for holiday reading and finished it over the first weekend. The book puts you in the right frame of mind for a holiday. It makes you laugh and smile as their adventure propels you northwards through Britain. If you live or have lived or have family/friends that live on the route then it becomes a bit more personal as you wouldn't want places that you are familiar with letting them down. I'm happy to know that at Frodsham (where my sister lives) they were given plenty of help at the leisure centre and even better, in Carlisle (where I was born) they were helped by a hitman. Brilliant! On returning from holiday I diverted off the M6 to drive through the market town of Milnthorpe. There was no market that day but its nice to know that it can have one if it wants to. As you can gather, the book is written with plenty of wit / humour / sarcasm but it is the generosity and enthusiasm of the British public who help them throughout their adventure which is the real star.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mad, mad, mad, 29 April 2014
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This review is from: Free Country: A Penniless Adventure the Length of Britain (Kindle Edition)
I loved every word of this book! What a mad pair they are - I would have loved to have seen them leaving from Lands End. What a sight that would have been.I am in awe of George's style of writing. So. so funny had me laughing out loud well into the night. I enjoyed reading about all their adventures, it is heart-warming to know there are so many nice people about.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring, 4 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Free Country: A Penniless Adventure the Length of Britain (Kindle Edition)
I loved the premise of the book and I felt like I cycled every mile with the two lads. this book was funny and awe inspiring at the same time. I liked the authors sense of humour and worth as well I guess. couldn't recommend it highly enough
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Uplifting, 4 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Free Country: A Penniless Adventure the Length of Britain (Kindle Edition)
A cheery ride through Britain. You make your own luck and these two made plenty. To cycle the distance s that they achieved on unsuitable bikes is an achievement in itself without having to find the energy to blag everything along the way. Told with self-deprecating humour that made me smile throughout and occasionally wake the wife with laughter.
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