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on 13 April 2013
In the summer of 2012 Andi traveled to Switzerland with her bike and four yellow panniers then cycled and camped solo across Switzerland and France via the Swiss and French Alps, Jura and Vosges Mountains and through the Champagne region up to Calais before returning to the UK, some 2000km in total.

There are two striking things about this book. One is the passion that Andi has for climbing steep, very steep, hills! The other is that Andi is a lone female cyclist. Now I don't mean that in a sexist way, she is a lot braver, fitter and tougher than I am.

What I am getting at is that female cyclist authors seem to me to see the world slightly differently which I really like. The first book I read by a female cyclist was `It's not about the Tapas' by Polly Evans and, although I cannot put my finger on what I mean, she and Andi see things differently to the way male authors do. I just don't know what it is but I do like it.

There are some truly great moments of personal achievement in this book. Starting with the planning of the initial traveling to Switzerland including being treated as a bomb wielding terrorist on the Eurostar (I would have given up at that point) through to combating weather going from thunderstorms to heat waves. Not only that but language barriers and hills, big hills. Did I mention the authors insane passion for climbing over mountains on a laden bike?

There is humour, clever observation, detailed descriptions and photo realistic images written in the words of this book. Obviously, Andi is no stranger to cycling both at home and abroad and it probably had something to do with cycling the Yorkshire Dales that made her set her sights on the Alps as a `bit of a challenge'.

I don't like to put spoilers into reviews but there is one bit while slowly pedalling up a mountain pass where she realises that she does not appear to be gaining on some walkers ahead the going is so slow. I love little details like this.

This book is full of moments like that and the spirit lifting cheers of ordinary people who are sightseeing at the top of these amazing mountain roads. The support of other cyclists in France and the barely visible curt nods of the cyclists in Switzerland.

The wonderful descriptions of the campsites she visits and the people she met on them had me in stitches at times. No one to book you in and need the loo? Call the Police and let them sort it, and they did! One odd thing though was the closer I got to the final chapters, the more I craved a simple omelette with chips. You will need to buy the book and read it to find out why.

All in all, a very well written book that will have you flipping the pages to keep up with her at times and others where you would want to stay awhile and enjoy the serenity. A very good book and I hope there will be more to come.
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on 17 October 2013
Having undertaken a couple of small tours of my own I know that in this book Andi has captured the spirit and emotion that one finds out alone upon a bicycle.
It also enables the reader to "be there with her" and cannot fail to inspire others to give cycle touring a go.
If that were not enough I purchased this book thinking it would be a good filler for those moments when I didn't`t have the time to indulge in a chapter of the heavier volumes I have. HOW WRONG I was. Once I started I couldn't stop - just like cycle touring - addictive.
Worth the purchase for chapter 47 alone!
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on 19 October 2013
I'd highly recommended this book. I am no cyclist but I now have an insatiable need to go out and buy a bike (and possibly cycle halfway across Europe).

Lonnen's writing style is a breath of fresh air that provides an insight, often humorous and very real experience of an inspired and enviable trip.

More books should be written like this.
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on 23 June 2016
This book is not well written and very repetitive. The author comes across as very smug and self satisfied, congratulating herself at every given opportunity. It reads more like an Enid Blyton style diary with a very limited vocabulary. The same descriptions about having a wonderful shower/ delicious cup of tea/cooking scrumptious dinner, are repeated on a daily basis.
Her endless comments about her fabulous delicious healthy breakfasts and amazing delicious tasty vegetables and more stunning vegetables, leaving her "fully replete with all the delicious food" drive you mad. She "chirpily checks in" to the amazing, fantastic campsites, where everything is "a lovely and unexpected treat" and makes her "absolutely ecstatic". All she surveys is endlessly delightful, fantastic and brilliant. Even camping in totally soaked and frozen conditions is met with raptures of lovely delight, gratitude and amazement......
Got halfway before it did my head in.
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on 18 August 2013
Being a keen cyclist, I've often wondered what it would be like to go away somewhere beautiful, just me and my bike. Andi provides inspiration, education and a light hearted tale of her amazing travels- can't wait to hear of her next trip!
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on 25 February 2013
To plan and then execute an epic ride such as this requires such commitment, strength of character and passion. To cycle alone for six weeks shows the power of mind over matter and determination. Andi's trip is described both in a useful way for other cycle tourers, but also relating the personal journey that she went on as she pedalled. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and would heartily recommend it to other expedition lovers, cycling fans or those who enjoy autobiographical books. I think that it will inspire others to have the confidence to undertake a similar adventure, albeit perhaps not as a birthday present to oneself! Congratulations, Andi, on such a fantastic ride but also an inspirational book.
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on 20 February 2013
....both the cycle ride itself and the writing are great achievements. The author makes both seem effortless when clearly they are not. Real quality like a David Gower flick to the legside boundary or a Bobby Moore tackle look easy and make the ordinary spectator believe they can do it just as well. This book has the same result. It just makes you want to get out and ride!

The writer conveys such positivity and such faith in humankind that it is uplifting and a real antidote to the woes of modern life. Based on this book, I have no doubt she will be a success in her post-tour career - good luck to her!

PS I could have done without all the fluffy couscous though!
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on 1 September 2015
The author's gushing style and description of her journey, took some getting used to. But if anyone ever had doubts about cycle camping, especially in a small tent, they could toss them away, after digesting Andi's endless accounts of the various sites and people she came across. Obviously her positive attitude and sheer over-excitement helped from the outset, and in particular, those mountains. Though it defies belief to climb on a ridiculously laden bike. Her index of items carried read like an entire Decathlon catelogue. However, a well written travelogue, though more like a personal journal, lacking in important details of French culture.
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on 14 November 2013
I have read this book twice; once before my own cycle trip and once after and it is still a firm favourite of mine.

This is a great book. So many cycle touring books end up as tourist guides to an area (the cycling becoming secondary) and I then tend to "switch off". I enjoy reading more about the cycling challenge and the logistics. This book covered these things in a warm and relaxing style.

Also, what a gutsy thing for a solo female cyclist to do. The only thing that doesn't appeal is the camping in the rain!!
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on 8 August 2013
I normally don't bother if there is alot of reviews as the reviews already say what it's about, but for this book I had to write one just to say I would highly recommend it .The best £1.99 I've spent and I'm gutted the book is finished now .
A great read and inspiring too .Made me want to put the panniers on my bike and head for France .
It is great for tips for anyone thinking about travelling to France and Switzerland .
Hope it won't be long until the author has another trip to write about
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