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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Watch the film, then read the book and understand much more...
Tom set off on an adventure with two mates from the Midlands and the possibly naive intention to mountain bike around the World rather than get a 'proper job'. What happened over the next 3 or 4 years was as much about self discovery as miles covered and places visited, and was far from what he had intended/envisioned.

I've followed Tom Allen's blog for the...
Published on 7 Mar. 2013 by UnInspired Ramblings

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3.0 out of 5 stars Bicycle Warrior!
Enjoyed it. Started reading it in woods (camping) near Alexandra, New Zealand while cycle touring. Finished it in Wimborne, England!

Would have liked a few photos. But then, that's just me wanting a visualisation. Will get the movie.

Thanks.
Published 23 months ago by Nigel


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Watch the film, then read the book and understand much more..., 7 Mar. 2013
Tom set off on an adventure with two mates from the Midlands and the possibly naive intention to mountain bike around the World rather than get a 'proper job'. What happened over the next 3 or 4 years was as much about self discovery as miles covered and places visited, and was far from what he had intended/envisioned.

I've followed Tom Allen's blog for the past year or two as he tried to turn 3 or 4 years of video footage and notes taken into a full length film and book. Despite the challenges of doing this independantly, he has managed to produce something wonderful. I love the film and still find it inspiring and funny after having seen it 3 or 4 times. But the book gives so much more. Even in the film, which is by definition limited to the footage that was taken, Tom manages to put across a very honest and personal account of his motivations. Of the joys and challenges of such a trip. Of loneliness and companionship. Of the humbling friendship of complete strangers. Of the difficulties in finding out that perhaps the plan you've been obsessing over isn't the only plan.

But in the book he is able to communicate this to a much greater degree. I've read books about cycle trips that are very much of the 'On day 97 we cycled from A to B covering 80 miles. I felt tired.' ilk. Janapar is not that book. It's about an adventure. It's about personal motivation and challenge. It's about seeking something more meaningful than the daily 9-5 that most people get sucked into. And it's about finding things you didn't expect in the places you least expected them.

Tom writes eloquently, honestly and with great self-awareness (after the event at least!). Janapar is a joy to read and will make you want to quit your job, pack a bag and cycle off on a voyage of discovery. That's what I'm going to do. Thanks Tom (I think!).
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very honest, beautifully written account of one man versus himself, 3 May 2013
I should state for reasons of candour that I am a friend of the writer, but should also say that in times past we have been very blunt with each other and wholeheartedly disagree on a wide variety of subjects. I do, therefore, feel that I can review this book with a certain degree of objectivity.
I finished it in less than a week, sometimes cursing slightly under my breath at Tom's habit of conjuring awkwardness from thin air. He sometimes comes across like a magician who keeps shoving the rabbit back in the hat because it's the wrong colour - everything goes well but it's not the sort of well he wanted. This dictatorial attitude to fortune, however, is whittled away, sliver by sliver, by circumstances, and the reader realizes that, just like the writer, what he thought he was getting himself into is nothing like what he will find himself coming out of.
That is the beauty of this book. Tom is nothing if not brutally honest, and never more so than with himself. His prejudices, lack of preparation and outbursts are all candidly dealt with, laying bare the vulnerable side of someone I thought I knew rather well, and this only makes the love-story narrative of the book that much more engaging. His ignorance of many of the places he visits might strike some as naïve, or even arrogant - particularly those who count themselves well-travelled, and say that they have "done" somewhere, who memorise long factoids plucked from a book, who quote what someone else said about the place and then agree with or destroy that opinion based on their own meagre experience - but Tom's unflinching lack of compromise with regard to his way of doing things is admirable, and wonderfully moving when you realize just how much the journey means to him, and how much it might mean to give it up.
This is no chuck-away, look-wot-I-did-Mum tale of a 1st Worlder finding himself, but an excellently crafted, beautifully written story of one man and his bike, and who they meet along the way. And while the book is of itself a very satisfying read, you are left in no doubt that Tom is not yet done with his journey.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great, heartwarming story - can't wait to watch the film!, 7 Mar. 2013
As both a keen cyclist and someone who has spent many months on the road in lots of the countries Tom covered, this book seemed to speak directly to me.
I found myself nodding along with so many of the situations the author describes so eloquently and it made me pine for the open road once again.

Travel books can have a tendency to fall into the, "and then we went here, and then we went here..." trap but the multiple story-arcs going on during this trip ensures that you're always engaged and wondering what will come next.

The author also came across as refreshingly honest - from the initial highs and 'arrogance of ignorance' from the preparation and early days to the inevitable team squabbles and other low points.

If you're vaguely interested in travel or adventure then check out this very English kind of story but be warned: it'll probably make you want to quit your job and hit the road on two wheels!

Great job Tom!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not any old cycling story...., 11 Mar. 2013
There are millions of self help books... there are hundreds of cycling books... there are gazillions of love stories! There is one Janapar. Tom writes not only with beautiful language, but with a stark and brave honesty that made me feel like I had gone on the journey with him.
Finishing the last sentence in the book - I felt like I wanted to start it again. Filled with humour, life and inspiring observations this is a must read for anyone who wants to live their life.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book, inspirational and unique, 18 April 2013
Despite being an avid follower of Tom's blog [...] I didn't know quite what to expect from his book. I have read "world tour" travel writings before and found many struggle to capture the sense of place & inner thoughts and emotions, and consequently are either self-indulgent or a glorified tourist brochure.

I am thrilled to say not so for this book. I found it a fascinating and enlightening read, which covers varied topics and diverse landscapes and cultures. As a touring cyclist myself I found I could relate to Tom's world view and empathized with the journey he embarked on. I found the shift in world view he experienced along the way to be revealing and the structure of the book allowed a rare view on inner thoughts and feelings, despite his traveling alone for much of the trip.

I recommend (and do all the time in the real world!) this book to anyone interested in an honest, refreshing and page-turning window into the simple life of long-distance cycling. Non-cyclists will be converted and two-wheel aficionados will be reconfirmed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Readable, thoughtful and self-aware, 3 Nov. 2013
By 
I bought the book from the author Tom Allen after the screening at Roll for the Soul in Bristol, partly because it seems like the right thing to do to support self-publishing, self-employed authors like this, a bit like tipping the waiter. I was very pleased at how well written the book was (it's his first book, though he's blogged a fair bit), and I would definitely recommend this to anyone, not just cycling/adventure fans (though it does come with a risk that it may inspire you to set out on your own adventure!). Very enjoyable, & highly readable (I finished it in a day).

Incidentally the book is also well designed (cover and inside typography) and well edited, much higher standard than the average self-published book. I saw that he ran a successful Kickstarter to raise money to pay for professional services in these areas, and I have to say it really shows (and I hope this isn't just special pleading as an ex-boook publisher!).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Genuinely engrossing and inspirational tale, 18 April 2013
Written with humour, honesty and a infectious sense of passion, Janapar was a delight to read. Having seen the film footage prior to reading the book I can only give me opinion from that stance, but felt that the book added real depth and new insight to areas where the film whet my appetite. I felt that this allowed me to gain a far greater appreciation of the lessons Tom learnt on his journey.

With its time scale transitions and swift, but not racing-past-the-details pacing, Janapar held my focus as a reader well. Tom's vivid portrayal of the characters met and places visited on his ride (and what great variety of them!) really helped me become absorbed into the tale.

Whether searching for a tale of adventure, travel, cycling or romance, Janapar is a book with wide appeal that rightly deserves attention.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A strange book, but intimately enjoyable., 19 April 2013
By 
D. Speck (Bradford, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Firstly, I got this book because of my love of cycling and because I love reading.

Initially I was slightly disappointed with the book because it wasn't just about cycling, but cycling, life, love and a bit of everything else life has to offer.

I picked up the book again about a month later and read it again. I realised the problem wasn't with the book, but my preconcived ideas about it.

I read the book again with a better understanding of what the author was trying to achieve. It's a great book, well written, and Tom Allen takes you on a rollercoster of emotions. It made me smile, cry, sad and laugh.

You know when you get that rare, but horrible and sad feeling of nearing the end of a very good book, and never want it to end. I got it with this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring - take to the road, 18 April 2013
By 
Mr. R. Tabner "snax" (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Browsing the web moons ago I found Tom's blog, and I was gripped. Possibly one of the best written blogs on cycling, life, love and travel you will find. Then he realised a film... it followed the same quality as his blog... so it was only natural that the book was even better... bringing the best of his writing, honed over the years of blog writing and combining it with the visual elements of the film to give the best book out there on Cycling and Love...

Janapar is a story of the love of cycling and travel which is turned on it's head when the cyclist falls in love... but its so much more than a love story, its an inspirational read for anyone who loves to travel, peddle or dream...
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5.0 out of 5 stars An inspiring story of life, love, and soul-searching, 22 Nov. 2013
I was introduced to Janapar - and in turn Tom - through an acquaintance in December of 2012. The film was relatively new to the masses, and I was happy to be a (somewhat) early adopter.

Earlier in my life, I had considered setting out on an adventure-cycling tour of Canada over the course of a few months. That quickly fell away to life's "necessities": post-secondary education, working, making money, etc. And until Janapar, I felt that that dream was behind me, lost in the responsibilities and obligations of life. Through Tom's experiences portrayed in his film, and in much more thrilling detail, in his book, he has proven that life is what you make it. The accepted and defined path that so many people base their lives on is really just a guide; it is up to us to decide if we want to follow that path, or venture off into the unknown. Because of this, I have been inspired to explore my life's unknown in my own way, which is more than I could ever expect to take away from another's story.

Some early criticisms claim that the movie and book are too disjointed; many short stories with no definite endings, put together in a haphazard way. To this I say, that's the way this story SHOULD be. On one hand, Tom has always been very open that he was initially very uncomfortable on camera, not knowing what to say, or even really the story he was trying to tell. It's a testament to James Newton's talent that he was able to take the many hours of material that Tom initially had little faith in and piece together the story that now exists. On the other hand, Tom's publicized experience was about LIFE. It can sometimes seem disjointed, sporadic, and sometimes unfinished. His story is a part of his life, and remains an ongoing development, much of which will remain private to him. For those that need the resolution, that finality of of a Hollywood film, don't hold your breath, but still watch/read it. But for those who are interested in a story as fleeting, complicated, and "unfinished" as life, do yourself a favour: watch the movie, read the book, and go on your own adventure.
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