A Bike Ride: 12,000 miles around the world Paperback – 21 May 1992
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"Evocative reading" (Observer)
"Her wry sense of humour is one of the great charms of Lone Traveller" (Daily Telegraph)
AN EX-HEADMISTRESS, A BIKE, AND 12,000 MILESSee all Product description
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Much of this book follows in the footsteps of Alexander the Great across Europe and Asia and it seems that the author is far more comfortable describing the ancient world than revealing her own thoughts and personality. The author doesn't really bring to life the places she visits and the people she meets. There is too much of 'I did this, then that..' kind of writing rather than expanding on the more interesting episodes, which would make for a much more interesting read.
The print and paper quality of the book is poor, making the small number of photos and maps that are included difficult to decipher. I should add that there is not a single photo of the author on the cover or inside the book, which is a strange omission.
In short, probably best to give this one a miss.
However, I was disappointed with the book in one way. The author speaks mainly as a historian, taking the reader on a historical tour of all of the places she visted on her bike. Even by the end of the book, we know very little about the author herself, or her personal feelings. There are several very poor, black-and-white photos of places she visited, but there is not even one photo of her! I would have preferred one photo of her, with her bicycle, anywhere, than all of the other photos she included in the book. I would also have liked her to share more of her personal life with the reader, which she seems to have purposely avoided (In the chapter where she travels through the American Midwest, she comments that Americans seem to discuss their personal problems even with strangers, but indicates that she feels that is an oddity. I found that an interesting comment on American culture, and probably very true, when compared with other cultures, especially the British culture.)
This one issue aside, I found the book inspiring, for a woman of her age, and poor physical condition (at the outset) to have cycled around the world. I read with great interest her descriptions of the people's behavior (both toward her and toward each other) in various places. I was quite surprised by her descriptions of Pakistanis, Indians, and various Americans (as an American myself). I was both surprised and not surprised by her travels across America--it being the hardest place because of the vast, empty distances (particularly in the West).
Disappointingly, the author shared only a few minor details of her life. I am quite a history buff myself, but this book rather overdosed on history. Nevertheless, I did pick up a few interesting historical tidbits. For example, I found it quite interesting that her cycling through Italy was far easier than many other places (in spite of the mountains) because the Romans constructed their roads in such a way as to try to never give up height before reaching the highest point. Therefore, the route gradually climbed, whereas in newer areas (such as America), modern roads repeatedly climb and fall, making it much harder on a cyclist.
Unfortunately the book doesn't quite live up to the feat itself. The book tells much of the history of the places visited. I would have preferred more narrative on the people met, and the emotions of Anne herself. I must admit I skipped a few chapters because I got bored.
Well done on the cycle, but a disappointing book in which I wanted to know more about the author, and was left wanting.
Great but a few more personal angles would have been entertaining.
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There are several levels to this book: Annes journey as travels around the world after having not cycled since she was a...Read more