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Cycling Back to Happiness: Adventure on the North Sea Cycle Route Paperback – 28 Apr 2008

3.7 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 290 pages
  • Publisher: Pen Press Publishers (28 April 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1906206716
  • ISBN-13: 978-1906206710
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 2.2 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 624,479 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

An uplifting tale of one man's battle with his inner demons
-- LANCASTER CITIZEN

Bernie's startlingly honest peeks into the darkest corners of his own fractured mind are contrasted with many painfully funny observations -- YORK POST

Candid, heart-warming and hilarious -- LONDON CYCLIST

Funny, uplifting and a real eye-opener for those who have never enjoyed the delights of northern Europe and Scandinavia -- BIRMINGHAM MAIL

The bravest book we've read this year -- ADVENTURE TRAVEL MAGAZINE

This book rivals the work of names far better known in this genre -- CYCLING WORLD

With a well-tuned nose for nutters, Bernie sniffs out the strange characters who populate the coastal route and discovers the healing power of travel along the way -- SOUTHEND ECHO

Synopsis

'Don't let your biggest fears stand in the way of your dreams, even if your biggest dreams happen to be your biggest fears.' That was exactly Bernie Friend's attitude when he ditched medication and group therapy to overcome a very unwanted companion - paranoia. A complete novice to long distance cycling, Bernie confronted many demons on his epic journey - a coastal cycle route which circles 6,000 kilometres of the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Scotland and England.Arm wrestling drunken trawlermen, a geriatric half marathon, Viking bring-and-buy sales, decapitated pirates, burning witches, Shakin' Stevens mega mixes, sea crossing motorways, walking sand giants and remote islands most people can't even be bothered to mark on a map are just some of the secrets coughed up by this adventure. Michael Palin and Bill Bryson watch out! Bernie's very personal story told in an easy-going travelogue style will have you hooked from start to finish. This is hugely entertaining and downright inspirational!

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I'm not a fanatical cyclist by any means, but I have come round to the idea of ditching the steering wheel for handlebars more and more, egged on by much keener friends, and fancied dabbling in a travel story powered by two-wheels.
A colleague of mine who is a much more serious wheel-turner pointed me in the direction of this book and I have to say it was good advice, especially for the trainee biker.
There is a lot of difficult scene setting over the first 30 odd pages, punctuated with self-deprecating laughs, but once that is all out the way a very fluid journey unfolds.
I couldn't believe just how many very differing places and landscapes were so close at hand. The book has certainly inspired me to persevere with the pedalling and maybe even take on a cycling adventure of my own.
The best thing of all for me is that the writer is just a plain guy, who lives a normal life, and just wanted to do something different, special even, but within his own personal limitations.
The fact he undertook thousands of kms on a bike as a complete novice, without months of gruelling (and impossible) training regimes makes it all so more achieveable for all of us. Never mind the Spandex... Anyone can do it!!!
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Format: Paperback
Hello . Well im sorry but i found this book a right let down . I thought the guy would give me a description of his adventures cycling around the whole of the North sea route . 6000kms Only he didnt do it !!! Why has nobody said this ?? He got to Norway and bottled out!! Sorry but Im off to finish my book about my adventure climbing up the south face of everest Its a short book as i could be bothered to get out my tent as it was a bit cold!!
I cycled 1200 miles Lands end to john O groats in 15 days but I didnt write a book maybe I should have
Sorry to be so negative but I feel cheated
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Format: Paperback
Inspired to literally get on his bike following the tragic death of his mum, Bernie Friend, author of Cycling Back to Happiness, is not your typical travel writer.
An exhausting 6,000 kilometer cycle ride around the coasts of the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Scotland and England would be a daunting task for the fittest survivalist.
For Bernie, a lifelong hypochondriac with a morbid fear of dying horribly on foreign soil, it was an immense challenge.
Travel-phobic Bernie can't set foot on a plane, finds boats a terrifying prospect, and hasn't cycled since childhood. But in a last-ditch bid to take control of his fears he sets out from his home in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, on an epic adventure with just a borrowed bike and a one-man tent for company.
With his well-tuned nose for nutters, Bernie soon sniffs out the strange characters who populate the coastal route and discovers the healing power of travel along the way.
Bernie is joined in Germany by a travelling companion. While Phileas Fogg had Passepartout and Ewan McGregor had Charley Boorman, Bernie is saddled with agoraphobic hermit Rhys as a peddaling partner.
Together they cycle on through Scandinavia, the perfect double act of tortured souls seeking a pine-scented salvation in the land of trolls and Vikings.
The result is an uplifting tale of one man's battle with his inner demons.
Bernie's startlingly honest peeks into the darkest corners of his own fractured mind are contrasted with many painfully funny observations on the weird and wonderful people and places that cling to the coastal journey around the North Sea.
Join Bernie on his journey, and be inspired to face your own fears head-on.
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Format: Paperback
A heart warming story and a brave feat for someone with such a debilitating anxiety.
When you realise that Mr Friend tackled this journey nursing a lot of personal heartache it made the trip an even bigger success.
He didn't complete the whole route, only getting as far as Norway, which was still nearly 3,000km, but this is all about the inner journey and finding mental strength in tackling your biggest fears and demons.
The fact he seemed to manage this left me feeling pleased for someone best described as a complete novice cyclist. Well done and thanks for sharing!!!
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Format: Paperback
As someone who loves travelogues, especially cycling ones I found this book up there with the best.

This book is as much about the author and his self discovery than it is about the places he visits on his travels. It really is a journey of self discovery and an uplifting and humourous one too.
It may be that it's a generation thing but being a similar age to Bernie I could relate to his humour and many of his feelings.
Simply put - If you're an armchair cyclist and frustrated traveller I doubt you'll find a much better book this year.
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Format: Paperback
Unlike some reviewers I felt this book worked better when the author was taking us through his emotional struggles. It was less enjoyable when he started to shoe-horn jokey asides and cliches into every other sentence, and the narrative started to get a bit too "sixth-form magazine". The reader's experience also isn't helped by the absence of a decent editor/proof-reader. Countless spelling and grammatical errors have escaped undetected - unforgivable for a published book.

I was certainly inspired to put the route (some, not all!) on my wish list of trips for the future.
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