Top positive review
Bird on a Bike
on 18 January 2014
I have to admit to being slightly baffled at the beginning of Jill Maden's book as to why she thought she could do her 2 wheeled Round Australia trip in the first place. She didn't appear to have done any research,have a clue what to take or even be able to ride a bike safely in conditions that a bit of research would have shown her she'd come across.While having ridden long distances before she seemed a menace to herself and other road users as she wobbled off on her trip trying to avoid gravel roads in Australia,a bit like trying to get through Stevenage without encountering a roundabout and causing massive tailbacks as she tip-toe'd around the twisty bits at bicycle speeds.While I respect her guts in taking on such a challenge I feared for her in any number of ways as she struggled to park her machine let alone ride it and hadn't bothered to get to know the bike she was relying on to get her around the Continent in one piece as the ~"oil light" incident shows,Jill that little episode could have left you with a wrecked motor and it's not rocket science.It's very obvious that Jill wasn't enjoying the experience at all and a good part of the beginning of her tale is negative descending into full on doom and gloom.
Thankfully,as I was tiring of our Heroine rapidly being an experienced enough rider to know that most of her woes were self-inflicted,she gets over her fears,starts to gel with her bike instead of fighting it(you'll never win that one) and gains massively in confidence.
OK so the above sounds pretty negative,so was the start of the book and it started to grate on me until Jill gets into the flow of the journey and realises her capabilities,from then on we share the enjoyment and excitement she feels at the places she sees and the people she meets.
Actually I think that's kind of the point,Jill had tried a few things in life and like the rest of us had been rewarded with a few kicks in the teeth which seemed to colour her outlook on all kinds of things.She comes across as a very nice person enlightened by what us old hands know as the camaraderie on the road.I've met so many amazing people in life purely because I've parked my bike somewhere next to another one and we've started talking.
I've read a lot of bike travel books and this is an easy read from someone who can write well enough for us feel as if we've got to know her very well by the last page.A lot of the early drama could have been solved by more sensible packing,researching her choice bike before picking it up,a bit of extra riding training and more suitable riding gear,there's really no need to get wet these days.Of course then it would have been a different story.
A good read narrated by someone who comes across as amiable and pleasant company.