Top critical review
Does Not Quite Deliver on its Potential
on 27 January 2017
This book is something of a Boy's Own Adventure Story as Dominic Gill tackles the tremendous challenge of tandem riding his way from Alaska to Patagonia. He manages to portray the tough challenges he faces from poor roads, shocking weather, other road users and his misbehaving tandem. He introduces us to some interesting characters along the way and gives us a flavour of how supportive strangers can be during tough times. It is action packed and an adrenaline fix and works very well at this level.
At another level the book is a disappointment. There are very few insights into the countries he travels through - nothing about the history, politics, culture and the author seems to have little curiosity beyond his stoker tandem companions, his next meal and stretching out his limited budget. His attempts to save pesos and dollars along the way feature too much.
The publisher has done the author a disservice by not providing maps among the text. We get villages, towns and cities named frequently but need the maps for greater context. The photographs are a poor selection featuring almost exclusively snaps of the author and his stokers. Given the interesting geography he passes through why not show some images.
I am not criticising Gill's courage or his achievement which are tremendous. This is a review of the book he has written and not the cycle ride he tackled and I expected more given the subject matter at his disposal.