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Customer Review

on 5 August 2011
Why cycle home from Siberia? Why not Tokyo, Hong Kong, Sydney? Well, it's not the places that really matter, it's the journey, and one of his mates (who happens to be cycling the world) is due in Siberia soon, so Rob decides to join him for the journey home.
Rob is quite a personable chap although, as he himself admits, he can become quite annoying when he starts going on a Christian kick. Fortunately he, or his editor, have kept the "born again" verbiage to the minimum and we're allowed to enjoy the adventure for what it is. And it's one of those that you're kind of glad he did, while you sat at home reading about it in the comfort of your armchair. I did often wonder what exactly it was that he thought he was getting out of it as the journey continued almost without a serious destination in mind? Mind you, this was probably envy that he was doing something that a lot of us would love to do, just for the simple reason of broadening our limited horizons and seeing if we could.
The journey soon becomes a bit of an obsession as Rob changes and extends his planned route, while his mate branches out on a different road home (largely because the two of them find themselves soon getting on each other's wicks as they try and travel together.)
I had the feeling that some of the journey's chapters could have been books in themselves. Siberia itself could have been padded out with a history of the Road of Bones, Japan is always fascinating, Papua New Guinea an adventure on its own. Four months in Australia, however, probably warranted the four pages it is given. Still, that's a lot more than the thousand mile trek through Thailand and Malaysia gets, which is covered in a paragraph with passing mentions of palm trees and rice fields. Cambodia - there's another book, but the writing is as restless as Rob is on the bike. If he's not pushing on, he's nowhere.
As expected, Rob detours off into Afghanistan against everybody's advice against doing it. This is a challenge he feels, for some reason, he has to take and he spends most of this leg in a state of subdued fear. Once he's across, however, the book speeds towards home, and countries flash past in sentences. Only Iran gets anywhere near a special mention, but at least he takes some time to ruminate on the obnoxious French in the final pages.
In the last chapter, Rob becomes introspective as he wonders what it was all about? Why did he do it? What did he learn? You'll have to read the book to find out, but it's worth doing it.
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4.3 out of 5 stars
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