Book review – Miles From Nowhere, by Barbara Savage

Miles  From Nowhere,  by Barbara Savage

The very short version is that this is a book about a round-the-world bike ride. That description, while true, doesn’t come remotely close to doing this book justice! Published in 1983, it tells the story of how Barbara Savage and her husband Larry Savage, set off to first ride across the USA, then the world. Like the best long-distance tales, theirs wasn’t a race at all.

Solitude

Most ultra-distance cyclists speak of enjoying the solitude. When cycling with your husband or wife, it can place an enormous additional strain on the relationship. Savage was extremely honest about all this, and at various points in the book details major rows they had. As an extremely gifted writer, Savage’s writing style is extremely easy to read, and her excellent sense of humour shines through the entire book. In places, she had me in fits of laughter – just wait till she regales you with how her sphincter was scared shut, during a bout of diarrhoea!

Open  and  honest

This book pulls no punches. It doesn’t sugar coat the experience of cycling around the world. From a run-in with a bear looking into their tent while they’re inside, to improvised toilet facilities in developing nations, it is a fascinating insight into what long-distance cycle-touring used to be like in the pre-digital age. Savage’s endearing writing style will overpower you, so you’ll find it very hard to put this book down.

Sadness

In the book, Savage hints at future cycle tours she and her husband still wanted to do, including all of South America, as well as Africa. I made a mental note to go search for more of her books, as I absolutely loved reading this one. It was when I finished reading the book that I found the foot note saying that Savage died in a bicycle crash, after being hit by a driver in her native California, just as the book was being readied for publication. In her honour, her publishers and her husband set up the Barbara Savage award for unpublished, non-fiction adventure writers. You may want to go look at some of the award winners’ books.

See also  Book review - All Downhill From Here

Verdict

This is one of the very best cycling adventure books I ever read. Not only do I highly recommend it, I urge you to try and find a copy to read. I have no doubt you will love reading this every bit as much as I have. You can get new copies of the book from Mountaineers Books.

1 thought on “Book review – Miles From Nowhere, by Barbara Savage”

  1. Hi Will, I agree this is one of the best cycle adventure books that I have read. I first read it back in the mid 1980s and within a few years had set off on my own travels. Such a tragic end to the book. I often think about Barbara when cycling and wonder how Larry rebuilt his life after her death.
    Thank you for reviewing this excellent book
    Best wishes
    Peter

    Reply

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