Will’s Bookshelf – great cycle touring books

Will’s  Bookshelf

Reading a good book is one of the best things in the world. If you cannot go on a particular adventure yourself, then you can still vicariously share in someone else’s adventure, by reading about it.
Here are a number of books mostly about cycle touring, from my bookshelf. I suspect you will enjoy them as much as I have.

The books are listed in the reverse order I reviewed them, so the first one is the most recent book I reviewed on here.

  • Book review – Wild Camping the Wild Atlantic Way
    Every traveller’s journey is unique to them, and is a snapshot in time. This book tells the story of when I cycled the bottom half of Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way. If I had to cycle exactly the same route today, I’d end up with a completely new, and different experience. This is my adventure, and when you go cycle the route (and you really should!) your adventure will be different again. This is not going to be like … Read more
  • This Road I Ride – Juliana Buhring
    In this world, very few people truly get to be trailblazers. Juliana Buhring is one of those few people. This Road I Ride tells the story of Buhring’s record-breaking round-the-world bike ride. If you’re a man, you may not like me saying this, but Buhring is an exceptionally tough person – likely far tougher than what you or me could ever be. That toughness she displayed physically, but more importantly, also through serious mental strength. Cult Born into … Read more
  • Book review – How To Cycle Canada The Wrong Way
    How To Cycle Canada The Wrong Way is a book about cycle touring across Canada, written by Lorraine Lambert, who also has a blog here, and I suggest you go read that. The Wrong Way? Like just about anywhere on earth, Canada has prevailing winds, and those mostly blow from west to east. Lambert cycled across Canada, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, which is east to west. As a result, she had weeks of battling very strong … Read more
  • Coffee First, Then The World
    Coffee First, Then The World, by Jenny Graham When you read stories by people who cycled around the world, you quickly learn that doing so is an enormous achievement. When it is done solo, it becomes an even bigger achievement. When done as a woman, riding on her own, unsupported, it becomes monumentous. Finally, when that rider also set a new world record for the fastest woman to cycle around the world, it’s absolutely mind-blowing. And that is … Read more
  • Book review – All Downhill From Here
    All  Downhill  From  Here,  by  Paul  Waters This book tries to be both a “hilarious” account of the author’s JOGLE (John O’Groats to Land’s End) ride, as well as a “How to” guide, for those aspiring to do the same. Waters’ writing style will be enjoyed by some, but I’m not in that crowd. Instead, I found the constant attempts at being funny quite grating, and he came across as that annoying “cheeky chappy” in the pub. You … Read more
  • 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 … Read more
  • Book review: The Slow Road To Teheran
    The  Slow  Road  To  Teheran,  by  Rebecca  Lowe I’ll freely admit I absolutely love books that tell the tale of daring, long-distance cycling adventures. A good book like that tells the story of a fantastic cycling adventure. A great book like that tells the story in such a way that cycling, though central to the story at all times, isn’t actually the focus of the book. A wonderful book does all that, and tells you a great deal about the … Read more
  • Book Review: Travels With Rosinante, by Bernard Magnouloux
    If you cannot go on an amazing adventure, such as spending five years cycling around the world, then at least you can share in the adventure others have had, by reading a book they wrote about their adventure. This is what makes cycle touring books so brilliant to read: we get to share vicariously in the adventures of others. Travels With Rosinante tell the story of when Bernard Magnouloux set off to cycle around the world. He’s a … Read more
  • Book Review – Signs Of Life, by Stephen Fabes
    Signs Of Life tells the story of when Stephen Fabes quit his job as a medical doctor to cycle around the world. Like any good travel journal, Fabes doesn’t simply give a blow-by-blow account of the journey, which took him six years to complete. In fact, there are entire countries he cycled through that almost don’t get a mention. This book isn’t a route guide, nor a how-to-cycle-around-the-world guide. Instead, it’s a discovery of the wonders, and the people … Read more
  • Book review: Along The Med On A Bike Called Reggie, by Andrew P Sykes
    I’ve reviewed two other books by the same author before – his 1st book, and his last book. This review is for his second book, which I only fairly recently purchased and read. Sykes is on Twitter as @CyclingEurope, so give him a follow and he has a podcast, with full details available at his site. I suppose I’d better be honest right from the start: I’m a big fan of Sykes’ books. He has a natural style … Read more
  • Book review – Full Tilt: Ireland to India with a Bicycle, by Dervla Murphy
    In 1963, Europe had one of the coldest winters, and 1963, during winter, was when Dervla Murphy set off to cycle from her native Ireland to faraway India. Along the way, she kept a diary, and this book is the result of that diary. The world was a totally different place in 1963, as you’d expect, and this book is a product of its time – you will notice it in the language, as well as the place … Read more
  • Book Review: Pedal Power, by Anna Hughes
    Pedal Power is a very unusual book, from the pen of the very talented Anna Hughes. I reviewed an earlier book of hers, Eat Sleep Cycle before. What makes this book unusual? It’s non-fiction, but that’s not unusual. The unusual part is it tells the stories of over 80 people who were pedal powered, and despite the picture of a cyclist on the cover, isn’t exclusively about cycling, but includes a write-up about a pedal-powered boat, too. The … Read more
  • Book review: Spain To Norway On A Bike Called Reggie, by Andrew P Sykes
    I’ve reviewed one of Andrew P Sykes’ books before – the first book he published, but for some reason or another didn’t get around to reading any of his other books. Since my last review, he’s published several more books. He’s on Twitter as @CyclingEurope, and he has a podcast, with full details available at his site. Adventure books are meant to leave you wanting to go on an adventure. Cycle touring books are meant to make you … Read more
  • Book review: Eric Newby – Round Ireland in low gear
    This book was recommended to me as a detailed cycle touring book, with the added bonus of being about Ireland, somewhere I know little about, but would love to go cycle touring. Eric Newby was a journalist who published several travel guides, and apparently was asked to write the book. It was first published in 1985, so I expected it to be a bit dated, but was happy to live with that. I was quite happy when my … Read more
  • Book review – Slow Coast Home, by Josie Dew
      This book came highly recommended, and it was with much anticipation that I started reading it. What struck me immediately is that the author is the kind of person I like: she’s not overly organised, prefers wild-camping, and feels at home while cycle touring. Consistently, throughout the book, Dew’s irrepressible sense of humour shines through, and her appetite for adventure is certainly enormous. The book tells the story of her cycling around the coast of England and … Read more
  • Book review – Riding In The Zone Rouge, by Tom Isitt
    In 1919, some madman decided to hold a race called Circuit Des Champs De Bataille – the Tour Of The Battlefields. The battlefields in question were that of World War One, and the route was deliberately designed to run through 2 000 kilometres of carnage. This incredible book tells the story of that race. The heroism needed from any rider just to complete the race is astounding, regardless of what position they finished in, and most of all, … Read more
  • Book review – Eat, Sleep, Cycle, by Anna Hughes
    If you looked at an accurate world map, or better yet, a globe, you’ll say that the UK isn’t big at all. In fact, especially when compared to a continent like Africa, you could say the UK is tiny. And you’d be correct. Until you decided to cycle the coastline of the UK. If you did that, you’d rapidly discover the UK is far from tiny, and cycling the coastline is a rather long way. That’s what Anna … Read more
  • Book review – The Man Who Cycled The World, by Mark Beaumont
    Mark Beaumont set a new Guinness World Record for circumnavigating the world by bicycle in 2008, and this book tells the tale of that event. It sounds so simple, doesn’t it? “Oh, he cycled around the world, and?”. Let’s put that in perspective: have you ever cycled 100+ miles in one day? If so, how did you feel the next day? Beaumont averaged well over 100 miles per day, for half a year, and what’s more, he did … Read more
  • Book review – Getting Hold Of A Gun Is Easy, by Alwin Wiederhold
    This book hit home for me. So much so, that I had to wait quite some time after I finished reading it, before writing this review. I need to explain that: I grew up in South Africa, during the Apartheid years, and many things touched upon in this book are things I lived through. If you haven’t lived through it, you should still read it, as it will give you far more insight into what happened during that … Read more
  • Book review – Quondam – Travels In A Once World, by John Devoy
    I reviewed many cycle travel books, and like all good cycle travel books, the story isn’t about the cycling. I’d go as far as to say that cycling is only relevant, because it allows you to travel at a human pace. That simply means you experience the world you’re travelling through in a far more intense, and personal way. Quondam is not your normal travel book, and you may as well know this from the start. To begin … Read more
  • Book review – Where There’s A Will, by Emily Chappell
    A  breed  apart Ultra-distance cyclists are a breed apart from the rest of us, and are uniformly characterised with an almost grim determination. Emily Chappell is certainly no exception. In common with many (though certainly not all) such riders, Chappell seems to be a remarkably humble human being. Not  your  normal  ultra-distance  book I’ve read a number of books by ultra-distance cyclists, and the theme often is very similar: telling the story of the ride in chronological order, … Read more
  • Book review – Endless Perfect Circles, by Ian Walker
    Dr Ian Walker is quite well known on Cycling Twitter, being an ardent advocate for cycling, and usually being the voice of reason. Though an obviously very intelligent man, the impression Ian Walker mostly creates is that of a humble and kind human being. For reasons I cannot begin to understand, these are strong characteristics shared by many ultra-distance cyclists, amongst others Mike Hall and Emily Chappell. As a research scientist, Ian Walker is used to publishing written … Read more
  • Book review: Crossing Europe…
    No, sadly this post isn’t about a forthcoming long-distance cycling holiday. Instead, it is about a book I recently read. I’ve never done a book review before, so forgive me if this one is a tad clumsy. This book is called Crossing Europe on a bike called Reggie and tells the story of Andrew Sykes‘ cycle trip a few summers ago. As far a such books go, it is extremely easy to fall prey to the blow-by-blow account that hammers … Read more