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Cycling Home from Siberia: 30,000 miles, 3 years, 1 bicycle Paperback – April 5, 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Howard Books; Reissue edition (April 5, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451607865
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451607864
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #607,367 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"An epic journey." (Bear Grylls)

“Lilwall’s story is a remarkable one . . . enhanced by the fact that he has a writer’s skill for conveying a sense of place.” (The Sunday Telegraph)

“A rite-of-passage adventure full of thrills, excitement, and endurance tests . . . If you’re a cyclist—and even if you’re not—go for this book.” (The Irish Times)

“I don't know if Rob Lilwall knows it, but he has penned a two-wheeled classic. I wanted to rise up singing and strap on my bicycle clips.” (The Guardian)

About the Author

Born in London in 1976, Rob Lilwall studied geography at Edinburgh University and did his teacher training at Oxford University before teaching geography in an Oxfordshire Secondary School for two years. At the age of 27, that he set off on his three year Cycling Home From Siberia. He also completed a theology diploma at Oxford University. In September 2009 he married Christine Liu.

More About the Author

Rob Lilwall was born in London, and studied geography at Edinburgh University and then teacher training and theology at Oxford University. Before he set out on his long-distance adventures, he was a door-to-door salesman in California, and a geography high-school teacher in England.

His two main adventures (the subject of his books) were cycling over 35,000 miles from Far Eastern Siberia to London via Papua New Guinea, Australia, Tibet and Afghanistan (Cycling Home From Siberia), and walking over 3,000 miles from the Gobi Desert to Hong Kong, via China (Walking Home From Mongolia). His undocumented adventures include cycling across Ethiopia, the Andes Mountains, and the Karakorum Mountains; walking across Andalucía, a lap of the M25 motorway, and from the Golan Heights to Masada; canoeing down the Thames, and floating down the Severn on a homemade raft.

Since 2010 he has lived in Hong Kong where he is a freelance TV adventurer, writer, and motivational speaker. He has written over 40 freelance pieces for the South China Morning Post. Together with his wife Christine, he is the joint National Director for the Hong Kong mobilization office of the International children's charity Viva.

He has written two books, presented two National Geographic TV series, and has given speeches about his adventures to over 30,000 people worldwide.

Find out more at:
www.roblilwall.com

Customer Reviews

Reading through the book one feels drawn to analogy.
Nigel A. Skermer
If you like travel writing, or adventure, or stories of personal courage and endurance, then you will probably enjoy this.
Matthew Hosier
This is a well written story of personal endurance over adversity as well as risk taking and physical hardships.
Michael J. Muller

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Lewis Codington on May 4, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful story of a man who decides to bike around a large part of the world. It turns into a three year saga that is fascinating for several reasons. He is not overly concerned about the technical details of cycling such as the kind of bike he uses, the time spent making the journey, or competing with others in some way. What is so interesting are his observations and experiences of the cultures and countries he travels through, the people he meets along the way, and the inner wrestling he endures as he battles extreme weather, loneliness, dangers in countries such as Afghanistan, and so forth. He is a great story teller and keeps the reader interested in his experiences and in what is waiting for him around the next bend.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Corinne Mckay on July 20, 2011
Format: Paperback
I bought this book while on a bike trip across Colorado (hardly Siberia to London but still an opportune moment!) and loved both the writing style and the substance. The author's actual journey is pretty amazing: 35,000 miles on a bike, most of it solo after he parts ways with his initial traveling companion. I also loved that rather than pretending that every moment of the trip was fantastic, fulfilling, thrilling, whatever, Rob Lilwall doesn't shy away from writing about the fear, uncertainly and ambivalence that everyone on a long and arduous journey feels. My tiny amount of negativity about this book is reserved for the publisher: parts of the book are poorly fact-checked and others have typos that just made me cringe. For example the end matter proudly announces that "Rob Lilwall was given motivational lectably ures [sic] on his experiences." Simon & Schuster should be able to do better. But huge kudos to Rob Lilwall on a really enjoyable book.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Nigel A. Skermer on March 5, 2010
Format: Paperback
PERSEVERANCE ON A BICYCLE
Reviewed by Nigel Skermer

"Cycling Home from Siberia" by Rob Lilwall, Hodder & Stoughton, London 2009, 349 p.

"Go west young man" it used to be said. In a circuitous route through Australasia, Rob Lilwall did just that starting in 2004 from Magadan, Siberia and 3½ years later, after a bike ride of 30,000 miles, arriving home in London, England. This is a remarkably well-written account of his spiritual, as well as geographical journey, much of it carried out alone.

Reading through the book one feels drawn to analogy. At first glance the skeptic might think our traveller is yet another gung-ho, born again Victorian. A review in the Guardian by Ken Rushby had compared Rob Lilwall to Candide, but my first thoughts turned to T.E. Lawrence and "the seven-pillared worthy house". But again the analogy fails. He wasn't trying to earn the freedom of any folk except perhaps the extremely vulnerable children around the world to whom he donates funds raised during his trip via the charity Viva - [...] His route takes him to the slums of Manila where he visits the children's projects linked to Viva.

The journey starts with a ride, epic in itself, of over 3000 miles through Siberia in winter. It takes him over the "Road of Bones" built by the inmates of the Gulags, the work camps instituted under Stalinism. The silence of the Siberian wilderness, just as in the Canadian and the Alaskan North, drew forth the thoughts which he quotes from Psalm 46 ... "Be still and know that I am God."

Such experiences of course contrast sharply with the glitter of the new Asian cities he peddles through later on. Throughout the book he writes frankly on his thoughts, beliefs and emotions. The book is very humorous in parts.
Read more ›
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Evan Gillespie on June 1, 2011
Format: Paperback
I've read a few adventure books and this is certainly one of the best. It is much more than a story about the mishaps of a very long bicycle adventure, it also contains a lot of stories about culture and geography (the author/cyclist is a former geography teacher in The U.K.).

Whether you enjoy cycling, geography, traveling or culture I bet you would enjoy this book. It is an easy read with short chapters. It is an honest look at our diverse world.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By 24bitbob on November 18, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition
At the moment I'm going through a phase of reading, nay, devouring travel books. Of all the books I have read in the last 12 months, I am sure that Rob has THE most incredible tale of all to tell. What Rob has done on a bicycle beggars belief. Despite my reservations, I would say right up front - if you like real life travel adventures, then buy this book right now. It's incredible. He starts off by describing his bicycle as a ten year old steel frame bike, with some bags attached. He then proceeds to cycle through Siberia in Winter. Incredible? That's only the start!

Why only 4 stars. Well, I feel that the writing of this book was very much the tail end of Rob's adventures. Yes, Rob has gone to places on a bicycle that most people wouldn't imagine possible, and in many instances you can feel that atmosphere and sense of adventure in the book. But heck, he manages to go through places that 99.9% of us will never see, and yet dismiss them in a line or two, or not even mention them at all. Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand get covered in barely a page (or so it seems); Vietnam hardly gets a mention at all, and then he goes through Western Europe at a lick, and with barely more words than I have in this review. Okay, I'm being a bit harsh, but if I'm complaining, it's only because I believe that book could be two or three times longer, and still hold your attention. The places he does describe in detail, he manages to do as well as any writer I have read recently, and when he does so, the tale is truly incredible. The irony of that makes the all too brief descriptions of otherwise amazing places feel as if you are being short changed.

Oh what the heck, in writing this review, I can come to no other conclusion than this is a 5* book after all. Go and buy it, and be amazed at what one man has done on a ten year old steel frame bicycle.

BTW I bought the hard copy of this book in October 2010 in Australia.
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