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35 Reviews
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic...love it!
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...
Published on May 4, 2012 by Lewis Codington

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Steady Read
This book is interesting, just kind of goes on and on. Probably represents what the bike ride was like. The disappointing part for me was that the scary things that happen aren't really told in a heart racing scary way. I'm glad I read it though. Definately gives me something to think about.
Published 22 months ago by Nora


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic...love it!, May 4, 2012
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This review is from: Cycling Home from Siberia: 30,000 miles, 3 years, 1 bicycle (Paperback)
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic on many levels!, July 20, 2011
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Perseverance on a Bicycle, March 5, 2010
By 
Nigel A. Skermer (British Columbia, Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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 3˝ 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. He gets through the Russian exit border post with the wrong passport after agonizing over it for weeks. Mr. Bean on a bicycle he sees himself at one point in China, and on another occasion in Japan he spends a comfortable night in a commodious public washroom. A fascinating account of Lhasa is given with the Potala palace on the hill surrounded by a bang-up-to-date tourist fringe. It reminded me of the castle in Salzburg, Austria with Mozart's birthplace on the street below next door to the McDonalds.

At times he takes breaks and enjoys himself in the luxury of places such as Hong Kong and Queensland. But then he crosses the Nullarbor Plain before landing in Perth. Some of the places he travels through were, and still are, quite dangerous... Papua New Guinea, Pakistan and Afghanistan (which he decides upon after much debate both external and within himself). His prior connections, may even have saved his life in the latter country.

The question that keeps coming up while reading the book is "Why did he do it?". At one point a possible explanation was offered by an Australian policeman.... "if you wanna know what I think, I'd say you were a crazy bastard." But such a question is unanswerable, and serves no useful purpose, although as Dr. Faust said ... "Human beings, though their purpose is obscure, of the right way will always be sure. (Der Mensch in seinem dunklen Drange ist sich des rechten Weges wohl bewusst)." And one senses that for the most part Rob Lilwall was indeed quite sure of the way ahead.

This reviewer strongly recommends the book. It comes for less than the price of dinner for one. It might be one of the best Cdn $21.95 worth you'll read in a while. A DVD is also available from his website - [...].
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent adventure story, June 1, 2011
By 
Evan Gillespie (Cleveland, OH USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly amazing story. Incredible, but only 4 stars...., November 18, 2010
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cycling Siberia, March 6, 2012
By 
Kevin McWilliams (Billings, MT United States) - See all my reviews
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Fun to read about the variety of places he visited. Good mix of descriptions of travels with a few of author's own opinions.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Remarkable Personal Adventure, August 27, 2011
Rob Lilwall has written a very personal memoir of his three year journey on a bicycle starting out in frozen Siberia and peddling his way across the Pacific Rim countries, Indonesia, New Guinea, Australia, Southeast Asia,interior China, Tibet, Nepal,India,Pakistan,Afghanistan, Iran, Turkey, across Europe and back to his home in England.This is a well written story of personal endurance over adversity as well as risk taking and physical hardships. A great book to read and ponder.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Lacking Substance, January 4, 2014
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I think the book was written very carelessly as if the author just wanted to get something down in print and sell the book. A very flimsy superficial account of an adventure that should have been very interesting. People who take whirl wind round the world tours stopping in a different country everyday would have had more insight into their subject matter than this guy obviously had.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read!, July 13, 2013
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If you have read Moods of Future Joys and Thunder and Sunshine this book is like having a few more chapters!!!!!
For me this book really tied everything together from Alistair's books. Rob is AWESOME!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A remarkable book, July 4, 2013
"Cycling Home from Siberia" is a remarkable book, initially about a physical but, later, also about a personal journey of discovery. At the invitation of a friend, with whom he had previously cycled through parts of Pakistan, Ethiopia and Bolivia, Lilwall flew to Magadan to cycle with him through Siberia and Japan, after which their plans were vague. Having left his job as a secondary school geography teacher, Lilwall initially thought he might spend a year travelling but, after an amicable parting from his friend in Japan, Lilwall continued alone, covering more than 36,000 miles back to England in just over three years.

Lilwall writes well with an entertaining and frequently humorous mixture of travelogue, cycling stories, introspection and encounters with some of the people he met. Far from being a tedious daily diary, he selects memorable events from his epic journey and weaves them into a compelling tale of a journey of which many people might dream but, for whatever reason, never undertake.

Having bought a video camera in Australia, Lilwall's filmed record of his journey back to England was subsequently adapted by National Geographic into a six-part television series now available at:

[...] Film 1
[...] Film 2
[...] Film 3
[...] Film 4
[...] Film 5
[...] Film 6

One can only admire Lilwall's determination, stamina, perseverance, humanity and cheerfulness in truly daunting circumstances. Every aspect comes through in "Cycling Home from Siberia" which deserves as much unreserved admiration as its author.
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Cycling Home from Siberia: 30,000 miles, 3 years, 1 bicycle
Cycling Home from Siberia: 30,000 miles, 3 years, 1 bicycle by Rob Lilwall (Paperback - April 5, 2011)
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