Every Inch of the Way; My Bike Ride Around the World Kindle Edition
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|Length: 231 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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Mr. Bruce has a good story to tell – a long distance ride on his bicycle; but in the end it falls rather flat.
The great majority of the book is simply a laundry list of the things he did each day. This could have been interesting and propelled the book; but just barely enough to keep me going. He can recount each day (pretty much) because he spends so few of them on the trip. He covered about 14,000 miles in about 9 months, all in. This means he had to ride something above 70 miles every day, on the days he rode, which were the great majority, come rain, snow, or sickness. This is a constant source of complaint: He is frequently moaning about how many miles he needs to put in, how little time he gets to spend in all these cool places, and what a pain it is (while at the same time bragging about the miles under the wheels); but in the next breath, he makes plans (airline ticket, visa, etc.) that continue to force the same frantic pace. (Really, if this is your plan, stop wingeing about it.) And the EFI thing really gets in the way as well (even used as the title of the book). Give it a rest, please?
He’s also inordinately proud of his Rohloff internally-geared hub – which seems to be constantly breaking down. Maybe if he hadn’t spent so much on that Rohloff, and instead had used (reliable) regular gearing, he could have had the budget to go a bit more leisurely. In fact, he seems to constantly be rushing and just counting miles. (I have done long-distance, self-supported bicycle touring. He was putting in far too many miles per day to be able to enjoy the places he scurried across (er, … visited).)
This combines with his youth to make this a very shallow and light-weight read. A few examples:
His commentary on California (which would be a fair-sized, economically booming, diverse and beautiful nation if it were one, independent of the rest of the US): “California had been just awesome. San Francisco has to be one of the best cities in the world.”
His commentary on American cars: “I have since done some work about sustainability in America and learnt (assume my maths is correct) that if America swapped their cars for British cars, they would save more energy in one year than their entire wind industry has done in the last decade. … This illustrates pretty well that America has got its environmental priorities massively wrong.” Ah, the wisdom of a 24-year-old. Why not ban all cars with displacements greater than 1.3l in the UK? That would save a ton of energy. No one needs a larger engine than that to get from place to place. But I digress …
I’m sure he will find his advice and philosophizing to be cringe-worthy in a few years. I did.
I got to the end of my own long journey by bike and thought about writing a book about it. But I realized that I (like Mr. Bruce) didn’t really have anything substantive or important to say to the general public about it. (I went, I worked hard, I saw a lot of wonderful things, I learned a great deal, and, after more than 2 years, I came back broke; but with memories, journals, and a lot of great photos.)
Books I recommend (your time will be much better spent):
Full Tilt: Ireland to India with a Bicycle
Jupiter's Travels : Four Years Around the World on a Triumph
One Man Caravan (Incredible Journeys Books)
Canoeing with the Cree
Sailing Alone Around the World