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Janapar: Love, on a Bike Paperback – January 29, 2013
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About the Author
At the age of 23, Tom Allen quit a perfectly good career in IT in favour of a life of penniless, wandering itinerancy. He set off with a three-wheeled bicycle, a tent and a video camera, leaving his Midlands home with a madcap idea to cycle round the globe. Fate, however, had other ideas, and eight months into his ride, alone in mountains during a bitter Caucasian winter, he met Tenny -- the girl who would change the course of his journey and then his life. After four saddle-sore years spent cycling across three continents, Tom sat down to write the book that would tell this personal tale of adventure and romance in full. 'Janapar' was published in early 2013, alongside a feature-length documentary created from Tom's raw footage by BBC producer-director James Newton. Tom continues to write and travel as a full-time occupation, and runs a popular adventure cycling advice website at tomsbiketrip.com. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
Top customer reviews
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When you come back you participate in the shared delusion at various states of immersion always knowing and somehow feeling inauthentic. Periodically you know it is time to go again and so you do. This came through clearly in Allen's writing and I found myself nodding in agreement and wondering if it would click with someone who has not yet experienced such things.
Allen is honest in that much of touring is not fun while you are doing it. It is the type of fun that is only fun afterwards. Fun might not even be the right word for what is felt. About a month ago I did an off road cycling trip (most of my trips are off road these days) and one afternoon I paused and looked back in awe of the mountains I had crossed the day before fading in the distance and then I kept pedaling.
Allen laughs at himself for carrying way to much at the start, even rabbit snares. Almost everyone starts out carrying way too much junk and not enough water. Nice bikes are nice but not needed as Maria demonstrated. A sturdy old mountain bike can take you almost anywhere. My 5 current bikes range from a custom titanium Tour Divide racer to a Worksman industrial bike and even a fat bike for desert touring. Fit is the most important thing and your hands and butt will tell you when you have it wrong. Getting it right takes time and tinkering. Personally I am a big Brooks saddle fan and all my bikes have one. As I write this I am looking across the room at my main touring bike's saddle, a Brooks with 20,000 miles on it is a beautiful thing. Those who know, know.
All the love story stuff in the book is fine, it is what it is. When you cycle tour alone you do miss those you love but it goes further. You develop a greater, deeper appreciation for those you intimately share this short something we call life. You will have to experience that to understand it.
Life is truly short so live it. Allen has shown you a way to do it in his book, not the only way but a good solid way. Keep it simple and keep pedaling.
Allen's writing style makes for an enjoyable read. The non-chronological storytelling isn't as disruptive as it might seem. Our memories often jump from point to point returning to something as we remember another aspect of the story. The story comes across as talking to a friend over a series of evenings while sharing a few pints.
It must have been one hell of a ride as Allen is sometimes brutal about himself and his early approach to the trip. That, to me, indicates a person who learned a lot the hard way. Reading his current Website / blog indicates he did indeed learn a great deal
I haven't finished the story as yet but I'm curious to see how the grand world tour by bicycle, complete with big name retailer backing, fell apart. I have passed the point in the story where one of the three jolly riders leaves to go back to his girlfriend. The film indicated the second rider leaves for a similar reason. Ultimately, all three abandon the ride for a woman . . . which I suppose is a spoiler . . . oops!
Still, it's a good read and an interesting insight into one man's travels by bicycle.
Tom Allen is a good writer. His narrative is about how superficial differences hide the fact that humans share more than meets the eye. And that the edges of our world is the centre of another.
Certainly worth reading. A book I recommend heartily
the book is an easy read, full of English humor and auto-irony. It tels a story which is bought outside and within. it is not what you would call an "adventure book", it is more like a diary.
i also like the way by which the present time and the past, i.e. the previous parts of Tom's journey meld into the books texture.