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Travels with Willie: Adventure Cyclist Paperback – May 18, 2009

4.7 out of 5 stars 53 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Most books about cycling end up being about nothing other than cycling--sort of like what The Great Gatsby might have been like if it were a how-to about making money off moonshine and gambling. Willie Weir's Travels With Willie is one of the rare bike books that gets it right. The 256-page paperback distills the best of Weir's columns for Adventure Cyclist magazine (the house organ of the touring and travel group Adventure Cycling Association). The fact that Weir has ridden around the globe is what will draw the interest of cyclists; what makes it satisfying is that some of the most engaging parts occur off the bike--scenes that capture the universal conditions we all face when we're traveling the world, or simply when we're trying to figure out who are we. Weir writes about the humbling experience of wrongly complaining about being overcharged for a local delicacy, about trying to lure strangers into conversations just so he can brag about his travels (then getting one-upped), but also about finally understanding his father, proposing to his wife (and subsequently getting robbed of the coin that was a stand-in for an engagement ring), and traveling the world in the age of terrorism. ... Weir's unadorned, honest storytelling and eagerness to see beyond his handlebar make this a must-buy for anyone with a decent cycling library. -- --Bicycling Magazine

Weir's writing describes the experience of riding a bicycle rather than the logistics. His new book is a collection of his columns, and nowhere in the paperback s pages does this seasoned bicycle traveler even mention mileage, equipment, routes or the type of bike he rides. Instead, Weir describes facing fear and finding adventure; guardian angels and going the wrong way; the kindness of strangers; communicating without a word; and the privilege of travel. --Momentum Magazine (Sept-Oct 2009)

Willie Weir may be the most effective and inspiring advocate in the USA for international bicycle travel, but his message is about much more than bicycling. --Edward Hasbrouck, author of The Practical Nomad: How to Travel Around the World

Weir's writing describes the experience of riding a bicycle rather than the logistics. His new book is a collection of his columns, and nowhere in the paperback s pages does this seasoned bicycle traveler even mention mileage, equipment, routes or the type of bike he rides. Instead, Weir describes facing fear and finding adventure; guardian angels and going the wrong way; the kindness of strangers; communicating without a word; and the privilege of travel. --Momentum Magazine (Sept-Oct 2009)

Willie Weir may be the most effective and inspiring advocate in the USA for international bicycle travel, but his message is about much more than bicycling. --Edward Hasbrouck, author of The Practical Nomad: How to Travel Around the World

About the Author

WILLIE WEIR is a columnist for Adventure Cyclist magazine and a traveling commentator for public radio station KUOW in Seattle. His articles on adventure travel have earned him gold and bronze Lowell Thomas Awards from the American Society of Travel Writers. He speaks at schools, universities and events around the country, advocating the bicycle as the world s best travel vehicle, as well as a vehicle for social and environmental change.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 250 pages
  • Publisher: Pineleaf Productions (May 18, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0965679284
  • ISBN-13: 978-0965679282
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #915,282 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I've always been into cycling, but this book really opened my eyes to some possibilities that I had not previously considered. In fact, this book isn't really a book about cycling per se. Rather, it's about the richness and beauty that the world offers us when we're courageous enough to abandon our preconceived notions, irrational fears, and dubious stereotypes.

Many times, I think we fall into the trap of thinking that traveling the world is expensive and something that should only be done after we've learned the appropriate language, saved the right amount of money, and taken care of every possible loose end back at home. However, the reality of the situation is that traveling doesn't have to cost a fortune, and if we wait to travel until "the time is right," it's likely that we'll be stuck at home for a long time. Willie helped open my eyes to this fact, and I think his book is very much a wake up call to those of us who know that what he's saying is true but, for one reason or another, have allowed life's little stumbling blocks to stand in our way.

Even if you're not a cyclist, this book will speak to your soul. For above all, this book deals with universal themes that go beyond two wheeled adventures. It is a reminder to all of us that, as human beings, our similarities are greater than our differences. In addition, the theme of "carpe diem" runs strong through the book. If you're on the fence about your next adventure, the book will push you out the door and inspire you to visit new places and try new things.

My favorite part of this book, however, is the part where Willie talks about the conversations he has had with people who are less fortunate than those of us who are lucky enough to live in the US.
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Format: Paperback
I read the first 3/4 of this book in the first sitting and only stopped myself because I didn't want the experience to end. Let me say that I am *not* a cycler. In fact, I'm embarrassed to say when the last time I rode a bike was. But I love to read books about travel--but this isn't just a travel book. And it's more than great storytelling, too. The chapters are like little meditations on acceptance and curiosity and engagement and fate and circumstance--and dozens of other things. And although the backdrop is the globe and will affect how I experience my future travels, it also made me think about my daily life and how I travel through it. What a trip.
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Format: Paperback
Willie's latest book really does surpass all expectation. The extraordinary tales that only someone with such a quirky name could relay in the confines of paperback leave the reader wanting to load up a bicycle and head out into the night in search of adventure. If you've ever wanted to be inspired or inspire a loved one, "Travels with Willie" is an honest and powerful means of doing just that. There's no other motivational reading out there quite like it. Trust me - after reading Mr. Weir's first book "Spokesongs" while attending the University of Oregon several years ago - I took the summer off to bicycle across the United States. I trust that you'll want to do the same!
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Format: Paperback
This book offers great insight into the mind and life of someone who approaches the world with consistent optimism and good will. But better yet, it's a really great read. Uplifting and light. A chapter or two on the deck transport me to a place that always has a happy ending. As Spring slips into Summer, I am inspired to dust off my bike, pump up the tires, and finally take that dang bike rack out of its box... As I reach the final chapters of Travels with Willie, I am relieved to see that he wrote an earlier book, so I don't have to be done with the trip just yet.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Cycling's 50 Craziest Stories

To say willie Weir is an unrepentant traveling cyclist is an understatement.
These stories were originally written as columns for the American Adventure Cycling Association's magazine. He certainly knows his stuff, presenting a worthy storyline, getting the reader involved, and bringing the account to a satisfying conclusion. He is also not short on romance, relating how his girlfriend, Kat, flies out to Budapest to join him on as mega bike ride. They eventually make a companionable married team riding a tandem on many adventures.

He and Kat discover rewarding less traveled roads, kindness of people in unlikely places, and face the daily challenge of finding shelter or a place to camp. Willie also discovers the world's steepest street is not in San Francisco, but in Dunedin, New Zealand.

He laments on having a bicycle (a ten speed) stolen when he is aged 13. And he offers abundant advice for would-be bicycle adventurers.

These inspirational stories make great bedtime reading. I read them on recent air travels, a rare occasion when my own bicycle was, sadly, not stowed amongst the checked-in luggage.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I'd never heard of Willie, nor read his columns in the bike magazine he writes for, nor listened to his radio show, before downloading and reading this book. For me, this was pure serendipity, and I feel much better in myself for having finished this wonderful book. It is a book about travel (or adventure as Willie would have it), but travel and cycling just happen to be the means that he uses to explore life to the full. His tales from Turkey; Thailand; Colombia; Romania, or wherever, are full of admiration, empathy and respect for his hosts, and a reminder to us all that it's some of the small the things in life that matter most. As an aside, Willie seemed to enjoy his food on his travels. Whilst not a culinary guide in any way, the meals enjoyed by Willie may inspire you to visit some of the countries he did.

If you're looking for a book about chain sets, seat posts and tires, then this isn't it; but if you're that way inclined, then buy the book anyway, because if you're going to haul your butt any distance at all, then make it worth while and take some cues from Willie - your adventure will be much more the rewarding for it. If you're looking for a travel book, then go click the 1-click button right now, but be prepared for something much more than a narrative on endurance, landscapes and repartee with locals. Sure, it's got that, but Willie takes you on a journey through your self too. Not in a spiritual way, just through basic human decency and respect.
I am inspired by this book; not to jump on a bike and trail round the world, but to see life in its simplest, dignified and most inspiring form. Thank you Willie.
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