Alastair Humphreys (2007) Thunder and Sunshine: around the world by bike, part 2. Eye Books Limited, London.
I think I must have read this first just after it was published. Reading it a second time recently, I was left wondering why I was less enthusiastic than I expected to be.
My reaction puzzles me because there is so much apparently to admire:
- his was a fantastic achievement – cycling around the world over four years, covering 72,000km
- he writes really well and has an exceptional ability to describe the terrain he is riding through
- the book is not without humour and in a sense its a page-turner that flows along.
Yet, somehow it left me underwhelmed. I think I know why. Its a book written by an exceptional young man with huge drive and determination to find his own way in the world, not following anyone else’s path. The problem doesn’t lie with the book, but with me.
This is a book written by a young man willing to take on journeys I would not contemplate. There are no conceivable circumstances in which I would cycle across Siberia in winter. None. So the book has less relevance for me than many others. I get what Anne Mustoe is about and can imagine taking on her cycling regime: Alastair might as well be cycling on another planet he is so far beyond my aspirations.
This is not to rubbish his book. It’s a very good read and it has clearly provided him with a platform for greater things and the origins of a personal philosophy and direction for the way he wants to live his life. Good luck to him. I should thank him for helping spell out where my red lines are: somewhere short of Siberia I guess.
There is a mass of other stuff of his on the web, and jolly interesting it is too. I especially like this:
Alastair Humphreys (2007) Thunder and Sunshine: around the world by bike, part 2. Eye Books Limited, London. Recommended with 3 stars.
- Adventurers of the Year 2012: Adventurer Alastair Humphreys (ngadventure.typepad.com)