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Cycling Home from Siberia: 30,000 miles, 3 years, 1 bicycle

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  378 ratings  ·  48 reviews

“ It is late October, and the temperature is already –40 degrees . . . My thoughts are filled with frozen rivers that may or may not hold my weight; empty, forgotten valleys haunted by emaciated ghosts; and packs of ravenous, merciless wolves.”

Having left his job as a high-school geography teacher, Rob Lilwall arrived in Siberia equipped only with a bike and a healthy dos

ebook, 432 pages
Published April 5th 2011 by Howard Books (first published 2009)
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(showing 1-30 of 626)
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Rob Lilwall has written a thoroughly engaging account of his epic journey across some of the most difficult lands on earth. The book was exciting, thought-provoking and yet an overall easy read. I found myself racing to find out what other adventures he had had on his travels and was amazed by his experiences of people and by his journey with God.

He is naturally eloquent and easily relatable. One never feels as if you are reading about someone doing a superhuman feat. Just another struggler, li...more
Anna Edmonds
astounding that content so good could go so wrong. i want to punch this man and steal his trip.
I had high hopes for this one, really high hopes. It starts out wonderfully, but never really develops into anything more than a 'god is good, have you heard about the bible?' trap.
What I liked?
It is pretty well written, there is a lot of anegdots, author tries to show emotional side of the trip, as well as religious, political and phisical (surprisingly, this bit is quite small). I particulary like the Iran bit and obviously Siberia. I liked the fact author genuinly describes his hesitations, his worries, his fear and even his believes and disbelieves. It is worth adding, that Rob made great effort to be objective as well, which not very common.
Love story... Well i...more
Sheri Struk
After a little hesitation about whether I would really enjoy this book, I found myself pretty interested in it. As the title tells, the author starts his journey in Siberia with a friend and they encounter all kinds of challenges, particularly the cold. The author ends up doing much of his journey alone into various countries (most notably Afghanistan and Iran) and often finds that his preconceptions about people in such countries are wrong. Throughout his journey, he sleeps along roadsides in h...more
Chris Ward
I originally bought this book because I was researching a book of my own that it is set in Siberia, and was initially a little disappointed that the Siberia section was over by 25%. However, the story that Lilwall tells was pretty interesting and good enough to have me reading until the end.

There were times when I felt a little frustrated and found it hard to like the narrator, particularly when he would wax lyrical about his faith (something that was kind of annoying) and then gloss over other...more
Mike Print
I’ve just finished reading Rob Lilwall‘s autobiographical book on his 35,000 mile trip from Siberia home via China, Australia, Tibet, Afghanistan to London (with a few places in-between). It’s a light-hearted, easy read, book which gives you brief glimpses into many places not seen on the British news. Beginning in September 2004 and taking three and half years, it’s a gripping story of courage and adventure with a few spiritual and anthropological insights thrown in for good measure. Lilwall ma...more
Sam Woodfield
Despite this not being the type of book I would normally read (and certainly not the type of trip I would take on!) I enjoyed this book. At forst I was abit frustrated that Lilwall doesnt go into more detail about the places he has visited or the amazing things he has seen on the route, as these parts of the journey are skipped over. However, I have realised that this is the very nature of the trip he was on, where tight daily milages result in the beautiful things you pass whizzing pass, and th...more
Andrew Gills
I enjoyed Lilwall's story of his slightly crazy decision to cycle home from Siberia. It was colourful and kept moving along nicely. I like that the author focused on the journey as an adventure, with all it's ups and downs, rather than falling into the trap of focusing on the hardships of life on the road. I got a real sense of place during the book; particularly when Lilwall wrote about the more exotic countries he rode through. For example, he almost glosses over Australia but that's okay for...more
Why cycle home from Siberia? Why not Tokyo, Hong Kong, Sydney? Well, it's not the places that really matter, it's the journey, and one of his mates (who happens to be cycling the world) is due in Siberia soon, so Rob decides to join him for the journey home.
Rob is quite a personable chap although, as he himself admits, he can become quite annoying when he starts going on a Christian kick. Fortunately he, or his editor, have kept the "born again" verbiage to the minimum and we're allowed to enjo...more
Feb 19, 2012 Chris rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Travelers, people needing a change in their life
Recommended to Chris by: My Oma
The story of Rob Lilwall is one for many to read. His adventures of traveling around the world on bike are enough to encourage anyone to look at their life and think about if they are doing enough in their live to make an impact. It is also enough for one to look at their life how many goals or dreams they have completed to make their life worth living.

The story of Rob starts off with the idea of traveling the world on bike with his friend Al. They start off in Siberia (Russia) and cycle through...more
I tore through this book and loved every minute of it. Not because of the author’s impressive cycling feat but because of his honesty. It is easy to place people like him on a pedestal, and this is sometimes taken advantage of – but not by Lilwall, as he is brutally honest about himself and his weaknesses, his doubhts, and his beliefs.

It’s fun to read and learn about all the different people he meets, and their respective cultures. At one point Iranian police treat Liwall for breakfast, and late...more
Will Slade
May 03, 2013 Will Slade marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
One of the best cycling travelogues I've read. And that's saying something, because most are HORRIBLE. This one was light, focusing mainly on the days where he had legitimate difficulty. He doesn't really recount what he ate, mechanical problems, or people he met, which is the main reason I read them. I did find the fact that he punctured weekly highly suspect. Also, his advice to eat ice cream because it is cheap, full of sugar, fat and protein, and doesn't dehydrate you, very interesting advic...more
Fantastic book. I love the adventure of flying to Siberia and figuring it out from there. It is so refreshing from daily life of planning everything. Rob is one crazy man! His training to start this incredible 35,000 journey was playing badminton several times in a month! They start their journey towards the end of summer and end up in Siberia on bikes in winter. The list of crazy things goes on. I really enjoyed seeing how insane it could get. Ultimately, the book demonstrates the kindness of h...more
"Cycling Home From Siberia" was a great read. What makes it so good is that Rob never forgets that it is about the adventure and challenge first. I love the various tales of the people he meets on the road. It never gets so caught up in the cycling statistics, that the story is lost. The story is truly gripping and I haven't read a cycling tour book as good since then. As result of the inspiration, I got from the book, I went on my own adventurous cycle across Europe to St Petersburg, which ende...more
Evan Price
Good book but too much bible bashing jammed in your face
Goes through each country pretty quickly, but you'd have to, to get from Siberia to London in about 350 pages. So I would have liked more depth, but he does provide interesting anecdotes and approaches the people he meets with a pretty open mind and a lot of respect, unlike other (cough Paul Theroux cough) travel writers I've read. I appreciated his honesty about not only the physical difficulties of the trip (which he started out really untrained for) but also about his own character and person...more
The book is all about exploration - His limits both physical and mental, struggles to push his limits, myriad of wonderful experiences travelling around the world on a bicycle,his inner fears and the way he beat around em, met his life partner and after 3 1/2 years he finally reaches home..
There were many instances he wants to give up but not once he did.Sometimes thinking of it just motivates you not to give up - for me esp during long dist runs treks etc.., Overall a must read for adventure en...more
Read this book so fast! Just kept wanting to see what was next. Although I was dissapointed that the detail was missing at the end and it seemed rushed, I understand why. I am in awe of this adventure and found myself dreaming of cycling throughout the world as well.

The religious excerpts were also quite interesting aside from one where the whole chapter was nothing except his views on faith and not much of the travelling.

Nonetheless I am highly reccommending this book.
Wonderful book recounting author's great journey from coldest of the places on earth through wierdest and dangerous regions and finally back to where he started.On his long journey spanning over 3 years, the author experiences different cultures and greatest religions of Asia, at the same time challenging both his physical and mental abilities.For some it is an inspiration and for some an adventure and if you a wanderlust, it is a must read.
Rob writes well and focuses mostly on the people he meets rather than the landscape he is travelling through. He is one of those people who can always start up a conversation with those around him, even when they don't have a language in common.

Read my full review on my book blog.
Ruth Burge
It is a very interesting book if you are interested in physically challenging adventures. But this is more than an adventure book. It is also about his experience with other cultures and the insights this trip gave him into himself and what he thinks is important. He is a Christian, but is respectful of other religions. I read this aloud with my husband.
30,000 miles, 3 years, 1 bicycle. Exciting adventures, mostly solo ride from Siberia to Japan to China to Indonesia to Australia to Vietnam, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and east back to England.

A good story of what it takes to get through hard situations, really see the world, and meet all kinds of people.

I truly enjoyed this read of Roby Lilwall's adventure. He wrote in a conversational style, with humor and knowledge. I appreciated the insight into the people and places through which he travelled and the thoughts on his faith, as well as the photos and maps to explain the journey. A fun read!
A terrific story!
I'm so envious of people who do this sort of thing, but guy really takes the biscuit! Not only does he drop himself in at the deep end and start off in Siberia with winter approaching, but then he heads off into Phillippine bandit country and narrowly escapes alive!
An amazing story about an amazing journey. Inspiring, moving and funny, this is the story of a three-year bike ride from Siberia through Asia, Australia, Asia again and Europe. Highly recommended for all those who dream about their own adventure of a lifetime.
Keisuke Hamaji
Overall I enjoyed the book. Rob, the author he is pretty a Chrischan and his thought is often based on Christianity. It was completely different value from me, so I also enjoyed his way of thinking, and found it was very interesting.
A teacher from England begins a cycling trip in Siberia in winter. Three years later he makes it back to London. I like the way he integrates his faith into his story, as well as the descriptions of the countries he visited.
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