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A Bike Ride: 12,000 Miles Around the World
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A Bike Ride: 12,000 Miles Around the World

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  214 ratings  ·  26 reviews
When ex-headmistress Anne Mustoe gave up her job, bought a bike and took to the road, she couldn't even mend a puncture. 12,000 miles and 15 months later, she was home.

Her epic solo journey took her around the world, through Europe, India, the Far East and the United States. From Thessaloniki to Uttar Pradesh, from Chumphon to Singapore, she faced downpours, blizzards and
Paperback, 290 pages
Published May 21st 1992 by Virgin Books (first published June 20th 1991)
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3.77  · 
Rating details
 ·  214 ratings  ·  26 reviews

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Feb 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
“I was not athletic. I was not young. I had never been a keen cyclist. I had no idea how to mend a puncture. I hated camping, picnics and discomfort. In fact, my qualifications for an arduous cycle-ride were minimal….”

Approaching retirement, Ms Mustoe leaves her job as headmistress of an English girls’ school to ride a bike around the world by herself. History is her passion, and she organizes her trip segments historically, following Roman roads from London to Rome, the journeys of Alexander th
Aug 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
When I read this book, I thought 55 was ancient and that this was a remarkable woman to set out on such a journey at such a great age! Now that I'm not that far off that age myself, I realise how patronising my opinion was. She is a remarkable woman though and this is a remarkable journey. In its telling, she intersperses history lessons and this, together with her adventures, makes for a cracking good read.
In 1987 Anne Mustoe set off from London with basic equipment in panniers on a bicycle. 439 days later she returned to London, having cycled 11,552.1 miles. From the UK to France, Switzerland, Italy, Greece, Turkey. Then Pakistan, India, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, across the USA, and to Ireland. Epic, without doubt.

Anne Mustoe was 54, had limited experience on a bicycle, couldn't repair a puncture, and by her own admission, was overweight. A recently retired head-mistress, she was not short o
Jul 11, 2012 rated it liked it
I think if I had been setting out on a round the world trip on two wheels I would at the very minimum have made sure I could fix a puncture. Anne Mustoe however abandoned her comfortable bourgoise life as the headmistress of some classy private girls school to cycle out of her comfort zone and around the world. A Classically schooled and prim lady setting out to cycle across some of the worlds tough environments physically and socially she has an air of mad dogs and english(wo)men about her. I'v ...more
Jun 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
She wasn't a great cyclist, she was well past middle-age and she had someone take off all the "extra" gears on what was probably a steel-framed bicycle. Nevertheless she cycled across the Himalayas and around the world, with plenty of stops for tea. Just wow and a half.
Mar 19, 2017 rated it liked it
An interesting account of one woman's round the world bicycle ride done at a time (1980s) when cycling was not so fashionable. Her account contains interesting observations about the countries, cultures and people she met along the way. Many went out of their way to help her with bicycle repairs, accommodation and hospitality. Some parts of the world were dangerous back then including Afghanistan and Northern India which meant air flights to avoid them. Otherwise, aside from punctures and other ...more
Jan 10, 2014 rated it liked it
If you want a book that provides a lot of history and insight into cultural differences today, this book rates 5 stars.

However, if you want details about the realities of travel, apart from finding food and accommodation, this book is lacking description. The author is a bit refined (a real book titled "How to S--t in the Woods" is the kind of book that a traveler on a trip like this needs.)

When you are traveling by bike in a country whose language you do
Feb 20, 2016 rated it liked it
In 1987 at the age of 54 Anne Mustoe resigned from her position as headmistress of a girls' school and set off from London on a solo bike ride around the world. Leaving behind a comfortable life of luxuries including an Italian sports car, she packed a few carefully chosen articles of clothing, maps, passport, money, and some bicycle necessities into her panniers and cycled off on a trip that would cover almost 12,000 miles and 15 months. She started from St. Paul's Cathedral and cycled through ...more
William Cline
Feb 19, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: bicycling
“When ex-headmistress Anne Mustoe gave up her job, bought a bike, and took to the road, she couldn’t even mend a puncture.” It seems she still couldn’t by the end of her 11,552.1 mile, 439 day journey, but that didn’t matter. Whether helping her with the occasional mechanical problem, finding her a place to stay, telling her the lay of the land, or giving her water in the middle of a desert road, the people Mustoe met were largely kind and hospitable.

The synopsis on the book’s cover makes much o
S.A.A. Calvert
Apr 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book is special to me, as it holds a number of connections. The second one was to someone I knew through the internet, a woman who read the book and decided to set out and see where she ended up. So off over the English Channel she went, finally crossing the USA as a much fitter woman. All through reading Anne Mustoe's book.

The first? A friend of mine, a cancer survivor, rode across the USA for charity, taking my copy of this book with him as inspiration. He sent me an e-mail promising to b
Nov 25, 2012 rated it it was ok
A retired headmistress ventures outside her comfort zone and sets of to cycle around the world, without even know how to mend a puncture.

This is the premise. And it's a good one. The problem is that most of the story is a recounting of "saw this, cycle there, slept there, eat that", over and over. All the way around the world. What she did, was no easy task. The way she wrote about it was, nevertheless, a bit boring.

It did get better in the final pages. When she started to become more of a "real
Jul 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: All with adventurous souls
Recommended to PaulaJoy by: NPR interview of Anne Mustoe
Shelves: cycling
This books was the catalyst for me to start enjoying the unique pace and view of the world that one experiences when traveling by bicycle. I have only done very short tours, to date, but Anne's pluck and curiosity and perserverance inspire me often, when reflecting back on her fascinating story. I was especially impressed with the fact that she didn't start touring on a bicycle until her mid-50's!
Mike Perl
Jul 23, 2015 rated it it was ok
I rate it at 2 1/2 stars.

I'm full of admiration for Anne Mustoe but find her tone more didactic than I'd like and that her focus on ancient history doesn't particularly grip me.

I still intend to read her other cycle travel books and still find it fantastic that the headteacher of a posh school was able to morph herself into such an amazingly avid cycle tourist - and writer - with, she says, no prior experience.
Sep 01, 2011 rated it liked it

Really thought this would not hold my attention for whole book. But after leaving Turkey and less history input loved gearing stories if kindness. A great undertaking and unlike other similar travel books did not seem to mind telling about the comfortable part as well as hardship.
Will say reading 20 years on a little dated
Alison Stent
Sep 26, 2016 rated it liked it
I was really inspired to get on my bike and cycle around the world when reading this! Anne made I sound so easy. However for me it often felt like a list of places visited and it was hard to engage with Anne. Sometimes I felt the book was a bit of a trial to read, rather than enjoyable.
Apr 23, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
quite good - like a lot of journey books, the last leg in the UK is quite rushed. The US leg is a bit sparcely covered, but I expect that is because she didn't find it as interesting as the Asian countries.
Oct 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Now this is what I really want to do with my life!!!!
Cindy Wyatt
Aug 31, 2013 rated it liked it
Very interesting story. The writer was very brave, going around the world by herself (I would have abondoned the trip in the part where she found a turd under her bed).
Mar 05, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: travel-adventure
I thought I would like this more than I did. In the end the writer did not engage me. I found her pedantic, maybe too much of the headmistress.
this is truly an amazing undertaking but I found the telling of the cycle trip around the world a little too clinical to keep my attention.
Donated to UUFD 12/2016
Danie Cutter
Aug 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
A lovely read and proof that you are never too old to try new things and achieve your dreams.
The book was very factually written but still wonderfully engrossing and quite emotive. Lovely.
Feb 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012, hiking, travel
55 year old woman with little cycling experience gets on her bike and rides off into the sunset. It's a great story and she can write as well. If Anne can do it...
Marty Nicholas
Oct 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
1200 miles cycling around the world. Truly a delight for cyclists and travelers. What a gal!
rated it it was amazing
Jan 30, 2014
Steve Lewis
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Aug 23, 2015
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Jun 15, 2017
Nigel Carrick
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Jul 28, 2018
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Jul 07, 2013
Elizabeth Barratt
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Aug 06, 2012
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