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Moron to Moron: Two Men, Two Bikes, One Mongolian Misadventure

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Uncrossable rivers, hospitable nomads, rabid dogs, marijuana fields, hailstone flashfloods, maidens on horseback, underpants wrestling, toxic mountaintop lakes, stupid westerners, and so much mountain biking your ass will hurt just reading it

In July 2010, Tom Doig and his best friend Tama Pugsley cycled 1487 kilometers (920 miles) across northern Mongolia from a small town called Moron to a smaller town, also called Moron. Why? Because there were two towns called Moron, and they were two morons. It had to be done. Armed with spandex unitards, an inadequate phrasebook, and Chinese steel-frame bikes of a brand you've never heard of, Tom and Tama's mission over the barren steppes and rugged mountains of Mongolia is an outrageously absurd odyssey, taking place in one of the world's most remote and beautiful wildernesses. This hilarious, dangerous, at-times-idiotic adventure overflows with sweat, mud, unidentifiable meat product, and torrents of Chinggis Khaan vodka. A travel book like no other, this tale has it all: pleasure, pain, heartache, heartburn, and the dried fermented milk of a horse.

342 pages, Paperback

First published May 1, 2013

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About the author

Tom Doig

2 books12 followers
Tom Doig is an author, PhD candidate and moron. Moron to Moron: two men, two bikes, one Mongolian misadventure (2013) is his first book.
The Coal Face (2015), about the 2014 Hazelwood coalmine fire, is his second book.

Tom was born and raised in Wellington, New Zealand. He moved to Melbourne ‘for a year’ in 2001 and has been there ever since.

Tom’s non-fiction has been published in The Big Issue, New Matilda, The Lifted Brow, Sleepers Almanac, Voiceworks, The Death Mook and ACF’s Habitat magazine. Tom has posed topless in Maxim magazine. http://makeagif.com/i/MSFV0f

His plays include Survival of the Prettiest, The Badness Hour, Hitlerhoff, One-Arm and Three-Arms in the Swamp and Selling Ice to the Remains of the Eskimos.

Tom has worked as Editor of Voiceworks magazine (2004-6), Co-Director of the National Young Writers’ Festival (2006-7), Associate Producer of the Next Wave Festival (2009-10), and The Guy Who Answers a Phone that Never Rings, Ever for the Victorian Curriculum Assessment Authority (2009; 2012). He has an MA in Hitler Comedy.

In July 2010, Tom and his best mate Tama Pugsley mountain-biked 1487 kilometres across northern Mongolia from a small town called Mörön to a smaller town also called Mörön. This, unfortunately, is the greatest achievement of his life thus far.

"Mörön to Mörön: two men, two bikes, one Mongolian misadventure" is Tom’s first book.

Tom is currently working on his Difficult Second Book: a journalism PhD about the lived experience of climate change in Australia, provisionally title "Hot Cold Headfuck". This will be published in 2016. Maybe.

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5 stars
25 (17%)
4 stars
40 (28%)
3 stars
45 (31%)
2 stars
23 (16%)
1 star
9 (6%)
Displaying 1 - 21 of 21 reviews
Profile Image for Tuck.
2,223 reviews206 followers
December 4, 2013
an irreverent, and sometimes bordering on "too-much-info" into the sex lives of kiwis on the road, but... a great biking book chronicling an unassisted bike trip across northern mongolia, west to east.
a good mix of history, natural history a bit, customs and cultures, and nitty gritty of long distance hard core bicycle riding/camping.
plus you learn what ZANG is. zang! a couple of other bicyle travel books somewhat reminiscent of this one, but not as sexy that's for sure, are another mongolia one (from mongolia to vietnam no less) Where the Pavement Ends: One Woman's Bicycle Trip Through Mongolia, China & Vietnam and this dude, who rides around the world, by himself, on a BIG wheel, in 1887 or some such Around the World on a Bicycle and this dude's 20,000 miles in western hemi. and a tandem no less Take a Seat: One Man, One Tandem and Twenty Thousand Miles of Possibilities moron to moron is a good addition to great bike books. zang (see it's easy, most of th etime).
Profile Image for Toby Rowe.
26 reviews1 follower
December 4, 2013
Though giving a five star review to an author you know personally may be a bit shonky, friend or not, I found it really hard to put this tale down and ripped through it in just a couple of days. The humour, the relateabilityness, the honesty, and the turns of phrase- "it was hard and tasted of lapsed expiry dates", or, "I had the giddy sensation that a dyslexic megalomaniac sign-writer had painted the town weird"- mean this is definitely worth all five of its stars. Zang!
Profile Image for Paul.
2,116 reviews
December 22, 2015
Mongolia is a vast landlocked country. It is best known for the Mogul emperor Ghengis Khaan who ruled this rugged wilderness in the 13th century. Tom and Tama, one of his closest friends, decided to cycle across the country from a northern town called Moron to another smaller town called Moron, 900 odd miles away. They kind of felt it had to be done. They packed their bags with a barely passable phrasebook and some weird spandex suits and bought their bikes in China, and they were ready. Sort of...

Cycling through the beautiful Mongolian countryside they encountered all sorts of natural and manmade hazards, including floods, massive hailstones, underpant wrestling, uncross able rivers, fields full of marijuana and mad dogs. The locals were mostly pleased to see them, and those that didn’t stop to offer them a lift would provide delicacies such as dried fermented milk from a horse, unidentifiable meat and probably far too much of the local Chinggis Khaan vodka. It is a harsh country to cycle through too; there are few roads and they ended up on mostly tracks, with the odd swamp just to make life much harder.

Overall it is not a bad book, but it is nothing exceptional either. Their woeful lack of preparation is quite amusing, and he does write quite well of the people and places he sees, but it is pretty crude at times and there weren’t any really laugh out loud moments for me. It is full of antipodean vernacular too, which after a while does grate.
Profile Image for Liselott.
49 reviews16 followers
February 8, 2015
I wished these two 'morons' as they called themselves, could have pedalled a bit faster so I could have finished the book earlier. I was looking forward to read about their bike journey from this town called mörön to another town also called mörön in Mongolia.I liked the idea and I liked the book cover. But as happy they were to finish their bike journey I was when I finished the book.
Profile Image for Jim Rimmer.
153 reviews12 followers
December 4, 2013
Take your Bryson, your Gill, your Theroux, scoop them into a bag, take the bag to a bridge, hurl the bag from the bridge into the river like it's full of kittens (or marmots).

Now there is Doig.
Profile Image for Lorraine Pestell.
Author 10 books180 followers
April 19, 2014
I first heard about "Mörön to Mörön" through an article in the Writers Victoria magazine written by its author, Tom Doig. After catching the travel bug from "Nowhere to Goa..." by Doug E Jones, this book skipped a few places up my to-read list in order to satisfy my re-awakened Wanderlust!!

Tom Doig is a highly-skilled wordsmith with a self-effacing, blokish style. This book tells the story of two childhood friends from New Zealand, whose lives have taken them in many and varied directions, and their hair-brained idea to cycle across Mongolia. As their blog of the same name explains, there are actually many Morons in the world. They picked two that were separated by extremely arduous terrain, wild dogs and evidence of bears, not much cheese but plenty of vodka.

My favourite quote to sum this story up is: “I craved raw experience, bloody chunks of the stuff that I could cram onto the overcrowded mantelpiece of my mind, next to ‘In love in Laos’, ‘Hard rubbish day in Budapest’, ‘Stoned with teenage gypsies watching Fatboy Slim Live on Brighton Beach DVD in Transylvanian housing estate’, ‘Bronchitis in Goa’.” I think they succeeded.

This is a book of opposites. At the base of each mountain or bank of each river, the author comes face-to-face with his own frailty, only to celebrate the conquering hero when they reach the top / other side, in true Chinggis (aka Genghis) Khaan style. We live through two best mates enduring pain and elation, meandering through colourful meadows and Soviet concrete jungles, sheltering with locals from flooding rain or with no escape from the burning sun.

The most interesting and heart-warming episodes see the local people exhibiting their fabled hospitality and fascination for international travellers. This is a travelogue with a sense of humour, exploring the unappetising culinary options and existing on a staple diet of 'sugary drink' and mutton soup, we journey with Tom as he compares himself to his stronger friend in a mixture of motivation and admiration. He even has nightmares about bureaucracy in the middle of nowhere!

Even though the author now calls Melbourne home, I needed my Kiwi phrasebook handy! I'm looking forward to more moronic tales soon.
Profile Image for Melisa.
84 reviews14 followers
December 22, 2013
My husband asked me "What are you laughing at?" a lot while we lay in bed in the evenings. It was this book. I'm so sad it's finished I might go have a cry. Recommended for travelers, bikers and anyone who likes a wild adventure.
Profile Image for Abbey.
130 reviews1 follower
October 6, 2013
Fun armchair travel read, can't say it made me want to bike Mongolia but an enjoyable funny read!
Profile Image for Mark Glover.
137 reviews11 followers
November 30, 2014
A pleasant read though a bit overhyped if you are going off the cover description. The book details a 23 day cycling trip the two self confessed 'morons' took through Mongolia. It is a pretty amusing detailing of their trip and the perils, joys and insanity of long distance cycling. Whilst I enjoyed it I felt that a couple of things let it down, one being the repeated references to their sex lives, fantasies and other such 'banter' while I am sure I would have been laughing as hard as they were in the moment I found it sat pretty poorly with the content and came across as forced at best, absurd at worst. Secondly whilst not disparaging their achievements the journey was brief and they build up the hardest section of the journey only to bypass it when it all becomes too hard which I thought was a massive anticlimax. Other than that a nice quick read if you want something light and not too taxing.
8 reviews1 follower
September 5, 2014
When the overall concept is an adventure of two morons, travelling from one town called Moron to another, you know you’re not in for a standard travel novel. Tom and Tama are two New Zealanders that decide to ride bikes through Mongolia with often hilarious results.

There is a fun sense of adventure and a whole host of wacky characters that make the story a joy to read. Tom and Tama could pretty much be any two normal guys having a laugh and are easy to relate to for not being super serious ninja athletes.

Mongolia sounds like a fascinating place with even more fascinating people, an interesting perspective as long as you are prepared not to take things too seriously.
81 reviews
August 6, 2016
This was an enjoyable book which made you laugh and also question why the guys didn't do a bit more research before getting to Mongolia. Coming from someone who has done some bike touring, I found myself wondering how they 'rode' into so many situations that could have been avoided if they put a little more thought into their itinerary. That being said, reading the book you get sucked into a world of Mongolian countryside and go along for the ride. Though crass at times (they really could have not told some of their stories), it was a good read and I would recommend it to others.
1,759 reviews7 followers
May 3, 2014
Not many people would bicycle across Mongolia. Very inhospitable territory! These two guys rode from one Moron to the other Moron. Quite a difficult feat! Some places had no roads, mountains, little choice in food. Good for them, they made it.
Profile Image for Doug Hendrie.
Author 3 books4 followers
May 7, 2014
Very funny - snort/chortle to page ratio is high. There's a distinctly shonky air to Doig's murderous bike slog across Mongolia - from an eye-watering masturbation scene to wrestling a drunk Mongolian wrestler. You won't have read anything quite like this.
Profile Image for Chapitre1.
56 reviews
January 20, 2016
By reading this account, I was hoping to get a better insight into Mongolian lifestyle. I was disappointed that it turned out to be more about these two morons' immature comments and decisions than an anthropology of the fascinating Mongolians.
Profile Image for Chris Steeden.
428 reviews
August 8, 2016
In July 2010 New Zealanders, Tom Doig and his best friend Tama Pugsley, cycled 1487 KM across northern Mongolia from a small town called Moron (pronounced Muh-run) to an even smaller town called Moron.

This really is a remarkable feat and you can feel the pain in the words but what ruined this for me is the constant lapse into 13 year old boy territory with Tom's masturbatory thoughts and re-telling of their sexual conquests and non-conquests. Why? Really spoils it. Can't say I laughed out loud once. I guess in New Zealand this type of humour is still deemed funny.
Profile Image for Jane Mulkewich.
Author 2 books12 followers
January 3, 2016
I enjoyed this book very much... a great story, made that much better by the fact that I know one of the guys who went on this crazy bike trip across Mongolia... well I knew him (Tama Pugsley) when he was a kid in Canada, and I loved the references to his parents and his childhood that made him into the man he is today.

I also had great fun with the videos and everything on the book's website... http://www.moron2moron.com/... can't wait for the next Moron to Moron book when they do South America!
Profile Image for Aimee.
108 reviews1 follower
February 8, 2014
The idea of two self-described "morons" bicycling between two towns called "Mörön" in Mongolia struck me as amusing, but the misadventures of two perpetual adolescent backpackers cavorting through Mongolia's vast wilderness proved more annoying and derivative than "bowel-splittingly hilarious", as the book's cover promises. The occasional dry wit that came through merited the second star.
Profile Image for Gill Collins.
114 reviews3 followers
July 27, 2015
I had always wanted to travel though Mongolia. Till now. I read it as an book so was able to click the links and look at the map, photos, videos etc. it's an easy read but a bit too uni lads on an adventure for my taste.
Profile Image for Cognac Legion.
29 reviews11 followers
September 16, 2015
I loved the multimedia format. Also, the drooling description of lamb (/unidentified meat) and noodle soup will stay forever lodged in my memory. I read this before embarking on a much more pedestrian cycle tour of Cambodia. Doig and Co. are great fun.
6 reviews
March 11, 2020
Good fun read, had a good laugh at some of the tales. Probably a bit long winded in the end, but what a ride!
Displaying 1 - 21 of 21 reviews

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