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The Cyclist Who Went Out in the Cold: Adventures Along the Iron Curtain Trail

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  971 ratings  ·  118 reviews
Not content with tackling the Italian Alps or the route of the Tour de France, Tim Moore sets out to scale a new peak of rash over-ambition: 6,000 mile route of the old Iron Curtain on a tiny-wheeled, two-geared East German shopping bike.
Asking for trouble and getting it, Moore sets off from the northernmost Norwegian-Russian border at the Arctic winter’s brutal height, bu
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ebook, 368 pages
Published October 6th 2016 by Vintage Digital (first published May 5th 2016)
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Average rating 3.98  · 
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Paul
Nov 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Growing up as a teenager in the 1980’s the cold war and the Soviet threat was very real indeed. The whole system imploded at the end of that decade and the Iron Curtain that separated Western Europe from Communist bloc for decades was drawn aside. This physical and ideological border stretched from the Black Sea all the way up to the Barents Sea on the Finnish border with the USSR. This continental wide border is now the route for Eurovelo 13 (EV13) a 10,400km trail that passes through 20 differ ...more
Yodamom
Jan 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Cycling insanity through snow, ice, angry villagers, drunken drivers, award worthy pot holes, language failures, dark ruins, mad dogs, hunger and extreme physical exhaustion. Insane it might have been, but it was the best non trip I’ve taken. The historical knowledge and visions were better than any history class I’ve attended. The reality of the aftermath of the communist cold war is not something I had ever even thought of before. The best part, I didn't get a sore bum riding the trail.

This wa
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Ron S
The eccentric British madman who’s been called “Bill Bryson on two wheels,” cycles 10,000km along the length of the old Iron Curtain on a shopping bike (two gears and 20" wheels). Starting from Finland, in winter. I’m not kidding.

Following French Revolutions (riding the Tour de France route in out of shape middle age) and Gironimo! (Giro d'Italia on a vintage bike with wooden wheels), Moore's publisher and wife need to intervene because it's difficult to see how he ups his game at this point. U
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John
Apr 18, 2020 rated it liked it
Been a fan of the author for years, but forced to admit this one I found mildly disappointing. Had the feel of being cranked out to fulfill a book proposal contract, where the historical details and bike-specific details were of limited interest. Started off very slow in Finland, but gained traction (old traveling Tim returned) once he got to Russia.
Sho
First things first. Stop comparing Moore with Bill bloody Bryson (who has turned into something of a bitter grumpy ol' git). The nearest comparison would be someone like Charlie Connelley.

Second: I tweeted that I'd just finished The Silmarillion and had started this and TIM MOORE TWEETED ME A BOROMIR MEME BACK IN REPLY. *swoon* That really really made my day (Tim - if you're reading this - I'm going through a bit of a shitty time at work and have a horrible commute. I was grinning like a lunatic
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Popup-ch
Oct 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kindle, non-fiction, 2016
Tim Moore sets off on his daftest adventure yet: cycling along the former Iron Curtain on an old East German shopping bike. He survives the 8'700km fueled by curiosity, boneheadedness and dubious energy drinks, and describes the ordeal in self-depreciating prose reminiscent of the early Bill Bryson. At one point he describes his decision to stop for the day as 'apart from vowing not to have more children and buying a cordless hedge trimmer, the only sensible decision he has taken since reaching ...more
Jenny Hilborne
Sep 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
As a cyclist, I found this book interesting and applaud the massive effort and endurance undertaken; however, it wasn't really humorous, or maybe I enjoy a different type of humor. I can't recall laughing once throughout the book, not that it mattered as I was far more interested in following the route and the adventure, plus I enjoyed reading all the historical aspects.
Joe O'Donnell
Anybody familiar with any of Tim Moore’s previous travelogues – such as cycling the full route of the Tour de France in “French Revolutions”, or walking the entire length of the Camino with a recalcitrant donkey – will know that the man is quite clearly a lunatic. For his latest adventure in “The cyclist who went out in the cold”, Moore has elected to ride the 10,000km route of the old Iron Curtain on a clapped-out East German DDR-era shopping bike.

While Tim Moore is primarily known as a humouri
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Simon Clode
Nov 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Cracking Again

Another triumphant farce full of fun, historical vignettes and enough gaps in detail to irritate the cycling bores!

Great stuff.
Pieter Morten
Feb 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is a joy to read. After worrying at the start that he was trying to hard to be funny you adapt to his humour and strap in for the ride. A very relaxing, funny and informative read. RECOMMENDED
KendraLee
Apr 19, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019
There are a lot of adjectives in this book. Sometimes to the detriment of the main point of the sentence. But I'd love to do a long distance cycle trip and found the stories about post-Soviet countries very interesting.
Laura
Oct 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2017
This dude is seriously crazy, but such an interesting look at the countries along the Iron Curtain, both with some history and how they are today. Almost felt like it ended too soon, but I think the author was just tired by the end!
Gill
Apr 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As always, Tim Moore is laugh out loud funny.

Cycling the length of the Iron Curtain, from Norway to the Black Sea, on a bike better suited to popping to the corner shop?

Barking mad, Moore delivers a fascinating snapshot of the 19 countries traversed by the nascent trail.
Ken Richards
Mar 10, 2017 rated it liked it
Tim Moore does the curmudgeonly English traveller par excellance in this travelogue.

The premise is suitably abitious and quixotic. How about riding a 2 geared East German made shopping bicycle along the borderlands of the now superfluous Iron Curtain, from the icy wastes of Finland, to the Black Sea. Nearly 10,000 km of travail, on a bicycle built for short trips to the shops.

Throughout, our cycling hero presents his observations of the character of the population of the 20 nations of his 2 whe
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Sharon Gardner
Dec 02, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book. It reminded me of how complex and disparate Europe really is and how precious our unity is. Throughout his journey Tim Moore sees reminders of our not too distant dark history where nation was pitched against nation. It made me want to read more about the history of Europe, particularly Northern Europe as I know little about it. Saying that this is not a depressing read and Tim Moore is an informative and funny writer and good company for the journey.
Hermien
Mar 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Quite entertaining and worth reading if you plan to or have visited the Eastern European countries Tim Moore cycles through.
Nathan Albright
Sep 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: challenge2017
Having read a considerable body of work from the author at this point [1], I have to say that this is the finest book by the author I have read to date.  This volume lacks none of the hilarity of the self-effacing humor of previous volumes but it also shows the author in a highly reflective state of life and in a situation that is rife with implications for contemporary Europe.  The blend of melancholy reflectiveness as well as wit and humor makes for an excellent read that never slacks and that ...more
Lee Osborne
Jan 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
I've read and enjoyed Tim Moore's work before, and I'm a sucker for a bit of Cold War culture and history, so when I spotted this I was very keen to give it a read. It's the (slightly crazy) story of a cycling trip along the route of the former Iron Curtain, from Norway to Bulgaria, on a tiny and flimsy East German shopping bike. It was around 9000km long, and took the author across 20 countries, on both sides of the old border.


I admire anyone doing anything slightly crazy like this, and the sto
...more
Lee Osborne
Jan 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've read and enjoyed Tim Moore's work before, and I'm a sucker for a bit of Cold War culture and history, so when I spotted this I was very keen to give it a read. It's the (slightly crazy) story of a cycling trip along the route of the former Iron Curtain, from Norway to Bulgaria, on a tiny and flimsy East German shopping bike. It was around 9000km long, and took the author across 20 countries, on both sides of the old border.

I admire anyone doing anything slightly crazy like this, and the sto
...more
James
Sep 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Like the proverbial monkey in a red rosette up North, I think I'd read anything by Moore, who is one of my favourite writers. On this occasion, he rides a GDR-built shopping bike along a new European cycle route, which takes him along the border of the old Iron Curtain.

This time, there was less build up around the equipment, and Moore was on his travels almost immediately, in northern Finland in the depths of winter. Although typically amusing, this experience sounded dreadful, but what made thi
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Mattr76
May 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This excellent book is, on the surface, a travelogue documenting a 8558 km bicycle tour from the northern tip of Europe (Norway) to its southeastern extremity at the Black Sea. The route follows the Iron Curtain trail, so named as it skirts the borders of twenty nations divided by the superpowers in recent history. To properly ground his adventure, Moore selects a communist-built shopping bicycle as his steed. This aspect of the book, man vs machine vs the elements (he begins his trip struggling ...more
Ben
May 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a great book, an adventure of epic scale and seemingly very bad planning. Who starts a cross-continent cycling trip in Finland in March? And doing it on an old Soviet shopping bike to boot!

Tim Moore writes of this mammoth undertaking with a great deal of wit, humour, sarcasm, and pop culture inner monologues. I found myself regularly chuckling as Tim and his MIFA bounced over Serbian potholes to the beats of Croat electro-accordion music, or the invented cold war experiences as he fight
...more
Emily
Jul 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A really fun read! Recommended to me by NPR, this book follows a Brit named Tim who gets a brilliant idea to bike the boundary of the Iron Curtain on a bike manufactured in the GDR, otherwise known as a MIFA 900 which basically is a 2 gear bike with these tiny little wheels! He biked 10,000 KM aka over 6000 miles, starting in Finland in the dead of winter and freezing his butt off in negative temps and then ending in Turkey. It took me a bit of time to get into this book as I found the author's ...more
Terry
Feb 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: travel
(Probably) Much more fun to read than to actually pedal a 20" small 1990 East German shopping bike from northern Finland to Bulgaria along the former iron curtain. Being about the same age as this bloke and sharing his penchant for bicycle adventures, I am grateful that Comrad Tim proves this feat is possible. Comrade reminds me that half my own life was spent while that sad curtain held back the dreams of so many. Comrade's writing also warns of the new Russia's thirst for empire, e.g., Ukraine ...more
Dawn
Jun 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Truth is stranger than fiction! Also, traveling on a bicycle brings you closer to finding out what you are made of, and what the world around you consists of.
So Tim Moore's journal about his cycling for three months from Finland to Bulgaria (cutting North to South through Eastern Europe) on a route labeled EV13, or the Iron Curtain Trail, contains jaw dropping truths we are just now able to openly discuss (in the twenty-five years since the demise of the Iron Curtain) as well as side-splitting l
...more
Emil Gigov
Jun 10, 2018 rated it liked it
This is an entertaining story of the author’s cycling trip, following the route of the “Iron Curtain”. There are quite a few humorous anecdotes and descriptions of the places and people encountered on the way. However, make no mistake, Tim Moore is no Bill Bryson. This is partly due to the nature of his trip, spending most of the time in the saddle and never having he chance to explore the places he passes through or understand the culture of the people he meets. Stereotypes are reinforced and t ...more
Matt
Jun 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Tim Moore takes on the challenge of riding the entire length, north to south, of the old Iron Curtain that separated the USSR and democratic Western Europe. His ludicrously long journey, on an old East German shopping bike, is interspersed with Cold War history and his recounting of a car trip along the same border just before the fall of the Berlin Wall. The legacy of the Cold War is marked by derelict border patrol towers and desolate landscapes meant to keep citizens from fleeing to the West. ...more
Darren
Nov 10, 2017 rated it liked it
I had high expectations for this book but unfortunately they were not met. It is an entertaining read and I am glad I read it but as a cyclist I felt uncomfortable with how someone who is evidently an experienced cyclist managed to make this challenge as hard (and dangerous) as possible. Leaving Finland in the middle of winter feels like it was done because it is so stupid and better for a book than being sensible. The bits that rescue the book are the historical insights for me. The cycling tur ...more
April Sanders
Feb 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Moore is a travel writer in the style of Bill Bryson but more sport than intellectually driven. This book is his journey from northern Finland to Turkey along the former boundaries of the USSR. The trip, named the Iron Curtain trail was not enough, however, as he decided to do it on a 2 speed GDR manufactured shopping bike. That is the aspect of the trip that I found most incredible, having climbed the passes in Europe on the best 10 speed money can buy and suffering like a dog with the effort. ...more
Greg Golz
Mar 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really was excited to find this book at my library. It was hard to get into though, but I'm glad I stuck with. While reading, you feel a sense of connection to the author in his frustration early on. I think his emotional ride comes through as much as the physical ride. Overall, the book did a great job of conveying it message of how communism has deeply changed many countries in the would.

My only main challenge was in the narrative of the author. I loved his adventure, but he wrote very much
...more
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Tim Moore is a British travel writer and humorist. He was educated at Latymer Upper School in Hammersmith. In addition to his seven published travelogues to date, his writings have appeared in various publications including Esquire, The Sunday Times, The Independent, The Observer and the Evening Standard. He was also briefly a journalist for the Teletext computer games magazine Digitiser, under th ...more

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