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Gears for Queers

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  103 ratings  ·  33 reviews
Keen to see some of Europe, queer couple Lilith and Abigail get on their old bikes and start pedalling. Along flat fens and up Swiss Alps, they will meet new friends and exorcise old demons as they push their bodies - and their relationship - to the limit.
Paperback, 384 pages
Published June 4th 2020 by Sandstone Press
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Average rating 4.17  · 
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May 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
What a fun read!

This is a true story following Abi and Lili, a pair of amateur cyclists as they cycle from Amsterdam to Spain. This follows their triumphs and all the hurdles along the way.

By chapter two, I already loved the funny narrative of this and how they both felt extremely relatable. I also enjoyed how you did actually learn some of the history of every country along the way.

Throughout the book, important topics were also discussed such as, body image, mental health and LGBTQ rights.

Anna Illyashyk
Apr 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What a great and relatable book about REAL people and REAL cyclists.
Even though I am not British, but I am also queer, I have a vegan girlfriend, I have mental illness and I have had to deal with mansplaning more times than I care to count.
These are some of the reasons this book spoke to me on so many levels. It hit close to home to have someone so authentic tell their story.
This book has made me feel a whole spectrum of emotions and I don’t think it can leave any sympathetic person indifferen
May 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, queer, travel
In a pretty miserable time, this was a really joyful read. 4.5
Jun 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a delightful and raw adventure of a queer couple taking cycle tour of Europe. I adore the narrative non-fiction style of writing, and switching back and forth between perspectives. While Abi was open and honest about her frustration regarding how people on the trail treated her because of her weight, Lil gave us insight into the gender discrimination they face daily. Both authors are frank about their mental health needs and disabilities, and it was refreshing to see people arguing throu ...more
Becca Di Francesco
Aug 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Absolutely loved this book! It was everything I wanted to read and it was refreshing to read people I understand and relate to kick ass at cycling and prove that it's open to everyone.
Also appreciated the honesty of the tough times and even though I'm now itching to get out and do a similar journey at least I'm looking at it with clear rather than rose tinted glasses.
Keen to read more from these two!
Thank you so much to Abi and Lili for sending me an ARC!

I have a lot of love for this book. I already think it's going to be one of my favourite reads of the year. It's just so candid, self-aware, and free of pretence. Also, I can't not mention that during this time of confinement, I loved reminiscing what it's like to be in the outdoors.

There were so many strong running themes and bits that were familiar to my experiences:
- Fizzy water as a default in Germany (I will never get used to this)
- T
Katie Gillingham
Jun 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: god-tier-faves
Ever since I first learnt about this book some months ago, I've desperately wanted to read it. And yet when a few books I'd ordered a couple of weeks ago turned up, I couldn't bring myself to open the pages first for some reason. Daft. I cheated myself out of a week of not having read it.

I thought it was just brilliant. A few other reviews have mentioned repetitive elements including a focus on food. Well, despite having not ridden a bike for about ten years, I personally felt that those things
Alan Teder
Bikes Across Europe
Review of the Sandstone Press paperback edition (2020)

Gears for Queers documents a 3 month / 2,000 km. journey by authors/partners Abi and Lily as they biked across Europe from Amsterdam, Netherlands to Portbou, Spain in 2016. This is not so much a travelogue as a challenge adventure for the two who are honest about their various mental health and well-being issues along the way. Certainly there are tourist sites that are encountered, but the draw of this book is to read how t
May 11, 2020 rated it it was ok
I should admit to not being the target audience for this book, but I asked to read it because I enjoy travelling, bike and have many LGBT friends. I also travelled extensively in Holland, Germany , France and Spain so hoped that I would recognise the places described.
I found the book hard-going most of the time. Why is a LGBT person different to anyone else ? Why set off on such an epic journey without very much preparation ? There is little description of the areas travelled and lots about sup
Jun 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
This left me with the overwhelming need to hug both Abi and Lil.
A beautiful and insight adventure of a queer couple taking cycle tour of Europe.
It switching from Abi to Lil, telling both their points of view as the tour unfolds.
My cope is now littered with highlighted passeges and tab notes, as it made me feel all the feelings.
Abi and Lil talk about the predjudice and difficulties of gender freedom. Disscussing periods on tour, saftey vs their male counterparts and weight.
They both have a fra
Feb 17, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: physical-arcs, 2020
Gears for Queers is a truly raw and honest account of bike touring by a couple of real people. Abi and Lili lay bare the trials and tribulations of travelling under your own steam in unfamiliar territory, both geographical and emotional! These are not a couple of lycra-clad MAMIL's who constantly reference their Koomoot route finders, or upload every turn of the pedal on Strava (yes, that one's me!), but a couple of sometimes happy, sometimes sad, sometimes lucky, sometimes unfortunate, and, thr ...more
Jul 27, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction, memoir, queer
Oh, how I wanted to like this book! Really, I did. Unlike fellow reviewer Annie, I am this book's target audience, both queer and a cycle tourer. And unlike Annie, I do believe that being LGBTQ+ does make a difference when you're out there doing some long-term, long-distance, on-the-ground travelling like this. It determines where you might go, who you might stay with, and how you might present yourself to others. Although there may be ways in which one might be able to hide their queerness (thi ...more
May 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
I requested this book on netgalley mostly because it said “queer” in the title. So when I was accepted and read that it was actually mostly about cycling; my thought was “why did I request this!?!?”.... I was pleasantly surprised by how much i enjoyed it!

This account of Lili and Abi’s journey cycling through Europe is so so charming, funny and more importantly HONEST! This is not your usual “cycling is amazing and I am an amazing athlete” type book- this is just two normal every day people goin
Jun 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book gave me so much joy! As someone who doesn’t really cycle (I prefer my skates!) and who doesn’t travel very much, it was excellent to live vicariously through Abi & Lili’s travels. I ate this book up so quickly - it was really easy to fall into the rhythm, and the switches between Abi & Lili’s story showed a change in narrative voice but didn’t disrupt the story at all, and allows us to see a whole picture of how they both felt along the journey. It was, at times, hilariously funny, rel ...more
Paulette Ward
Jun 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Having undertaken cycle tours in France many years ago and recently returned to cycling I was drawn to this book as an escape from lockdown. It started as a tale of two fairly unfit young women (can I say that if one wishes to be referred to as 'they'?) who hadn't cycled much since childhood before deciding to cycle/camp from Amsterdam to Spain.

I must admit that just a few chapters in I was a bit fed up with the tears and tantrums of the pair. However - and they acknowledge this aspect themselv
Zoe Bradford
Jul 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was something really different from what I usually read, but I'm not sure if there is any other books about a queer couple cycling across Europe, which made it even more special. It was really inspiring to read about two people carving a space for themselves in the cycling world and also made me want to get a bike! The book is quite personal and also very tender as they learn to forgive themselves individually but also as a couple, which I just thought was so nice. It was great to read abou ...more
Jan 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book! When I first bought it, I didn’t realise it was a true story! Knowing that, made it 1000x more enjoyable for me! Sometimes it felt like I was listening to a couple of friends telling me their story, and sometimes it felt like I was on a bike joining them!!

I love how real they speak, and it’s just relatable. What emotions and actions they go through, was so humbling to me as I feel I’d be the same. I’d love to cycle through Europe, but I wouldn’t class myself as the f
Minna Koo / lukemattomienkirjojenkerho
Thank you to publisher and Netgalley for a chance to read this book!

My absolute favourite about this book was to read from two different points of view. It was nice to get to know both Lili and Abi, to get a glimpse about their thoughts, fears, hopes and dreams.

My second favourite were the depictions of scenery. Sometimes I could smell the rain, hear the traffic and see what they saw.

I wish I'd liked this book more just for those things. But sadly, it fell flat. The best moments were cut abrupt
Jenny Clarke
Jun 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I'm very biased, as Lili and Abi are my friends!
But I fully loved this book.
It was like reading a long extended letter from them both, and I'm so happy that other readers get to experience what it is like to get letters or chat to Lili and Abi.

I knew some of the tales of success and woe before the book came out, but it was really refreshing to hear both Lili and Abi reflect on the wider context of their experiences and to think back to how things were in 2015/1016 and how they are now.

I cycl
Iszzy Hayter-Rogers
Oct 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
As a vegan queer who is in a relationship with another vegan queer, and is currently planning a long-haul wild-camping hiking/cycling journey, this book felt like it was made for me!

This was my first non-fiction book written by queer people, and the power of reading something that represents you was incredible. Even the moments where they had to hide parts of their identity and relationships, whilst saddening, was validating for someone who has had to do the same.

I loved how truthful they both
Jul 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
A well-written, raw and honest account of the ups and downs of cycle touring. Great to read more underrepresented voices in the world of cycling.

Abi and Lili talk about many subjects that are often ignored in other cycling books - privilege, visibility, belonging, mental and physical health, disability, fear, lack of confidence, periods, fitness. This feels like one of the truest accounts I have read of touring.

Loved the recipes and illustrations. Lovely touches to the read.

My only criticism is
Steve Sreeves
Apr 03, 2021 rated it liked it
As I'm not LGBTQ+ I'm admittedly probably not the target audience of the book, but I read this for my interest in cycling and travel. It's an interesting book, especially when pointing out the sad irony of Brexit versus being able to pass freely through Europe, and the gutsy approach Lili and Abi had for tackling such a big trip is admirable . Unfortunately the book doesn't go into any detail about the places they travel through, so there's never any "I'll add that to the to-go-list" moments, an ...more
Jun 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
I really, really liked this. It's honest, thoughtful, and will have you both fantasising about going on a cycle tour as well as pondering what exactly counts as an essential (cue nightmares about when I dragged swimsuits 120km through a mountain range. In December.)

It's a really fun, enjoyable, insightful read! You should read it, especially if you have feelings about cycling (or endurance sports in general). You should also read it if you have absolutely no feelings about cycling but would like
Jul 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A brilliant record of two young people on a daring adventure. It was difficult to stop reading as each day of their bicycle tour brought another memorable experience. Sometimes extremely funny. Sometimes quite scary! What trumped the retelling of the ins and outs of 80 odd days' cycling was the candid reflections and self-awareness of themselves in relation to others, their mental health struggles, and ultimately their remarkable resilience. The book reads effortlessly, but packs a terrific punc ...more
Olly Mogs
Jul 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this. It felt a very real, honest, warts-and-all glimpse into a cycling tour that obviously took both Melton & Cooper along the full spectrum of emotions and experiences. Hopping back and forth between the two voices works quite well.

As well as the places they visit and the people there's a lot of introspection, what it means to be a cyclist, an ethical traveller, and how one fits into that.
Kym Payne
May 19, 2020 rated it liked it
Gears for Queers is a story of two young women on a cycling trek in Europe. Although the book was enjoyable, I've only been able to rate it 3 stars because in places it felt very "meh" and repetitive, I was hoping for a bit more adventure and fun.
It was however an easy read and a book I could dabble in and out of and still know where I was in the story.
j savell-stewart and Hannah Savell-Stewart
Excellent Read

Brilliantly captures the ups and Downs on a cycling tour. Would recommend really good to have a female perspective on things like wild camping. Sometimes it is portrayed as oh so easy ...
Jun 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Bloody loved every minute of it and I am absolutely raring to get out on a tour of my own now
Mar 10, 2021 rated it liked it
It’s not a bad read, but for me it glosses over the interesting (mental health, Brexit, the travel experience in general), and elaborates on the meh parts (grocery shopping, meals, etc)
I was so delighted to be able to get an ARC of this via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. It was on my to read list anyway.

I have read a few cycling books, and a few 'health at every size' fitness books, but this was a nice blend of cycling topics along with intersectional commentary and what it really feels like to go cycle touring when you are not a cis man. I hugely appreciated the non-binary representation and could relate to both Lilli and Abi in different ways and enjoyed the ch
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