Chris Witt's Reviews > The Man Who Cycled The World

The Man Who Cycled The World by Mark Beaumont
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's review
Jul 25, 2011

liked it

As somebody who has only recently come back to his long-lost two-wheeled love, this book jumped out at me off of a bookshelf on my last visit to the library. Looked interesting enough and I honestly can't think of any interesting bike books, so this seemed worth a spin. (Ouch. Bike pun.)

I enjoyed this book but wouldn't necessarily recommend it. But if you're interested in travel or athletic pursuits, you might like it.

Beaumont's quest to break the world record for fastest time biking around the world would not have been possible without the help of multiple complete strangers. This facet of the book is what I found most interesting. We live in a world where the local news teaches you that a violent death is always just around the corner, but here's a man biking around the world (usually solo) in strange war-torn countries where people sometimes don't speak the same language as him, and what you find is a reminder that, for all its warts, humanity is basically decent.

Divided up into 25 chapters, I pretty much digested one every evening, always excited to pick up the book and see what would happen in the next batch of miles. By the end (195 days and 18,300 miles), I realized that I was probably enjoying most was that the pace of the book reminded me of a long excursion on the bike. For me anyhow, riding a bike is a pretty meditative experience. Sure, burning a couple thousand calories on one trip has its own physical merits. But with a hectic full-time job and two kids at home, getting away for a multi-hour ride - just you, your bike, and the open road - also puts your mind in a state of calm that's not always easy to find.

There are some that would read this book (or bike 50 miles) and think "Oh my God, this is plodding and dull..." But there are others who are just going to enjoy the ride.

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