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!FREE ☨ A Bike Ride: 12,000 Miles Around the World ☨ When Ex Headmistress Anne Mustoe Gave Up Her Job, Bought A Bike And Took To The Road, She Couldn T Even Mend A Puncture , Miles And Months Later, She Was HomeHer 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 Blistering Deserts, Political Turmoil And Amorous Waiters Alternated With Great Kindness From Strangers Along The Way A Bike Ride Is The First In The Series Of Anne Mustoe S Successful And Inspiring Travelogues
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. 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 ve done some serious cycling but not much outside my European comfort zone, Anne Mustoe rode straight into the unknown and dealt with it except for basic cycle repairs and maintainance Following Alexander s route of conquest east and beyond she crossed Turkey, Pakistan, India, Thailand malaysia which make for the most interesting reading as she is challenged by poverty, religion and culture as well as being an independent woman in some societies where such an existence could not easily be contemplated Again and again she finds it is those with the least who are the most accomodating and give the most and will accept no payment, hospitality being an honour given cheerfully It is interesting how once you are on a cycle for any time the world becomes a completely different place, your bike opens doors and minds and it is this that again comes across clearly in Mustoe s book as the quite plummy middle aged upper middle class lady discovers a freedom and sense of adventure that has been I think missing in her life up until then There isn t anything in my experience to match being out on the road with only what you carry in your panniers and the excitement of the world opeing out in front of you Anne Mustoe tells the tale well Still can t believe she set out unable to fix a puncture though and reilied on being a damsel in distress to get the few she had fixed, madness. 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 of self motivation and determination.After a brief introduction where the author describes her equipment and the motivation planning of her trip, she then launches straight into the cycling It is hard not to draw comparisons with Dervla Murphy well known as an accomplished cyclist and traveller, often alone, but sometimes with daughter in tow To be perfectly honest, this book missed what makes most Dervla Murphy books successful it was not as amusing There were a few wry comments, and amusing situations, but for me far too far between Large tracts of the travel were only marginally interesting, and perhaps due to the great distance covered, the commentary seemed to skip through the potentially interesting things far too quickly As I understand it, this is Anne Mustoe s first of many books I have several in my shelves , and perhaps she felt obliged to mention each town and village, no matter how briefly Perhaps in the following books she gets a instinctive feel for where to linger in a story and what to omit Parts of the European countries, and almost all of the USA fell flat with me I enjoyed the central part of the trip Greece, Turkey, Pakistan India, but to be fair they are destinations I am much interested in Thailand and Malaysia were brief in their descriptions, and didn t spark much amusement There was far too much saw that, cycled here, slept there, eat that of a repetitive nature, it just all remained too predictable.In hindsight I am glad I read the first of her books first, and I am game to try again But not too soonBetween two and three stars for me, but erring towards the lower end. 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. 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 mishaps with her bicycle and panniers, the author completed her 12,000 mile challenge without significant problems despite the frequent warnings from those she met of potential harm to her and her belongings that she would likely encounter in neighboring countries The only drawback of the book was the author s enthusiasm for the classics Previously a school teacher, the routes she followed were those of the Romans and and Alexander the Great as she traveled through Europe and the Middle East This led to frequent references to historical events and detours to archaeological sites, museums, ancient buildings etc Without some in depth knowledge of classical history this did detract from the overall interest in her journey.It is interesting to speculate how easy it would be to repeat her journey now some 30 years later Certainly bicycles have become sophisticated and reliable Communication in the days of mobile phones and computers would also be easier However the world seems unsettled so I do wonder how easy the route would be to replicate. 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 you are traveling by bike in a country whose language you do not know, where facilities for locals and certainly for travelers are inadequate, lacking or nonexistent, how do you find a toilet She drank copious amounts of caffeinated soft drinks because she was sure the water in them was safe Each drink meant a trip to the toilet but how did she find them In rural areas, sometimes it was just a walk outside, even worse than some backpacking trails that I have been on where people did not bury their waste The smells, flies, disease and the risk to her health In some areas, it was an open pit with a plank on the roof of the hotel In some hotels, she had her own hole in the floor like some restaurants in France that I have used In some cities, crowded with millions of people who lived on the street, where facilities were not available, people simply use the streets What did she do What did she do about hand washing when so many things that she needed to touch door knobs, her bike after others had handled it, etc were filthy and sticky with dirt and germs I have been in places where the accepted protocol for people was to step off the trail in full view of everyone and others were expected to stop on the trail until the person was finished.I have been on Manhattan Island where you could buy an expensive cappuccino everywhere but there were no washrooms unless you wanted a full meal By the end of our visit there, I could understand why there was a show on Broadway called Urine City.In underdeveloped countries, aid organizations are working on improving sanitation and decreasing disease spread by open toilets In most places, except when she was in Americanized hotels in major cities, she needed to leave her room and often the hotel for toilet facilities That is a risk that to me is not necessary.I know that weight is a problem, but I would have packed some PeePoo bags for emergencies Peepoo bag offers sanitary human waste disposal for pennies designed for underdeveloped countries.Because of the difficulty in many countries of traveling alone as a woman, where, because of her size, she could pass as a man, I think she should have used a Stand Up to Pee kit which allows her to pee fully clothed and also removes the need for toilet paper female urination devices I have used these in toilets in Mexico which were too unsanitary to sit on The planks that she sat on were not sanitized, and were wood which would hold moisture and host bacteria.I don t want an author too delicate to describe these necessities.Anne Mustoe was on her own she lived on subsistence food levels but did not adapt to the activity levels of people with minimal caloric and nutrient intake As a result, she was susceptible to disease and illness Usually she could survive because every week or two, she could find an urban hotel with adequate meals and build up her body again But there is no point in exposing yourself to deadly germs unnecessarily Anne probably overcame these problems, but she did not discuss them in any detail in her book She put her body through a lot of strain and I think it eventually paid the price Anne Mustoe died at the age of 76 of illness in a hospital in Syria on her third around the world trip Some people would say it was tragic But I think she died doing what she loved she had 22 years of cycling adventures Even though she was away from home, she was never alone She built relationships and friendships wherever she went, and people wanted her to stay with them, to visit with them, and loved to buy her meals and try to protect her i don t think she died alone.Would she have died at 76 if she had been at home in London, England Probably not from disease, but maybe from old age She was an inspiring lady. 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 Europe, Asia, and North America along established historic routes This is an amazing story and I can hardly fathom the courage it would take to plan such a trip in the pre internet days without google streetview to prepare you for what was to come She wasn t terribly in shape when she started yet she managed to conquer mountain ranges and deserts, losing 23 pounds in the process The entire trip was mapped out on paper maps and although she conducted research prior to the journey, she d often approach towns without knowing whether there would be accommodation or food Relying solely on her intelligence, friendly nature, and faith in humanity, she always managed to find a place to stay and people to help her She had very few unpleasant experiences on her adventures and those she did have were relatively minor As well as being a testament to Mustoe s courage, the book also highlights the power of a bike to connect people On her green Condor bicycle, Mustoe found that people would approach her and speak to her in a way they never would have if she d carried out her adventure by car It s an inspiring and enjoyable book, but the cities and villages she passes through tend to blur together as the story goes on and I found that near the end I was as eager to finish the book as Mustoe was to finish her journey The book would also have benefited from detailed maps than the small black and white drawings included The strength of this book lies not in Mustoe s ability to relay her experiences though she is a good writer , but in the inspiring nature of the story as a whole It makes you want to get out and explore different countries and meet new people I m sure the world has changed greatly in the almost 30 years that have elapsed since her trip, but I like to think that she is still right in feeling that 99.9% of people are good. 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. 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 of Mustoe s initial inexperience and unfitness as a cyclist, but she was an educated woman who had traveled well in Europe and beyond This was no sheltered countrywoman venturing na vely into the world for the first time Her trip was well planned and thoughtful, though that does not diminish her accomplishment The thought of setting off each day, often not knowing exactly where she would find food or a place to sleep the following night, will daunt readers including me Having to ask around at caf s and tourism offices, however, put her in touch with the people and cultures she traveled through, enriching her journey.With the overall theme of people s basic goodness comes the question of why some people or sometimes entire cities were rude or even mean I continued to ponder this problem after finishing the book Mustoe faced incompetent consular officials, loutish youths, and other miscreants along the way Sometimes these moments were personal I braced myself when she entered the United States, hoping my countrymen would represent us well, then cringed each time they didn t Whatever unpleasantness Mustoe faced, however, formed only a small portion of her trip, and readers who are apprehensive about traveling to foreign places should find encouragement here.Mustoe loved both the act of cycling and the travel experience it offered However, though proud of her Condor touring bike, she supplies few details about it When listing its components at the beginning of the book, the gears and brakes are described only as Shimano Cyclists who enjoy bicycles for their own sake as machines are left wanting details A Bike Ride is an understated travelogue, and some portions made the book feel like a list of places than a story Though not an exciting book, however, it rewarded my patience.