The Man Who Cycled the World: Hugh Beaumont

I hadn’t read and reviewed a cycling book for a while.  So I went in search of one.  I like adventure books, tales of travel and adversity, and learning from others who like to challenge themselves.  I also like a book in which the writer can laugh at himself, and entertain me, while reading about is adventures.

I have read many a dry chronicle of mountain climbing, cycling and arctic travel n my times.  This one, from the synopsis on Amazon, looked like it would be a fun read.

Nope not really…..

imageI will give the author this,  He did work the number of miles he traveled into the story as opposed to just dry data.  That’s not easy to do.  But this also brings me to the first gripe about the book.  I don’t care if an author wants to use miles or kilometers.  Either work for me, and after being living in Germany, spending time in Canada, and being a runner, I can work easily in “Klicks”.

for the lovagawd though!  Pick one or the other!  He would start a chapter saying he had 120 miles to the border, and he wanted to get there before nightfall.  OK!  Then while telling about the story, he’d talk about being at 80 kilometers!  Wait, was it 120 miles or kilometers?  OK it was miles.  Alright lets, convert, carry the 2, oh thats 48 MILES so far.  Yeah I can see why he was worried.  Just pick one and stick to it!!  He told us time and time again that he wanted to average 100 miles a day.  But each days total was in kilometers….  Bugged me!

Then there is his attitude in general.  I really dislike books like this in which the ‘hero’ is a whiner.  Suck it up buttercup!  This was your idea.  No one said 18000 miles (oh sorry 30000 KM) was going to be easy.  He starts out as a vegetarian, and is traveling to very remote parts of the world.  Michelle, my wife, has trouble finding food to eat on Rick Steve’s tours in Europe.  How can someone plan to stay a vegetarian when you are stuck with whatever food you can find from a bike…  BAD planning.  There are countries he just makes assumptions about, never really researching.  Seriously?

Then finally, he has a chance to travel for a week with a gorgeous woman from Australia, who is willing to shoot ahead, and spend the evening with him.  He says NO?  What red-blooded, single 20 something male would turn that down?  Half the fun of an adventure is enjoying yourself as well!  The guy struck me as a spoiled mama’s boy.

Some positives:  He treated every leg of the trip the same.  A lot of times, books like this skip over the United States, or just breeze through that point.  We get the details of home just like we do of India or Australia.  He also didn’t sugar coat the trip.  Saddle soars, muscle strain, bad drivers, cold, heat, he shared it all!

The book was good enough to finish, so I gave it 3 stars on good read.  I wish they had half stars, because its close to 2.5.  He has another book out about cycling from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, but I think I’ll pass.

This is one of those books in which I pushed hard at the end to finish, so I didn’t have to read it anymore….  I probably wouldn’t recommend spending time with this one folks.


One thought on “The Man Who Cycled the World: Hugh Beaumont

  1. Thanks for reviewing this. I actually loaned it from the library earlier this year and didn’t finish it in time. I returned it rather than renewed–it didn’t hold my interest. I feel justified in my decision!

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