Book Review: Lanterne Rouge, The Last Man in the Tour de France

Looking back, it has been quite a while since I have done a book review on a cycling.  Part of it is because I have had other books (mostly Science Fiction) that have taken a chunk of my reading time.  Part is also I have subscribed to Scientific America and there is only so much reading time available in a day, plus reading while pedaling is NOT recommended.

This one also took a while to get through…. Continue reading “Book Review: Lanterne Rouge, The Last Man in the Tour de France”

Book Review: Cycling Home From Siberia, Rob Lilwall

Last month, Michelle and I hit the used book sale at Third Place Books, our local independent book store.  Michelle was looking for books for the little free library, while I was browsing looking for a book to download to the Kindle app.

Editors note: I know, I know this is ‘wrong’ but I just don’t read real books anymore, if it isn’t on the Kindle, it gathers dust.

Michelle pointed me to the bike books, and I found Cycling Home From Siberia, by Rob Lilwall.  I downloaded it (even I won’t use a book stores wifi for that) as soon as I got home.  I was excited to get started on it Continue reading “Book Review: Cycling Home From Siberia, Rob Lilwall”

Book Review: The Wheels of Chance: A Bicycle Idyll

I read an article my friend (as well as a fellow cyclist and blogger) Sarah posted, about the history of cycling.  It discussed that time after chain driven cycles were invented, but before automobiles were invented.  These were the first glory days of cyclists, when people of all social standings would use the freedom of two wheels to travel much farther than they ever could before. ( I consider now the beginning of the second glory days)

One such person was H G Wells, famous for books such as: Time Machine, War of the Worlds and The Invisible Man.  All classic science fiction.  (I’ve read all of these and more).  Little did I know though, he was so enamored with the feelings of joy and freedom from a bike that he wrote a novel that took place entirely on bikes! Continue reading “Book Review: The Wheels of Chance: A Bicycle Idyll”

Book Review: The Carry Home by Gary Ferguson

Early on I let y’all know I was going to stretch my literary choices this year.  Though I am still treating myself to the History of Westeros (Game of Thrones) and its dragons, knights and assorted kings, I have been keeping to my plan.  The Carry Home, though a book about the outdoors (of which I have many) is not one I would normally have read.

However when buddy the author (Joe Kurmaskie) recommends a book, you at least gotta give it chance.  Damn I am glad I did! Continue reading “Book Review: The Carry Home by Gary Ferguson”

Book Review: Triking Down the Pacific Coast by Terry Davis

Last week, while on the coast, I decided I really wanted to read something about Oregon, specifically the coast, while I was there.  I guess I figured I was embracing the vacation completely, and wanted it to be in all aspects, even my reading.

I stumbled on this on Amazon, and it was perfect!  It’s a travel journal for his trip from Portland to San Francisco, on a recombinant trike.  I have cycled the Oregon Coast, and I want to do the CA coast to San Francisco.  This book seemed like a winner to help me relive one trip and prep for the next!

Yeah not so much… Continue reading “Book Review: Triking Down the Pacific Coast by Terry Davis”

“So This is Christmas” and “Ruby Grace” Excellent gift ideas!

I’ve mentioned in the past that I am an avid reader.  I’ve been reading damn near every day since at least the 4th grade, and maybe even before.  Getting a book for my birthday or Christmas was the perfect gift.  What else could you get, for the price of a movie, that gives you many many hours of fun.

Nowadays, I carry my iPad or my Kindle everywhere I go, and I read whenever I get the chance.  I usually have 2 or 3 books going at anyone time.

When asked for gift ideas for people, one of the first things I think of is a book!  Those who can write and get a book published are to be admired.  Which is why I am excited to do this post.  Two of my friends, Jim Devitt, and Renee Hazen, have each just published a book that would be perfect for the holidays!

I am lucky enough to have read them both and I can share them with you! Continue reading ““So This is Christmas” and “Ruby Grace” Excellent gift ideas!”

Book Review: Living Life, Cheating Death, Linda’s Story by Ralph Turner

Folks, pure and simple and straight up front with y’all this is NOT my normal kind book!  There’s no Sci Fi, Zombies, Bikes, Mountains or someone like Dirk Pitt saving the day.  However, My kid sis asked me to read this as it was written by a friend of her’s.  I like to help new authors as two good friends of mine have written books.  So I agreed.

I almost changed my mind though when she warned me it was heavy on the power of the bible and how it can change your life.  I am as far from a religious cowboy as you can get, but I figured “Hey, knowing this, if it could keep my interest till the end, it must be a good book. Continue reading “Book Review: Living Life, Cheating Death, Linda’s Story by Ralph Turner”

Book Review: Wild, by Cheryl Strayed

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Sometimes readers, you should count yourselves lucky that you are not friends of mine on Facebook.  As I read this book, they were stuck listening to my almost daily griping about it.  I know it was a best seller, I know it was an Oprah booklist book (that shoulda warned me), but I am telling you, I should NOT have wasted my money on it!  At least I did an e-book, so I didn’t kill trees… Continue reading “Book Review: Wild, by Cheryl Strayed”

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. Continue reading “The Man Who Cycled the World: Hugh Beaumont”

Changing Gears: A Family Odyssey to the End of the World by Nancy Sathre-Vogel

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Ever hear about something, of even read a book, and learned that you could have followed along during the actual adventure by simply following the blog?  Well this is one of those times!  I was introduced to their Family on Bikes Blog at the end of 2012 and I have been following it ever since.  I was even able to help vote for the final cover! (This is the one I voted for!)  I recommend the blog, and the people behind it!  If I ever make it to Boise, I am going to have to say hi!  Sadly, though, I never sound this while the ride was happening.

Enough of that lets talk about the book!  I liked it a lot!  Basic premise, a family (mom, dad and twin 10-year-old boys) decide to ride bikes from as far north as you can get in Alaska (well above the Arctic Circle) and pedal as far south as you can get in South America….  I had trouble getting my kid ride 25 miles with me just once!

What I liked about the book is the cadence.  Nancy gave details, about each country they rode through, how the bikes and bodies held up, the weather, bugs, dust hills and wind.  Which, as any cyclist will tell you, can make or break any long ride.

What she didn’t do, though, is mire down the story with the details,  She kept it moving.  As you went through each country, you had a great feel about the people, culture, and terrain, but she didn’t let you get bored before getting to the next country.  She did an excellent job telling the story!

I also liked how much we learned about the boys.  There were times I would just start thinking these were 16 or 17 year olds, then i’d read they played with action figures or hot wheels cars.  She kept the human aspect with her and the boys near the front, for us all to see, but it also didn’t take over.  It was part of the story as opposed to taking away from it.

This does take me to one of the negative pieces of the review.  I feel I got to know Nancy and both boys very well.  But I just didn’t get much about Dad.  He was the muscle, the mechanic and supportive, but he just didn’t get fleshed out as much as the other three.  (Being a Dad, I wanted to know more about him.)

I liked the way she also gave details about the off times.  You can’t ride this non-stop.  Being a Monday morning quarterback, its easy for me to say that they may have taken too much time off here and there, making it harder to get back into road shape.  However, it wasn’t my butt in the saddle, or my legs moving the pedals.  Letting us know the family did have downtime kept the travels real.  Many times, books about long trips just gloss over the down times.

She was also very open about how she was almost ready to throw in the towel, give up and go home, a very natural feeling.  Again, though, this is where I would’ve liked to know if Dad felt the same way?

The one last negative I may get guff for, but here we go.   You can tell Nancy dearly loves her boys, and is (rightly so) very proud of them for doing so well, and rarely complaining.   However, after the 7th or 8th time reading about it, I wanted to say “Ok, we got it, you are  proud, move on!”

These minor little things did NOT keep me from thoroughly enjoying this book, and out of 5 I give it 4 stars. Its fun, entertaining, fast paced and it fulfills the ultimate rule I have for cycling books.  It made me WANT to get on my bike and take a long ride!  I wish I could have tagged along for part of this ride.

Get Changing Gears: A Family Odyssey to the End of the World   I am very happy to add it to my adventure library, and i hope you will think so too!

PS, I think what happened with the boys and the Guinness Book of World Records.  You’ll have to read it to see what that was!