Anyone can do it. This, World Cycling Stripped Bare, shows you how.
A naked woman getting 'a backy' from a beardy bloke on the cover of your book? Ho ho. Sean Conway -You old joker you! It isn't perhaps the best way to be taken seriously (especially by women) but as the author says 'There was talk for me to be naked – but no one wants to see that.' Quite. Moving on you then have to get over the BLOCK CAPITALS that are used to make POINTS and the usual excess of exclamation marks that litter the first few pages!!! Do bare, sorry, bear with it as Sean Conway does know how to cycle around the world and has some good advice to share.
Breaking it down into chapters on equipment, clothing, routes, nutrition etc Conway offers pretty sound advice on do and don'ts which only occasionally veer off into MBO (Master of the Bleeding Obvious) territory. He is rightly astounded to meet a Japanese cyclist riding the wrong way around Australia (clockwise it's a constant headwind so there you go - good to know..) pedalling 50km a day wearing crocs. But at the same time Conway's equally astounded to find that a bottle of water in the centre of Australia costs $6! What he thinks all those road trains passing him contain I'm not sure but perhaps economic logistics awareness is not always something you glean from pedalling around the world.
Regular readers of road.cc burble will be delighted however to see the way Conway deals so succinctly with the Great Helmet Debate 'You're an idiot if you don't wear one!' I think Brian Blessed shouting that as phone app might be a best seller. Conway also recommends smiling at drivers and looking 'a bit unsteady' to make drivers slow down. Again – good starting points for the road.cc debate there. As Conway was knocked unconscious by a pickup truck in the USA and saved by his helmet ('anecdotally saved' surely? Ed.) he does list the 'cons' of the US as 'can be expensive. Some states aren't cycle friendly.'
A lot of it may seem pretty obvious to anyone who's ever ridden a bike more than 50 miles in one go: travel light, getting low over the bars is good for head winds, eat plenty of food and drink stuff... but Conway is aiming at beginners. That said, even for seasoned Lejog types this is a useful book. There's even a guide to what to do when you get back and find yourself 'in a one bedroom flat, it's raining and the only dilemma is whether to have tea or coffee with breakfast.' Obviously with no friends and loved ones left prepared to sit down and listen to you drone on about finding those spare spd pedals in Phuket it's now time to write down your story for the grandkids (an optimistic idea unless you can stop talking about cycling the world... ) and even toddle off and bother a captive audience down the local school.
To be fair, aside from the obligatory shots of the bike taken at desert sunset and a group of poor Asian children without a television for entertainment having to watch another silly foreigner fiddling with his rear mech, Conway resists banging on too much about his own trip unless it's relevant to the often excellent advice.
So. If you're daft enough to want to cycle the globe, swallowing a lot of dust, experiencing slightly different cultures but still be able to buy a Starbucks, email your mates and constantly meet berks on bicycles annoyed to find you doing the exact same thing they're doing then this is the book for you.
Perfect if you want to cycle the globe, swallowing a lot of dust, experiencing slightly different cultures but still be able to buy a Starbucks.
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road.cc test report
Make and model: World Cycling Stripped Bare by Sean Conway, Mortimer Lion Publishing
Size tested: n/a
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
This book is aimed at the following:
People who want to cycle around the world but who haven't a clue where and how to start.
People with some idea who want reassurance that their plans are sound.
People that like their books to have a cover that features a slightly retro Felicity Kendall type naked woman on a bike cavorting with a beardy bloke.
If you're the latter then you don't get out much - so this is definitely the book for you.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
About the tester
Age: 47 Height: Weight:
I usually ride: Dolan Prefissio - winter bike My best bike is: Condor Moda Ti - summer bike
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding,