Scaling a new peak of rash overambition, Tim Moore tackles the 9,000 kilometer route of the old Iron Curtain on a tiny-wheeled, two-geared East German shopping bike.
Asking for trouble and getting it, he sets off from the northernmost Norwegian-Russian border at the Arctic winter's brutal height, bullying his plucky MIFA 900 through the endless and massively subzero desolation of snowbound Finland.
Sleeping in bank vaults, imperial palaces and unreconstructed Soviet youth hostels, battling vodka-breathed Russian hostility, Romanian landslides and a diet of dumplings, Moore and his 'so-small bicycle' are sustained by the kindness of reindeer farmers and Serbian rock gods, plus a shameful addiction to Magic Man energy drink.
Haunted throughout by the border detritus of watchtowers and rusted razor wire, Moore reflects on the curdling of the Communist dream and the memories of a Cold War generation reared on the fear of apocalypse - at a time of ratcheting East-West tension.
After three months, 20 countries and a 58 degree jaunt up the centigrade scale, man and bike finally wobble up to a Black Sea beach in Bulgaria, older and wiser, but mainly older.
Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?
A very funny, travel adventure. Reflections on the Soviet Union countries during the Cold War era and that world as it appears today. Worth reading to the very end.
What did you like best about this story?
it was a grand adventure, funny, relatable, educational, poignant and thought provoking.
Which character – as performed by Tim Moore – was your favorite?
It's autobiographical, there can only be The One.
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
That 19yr old East German kid who didn't make it past the border guards and that tree. You will know what I mean when you come to it.
Any additional comments?
Highly recommended. It's not how fast the journey is but what you experience along the way. Another cracker from Tim Moore.
My favourite parts were the authors impressions of the locals and people he met and his descriptions of particular situations he found himself in.
He lost me a little bit on the whole Cold war history lesson but i learned lots i didn't know about that time and how it affected and still shapes the countries he passes through.
Well worth a read and will be recommending to friends.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
This is the story of a man who deliberately does something he knows he will hate and really enjoys complaining about it. It’s impossible to have sympathy for him, even though it was clearly a harrowing experience. His unbridled cynicism is kind of funny to begin with but quickly becomes tiresome. It seems like a very honest account though, and the author narrating his own story makes it all very authentic. He relies heavily on what he saw on a previous holiday with his wife to beef up his story of what was otherwise a fairly boring and monotonous trip. The snippets of history are interesting enough, but the attempt to turn every sentence into a multi-phrased work of poetry makes it harder to listen to than it should be.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
took abit to get into it but listening to his stubborn nature not to quit was great
Why do authors wish to be the narrator of their own audiobooks when they clearly have not got the delivery timing, tone and ability to bring out the personality and emotion in the words through spoken word which they very clearly can do in writing.
Tried my best to engage in this book but after around an hour I gave up....
I already owned this book (and all of Tim's others) but jumped at the chance to hear it from his mouth and it didn't disappoint.
Tim had a bit of a conversion on the Camino and he isn't as bitingly critical but he is more loveable now compared to moustache or drifter.
I can safely say you won't read a better recount if a trans Europe shopping bike expedition this week.
I love this book and hope that Moore (!) will be available on audible. He is the travel voice of my generation. Read or listen to everything you can.
Really struggled with this. If your looking for a book about cycling adventures avoid this one. I couldn't finish it. It is so tedious. It's more like a guy travelling through countries telling a few stories adding in some forgettable facts and reading short extracts from the history books. He discusses politics more than cycling. Seriously. I found it extremely dull. There's no sense of cycling adventure at all and you won't even hear the word bike mentioned for hours. If you haven't read Sean Conways Cycling The Earth choose that instead it is by far a better book or read any of Mark Beaumonts works
Great story with the right mix between detail and pace. I appreciate some journeys had to be significantly fast-forwarded to avoid making a 30 hour book!
Not quite sure about the narrator. It's an easy listen, but occasionally I found my mind wandering, which doesn't generally happen much. A lot of the narrative is quite gloomy - this is a book about the iron curtain - but I think the narrator often crossed the line between morose wit and falling asleep.
Slightly disappointed that there was no matching PDF to check the photographs mentioned in the text.
I've been a fan of Tim Moore for a while now - please consider recording the other books.
Might be his good best book. Very funny, I enjoyed following him on the map