3.5 out of 5 stars

A journey begins with an idea, for the late Dervla Murphy it was getting a bicycle and an atlas and conjuring the idea in her head to cycle to India. McDonald wants to undertake a similar journey with his partner, but rather than doing just because he can, he is wanting to use the journey to explore the realms of philosophy and each component of the bike as well as the epic ride.

Whilst the trip is the important part of the trip, we read about the usual things that trouble a touring cyclist, the main focus of the book is the consideration of the philosophical idea that we use to determine who we are. Each chapter consists of the three themes of the book, intellectual exploration, his actual travels and the contemplation of the numerous components that go to make up a regular bicycle.

It is certainly one of the most unusual travel books that I have read. I liked certain past of this, but I didn’t get along with all of it. I liked the way that the bike was built chapter by chapter taking each significant component, even down to the individual tubes of the frame and assembling the bike as he cycled to India. I liked the travel elements too, and whilst I realise that this was not the entire reason behind the book, I would have liked more of it. For me, there was a slightly too much emphasis on the philosophy and I kind of wish that there was more of the travel writing in it. McDonald makes the subject interesting to read and I much preferred this to Zen and the Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance.

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