Thirteen book reviews, that’s more than one a month and I’m catching up on the books that I’ve read. Two more books to review here and they are both long distance cycling ones.
First up is I’ll be Home by Christmas, by Matthew Blake. As the title suggests, Matthew was indeed home for Christmas, although it was four years after he set off. It’s been over a month since I finished this book, and I’ll be honest I’m struggling to remember anything about it, which is awful. Was the book just not very memorable. Is this the book where the writer was arrested crossing South Sudan? Is this the guy who set off overweight and could hardly ride a bike? I should probably write my book reviews a bit sooner after finishing them. What I will say is that I’ve never read a long distance cycling book that I’ve not enjoyed in some way. Maybe someone out there could read it and tell me a few of the highlights to nudge my memory.
The Hungry Cyclist by Tom Kevill-Davies on the other hand I do remember. Tom likes to eat and to ride a bike, so he combined the two. He began his journey cycling from New York to Seattle, before heading down the west coast and into Mexico, crossing South America and finishing in Rio.
He meets loads of interesting people, as you generally do when riding a bike. He also adds many of the recipes he tries at the end of each chapter, including beaver tail soup! Probably one that I won’t be trying at home, although the rice dish he shared with Puerto Rican construction workers in New York did sound good. In Mexico he falls in love with seafood tacos as he cycles down the Baja Peninsula.
Obviously he couldn’t cross the Darian Gap, but he does cycle through Columbia. He then heads inland, trying guinea pig in Ecudor, before taking a boat down the Amazon, stopping in Manaus. A friend that I did my PhD with had a stop over there and dexcribed it as an absolute hole. Tom eats street food outside a brothel in the depths of the dodgiest areas of the city.
I really enjoyed this book, and as you can tell it was memorable. Tom’s route is also something that I would like to try, although without the Amazon boat section.