62 Books About Bicycle Touring

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Looking for some motivation before taking off on your next bicycle expedition? Check out the following is a list of bicycle touring books. These are books that have been written by people who went on a bike tour, returned home, and then wrote a book about the adventures they had while out on the road.

You can get more information about each of these books by clicking on the corresponding “Buy It Now” links. The books below have been listed in alphabetical order. If you know a book that should be added to this list, please leave a comment at the bottom of this page.

A Bicycle Journey to the Bottom of the Americas: Being a True Account of a Bike Adventure from Alaska

Remember when you were a kid and you got your first bicycle? After a few weeks of mastering the dynamics of balancing, steering, and pedaling, all at the same time hopefully, your father released his protective, steadying grip on the seat and you went wobbling off on your own. It was probably your very first taste of independence and freedom and you knew you liked that feeling very much. Few things in life have ever compared to that first solo ride. Almost 40 years after my first solo bike ride, I was able to recapture the excitement and passion of that momentous occasion when I pedaled out of Anchorage, Alaska bound for Tierra del Fuego—the very tip of South America. No matter that it was 17,500 miles distant and would take 3 years to get there; I vowed I would achieve that goal if it took the rest of my life.

Written by George J. Hawkins

A Bike Ride: 12,000 Miles Around The World

When ex-headmistress Anne Mustoe gave up her job, bought a bike and took to the road, she couldn’t even mend a puncture. 12,000 miles and 15 months later, she was home. Her epic solo journey took her around the world, through Europe, India, the Far East and the United States. From Thessaloniki to Uttar Pradesh, from Chumphon to Singapore, she faced downpours, blizzards and blistering deserts, political turmoil and amorous waiters – alternated with great kindness from strangers along the way. “A Bike Ride” is the first in the series of Anne Mustoe’s successful and inspiring travelogues.

Written by Anne Mustoe

A Crossing: A Cyclist’s Journey Home

A travelogue in the tradition of “Blue Highways” and “On the Road”, this book tells the extraordinary story of one man’s solo bicycle adventure across America–and the spiritual and personal awakening he experienced on his journey.

Written by Brian Newhouse

A Ride In The Neon Sun

It’s not easy landing unprepared in a country like Japan. The eccentricities of the calendar, the indecipherable postal system, not to mention the alien alphabet, language and culture, have all to be confronted before the disorientated traveller can feel at ease. Trying to ride a bicycle through the streets of one of the most congested cities in the world would seem to compound your problems. For Josie Dew, however, with over 200,000 miles already clocked up in the saddle few things could be more challenging – or for the reader of A RIDE IN THE NEON SUN, more wonderfully entertaining.

Written by Josie Dew

Around the World on a Bicycle

In 1884, Thomas Stevens left San Francisco on a Columbia high-wheeler with the outrageous goal of becoming the first man to ride a bicycle across the United States. When he reached Boston, he decided to continue around the world, and soon sailed to London for the ride across Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. The high-wheeler was heavy and cumbersome, his supplies were limited to socks, a spare shirt, and a slicker that doubled as tent and bedroll, and much of the country he traversed was wild. Yet he persevered, recording his colorful and often harrowing adventures during the three-year odyssey in a classic of 19th century adventure and travel writing.

Written by Thomas Stevens

Bicycle Diaries

Byrne is fascinated by cities, especially as visited on a trusty fold-up bicycle, and in these random musings over many years while cycling through such places as Sydney, Australia; Manila, Philippines; San Francisco; or his home of New York, the former Talking Head, artist and author (True Stories) offers his frank views on urban planning, art and postmodern civilization in general. For each city, he focuses on its germane issues, such as the still troublingly clear-cut class system in London, notions of justice and human migration that spring to mind while visiting the Stasi Museum in Berlin, religious iconography in Istanbul, gentrification in Buenos Aires and Imelda Marcos’s legacy in Manila. In low-key prose, he describes his meetings with other artists and musicians where he played and set up installations, such as an ironic PowerPoint presentation to an IT audience in Berkeley, Calif. He notes that the condition of the roads reveals much about a city, like the impossibly civilized, pleasant pathways designed just for bikes in Berlin versus the fractured car-mad system of highways in some American cities, giving way to an eerie post apocalyptic landscape (e.g., Detroit). While stupid planning decisions have destroyed much that is good about cities, he is confident there is hope, in terms of mixed-use, diverse neighborhoods; riding a bike can aid in the survival of cities by easing congestion. Candid and self-deprecating, Byrne offers a work that is as engaging as it is cerebral and informative.

Written by David Byrne

Bicycling Around The World: Tire Tracks For Your Imagination

Nowhere in the world can you bear rested for having too much fun while riding a bicycle! Unless, of course, you read ‘BICYCLING AROUND THE WORLD’! Whether you’re ‘flying’ over 15,000 foot passes with two condors in the Andes, riding with an emu in the Australian Outback, facing a king cobra in Nepal or meeting a man walking across America on his hands, Wooldridge carries readers into the astounding world of long distance bicycle touring. From the first chapter to the last, you’re riding on the edge of your seat with laughter and wonder. This is the best of 26 years in the saddle. If you’ve never smelled the breath of a grizzly bear in camp, you will. You’ll find out how he discovered the ‘Voluptuousness of Living’. Wooldridge meets fascinating men and women from around the globe that will astound and inspire you. This book mesmerizes readers with animal stories that bring a smile to your face. It will pain your mind and heart seeing the Third World. It chills you with a once-in-a-lifetime ride in Antarctica where you’ll meet a family of Emperor penguins. Along the way, you’ll find out that you have to go without a mirror, sometimes, in order to see yourself. The greatest aspect of this book comes from–expectation! Not since ‘Miles From Nowhere’ has a writer captured the Zen and Art of Bicycle Adventure as well as Wooldridge. Not only that, you enjoy a final section–‘EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT LONG DISTANCE TOURING’. He shows you ‘HOW TO LIVE THE DREAM’. You’ll have the right bike, equipment, money and tools to ride into your own long distance touring adventures. If you like bicycling, you’ll go wild reading this book. If you don’t like bicycling,you’ll still go wild reading this book.

Written by Frosty Woolridge

Cold Beer and Crocodiles: A Bicycle Journey into Australia

Smith relates the story of his bicycle trek through Australia in this amazing travel account. The New Englander, who has lived in Australia for the past 15 years, had never taken the time to see the country and realized he had no feel for the nature and character of Australia. Restless, he impulsively quit his prestigious job to embark on this journey. His adventure takes him through cities, mountains, deserts, and incredibly remote outback villages. Pitting himself against nature’s harshest elements, Smith battles steep hills, headwinds, 140-degree heat, tropical storms, and xenophobia with a strength of purpose that rarely falters. Along the way, he crosses paths with a number of hostile and unsavory characters, but it is the surprising kindness and generosity of most of the people that touch him the most and teach him what it means to be “Australian.” Smith set out as a foreigner, but he returned with a new and profound understanding and appreciation of that beautiful country and its people. The story of Smith’s initiation into his adopted culture proves to be an engaging read.

Written by Roff Smith

Conquering The Borderlands: A Southern Tier Journal: San Diego to St. Augustine by Bicycle

In terms of United States history, the Borderlands are the territories, from “Alta California” to “La Florida,” that formed the northern frontier of Spain’s New World empire. Conquering the Borderlands relates their histories, landscapes, and cultures as they unfolded during the author’s Southern Tier bicycle journey from San Diego to St. Augustine.The Southern Tier route intersects the paths of Spanish conquistadors, stagecoach routes, and cattle drives, all of which come alive in the pages of this book. A ferry across the Mississippi evokes Mark Twain’s account of life on the river; Louisiana’s bayous recall Evangeline, Longfellow’s poem about the Acadian exile from Canada. Curious javelinas emerge on West Texas roads, carnivorous plants alongside Deep South highways.On a personal level, the author describes the rigors of the trip and the anxieties that spring from attempting a cross-country ride nearly forty years after the goal first captured her imagination. The author coined the term “chronological borderlands” for that stage in life when professional and family responsibilities have been met, and deferred dreams spring to life with a renewed sense of possibility, coupled with apprehension that physical limits may be closing the door. The books is not intended to replace travel guides and maps, but to serve as a valuable companion piece that can further enrich the experience of Southern Tier travel – by bicycle, car or armchair.

Written by Lorraine Veisz

Down the Road in South America: A Bicycle Tour through Poverty, Paradise, and the Places in Between

Tim and Cindie’s around the world bicycle touring adventures continues in this second book about exploring South America. This part of the journey was even more challenging with the highest mountains, coldest nights, and the most dangerous situations yet.

Written by Tim Travis

Falling Uphill

In one week, Scott Stoll lost his job, his best friend, his girlfriend and his confidence. Disillusioned with society, full of angst, a lost and wandering soul with nothing left to lose, Stoll asked himself a question: “If I only have one life, one chance, if I could do anything, what would I do?” His answer resulted in a 4 year and 25,742 mile odyssey around the world by bicycle, seeking answers to the great mysteries of life, vowing to find happiness or die trying. The quest wasn’t easy. He was imprisoned, held hostage, mugged, run over, suspected of terrorism, accused of espionage, trampled, diseased, heartbroken–he nearly died a dozen times. But more importantly, he also discovered the wonders of the world, kindness among strangers, the meaning of life, peace, love and–Yes!–happiness, in the most unlikely places. Re-live and re-imagine a journey around the world on a bicycle as a man stumbles through moments of pure survival and moments of pure enlightenment.

Written by Scott Stoll

Falling Uphill: Dreams For The Young Adventurer And The Young At Heart

The true story of one man’s quest around the world on a bicycle seeking the meaning of life. After critical acclaim and much anticipation, Falling Uphill for young adventurers has arrived. This easy-to-read edition features 236 photos and illustrations, answers to over 225 frequently asked questions, and new humorous short stories so that you can re-imagine Scott’s quest. In fact, the whole book is a new perspective on the highlights and low-lights of the adventure—from dying of dehydration to being imprisoned in Zimbabwe to climbing Mt. Everest—and a whole philosophy of life. One of the mysteries Scott discovered was that everyone everywhere, regardless of age, race, gender or culture, asked the same questions in a similar order, proving we all share the same fears and joys and doubts and hopes. Falling Uphill flows in a similar order, and serves as a metaphor for your own journey through life, whether that be an adventurer, artist, scientist or whatever you dream to be. This special edition features an ancient magical secret to making your dream a reality, and several exercises (and additional surprises online) to help guide you through the creative process—by the time you’ve finished this book, not only will you have dreamed impossible dreams, but you’ll have taken the first step on your new adventure.

Written by Scott Stoll

Following the Sun: A Bicycle Pilgrimage From Andalusia to the Hebrides

An entrancing, sun-drenched bicycle journey, from the beaches of southern Spain to solar temples in the Outer Hebrides. In this great feast of armchair travel, John Hanson Mitchell tells of his fifteen-hundred-mile ride on a trusty old Peugeot bicycle from the port of Cadiz to just below the Arctic Circle. He follows the European spring up through southern Spain, the wine and oyster country near Bordeaux, to Versailles (the palace of the “Sun King”), Wordsworth’s Lake District, precipitous Scottish highlands, and finally to a Druid temple on the island of Lewis in the Hebrides, a place where Midsummer is celebrated in pagan majesty as the near-midnight sun dips and then quickly rises over the horizon. In true John Mitchell fashion this journey is interspersed with myth, natural history, and ritual, all revolving around the lure and lore of the sun, culturally and historically. The journey is as delicious as it is fascinating, with an appeal for all those who look south in February and are drawn to dunes, picnics under castle walls, spring flowers, terraced vineyards, Moorish outposts, magic and celebrations. In short, to everything under the sun.

Written by John Hanson Mitchell

Free-Wheelin’: A Solo Journey Across America

Freewheelin’ is the story of Lovett’s solo transcontinental bicycle tour in the summer of 1986. His narrative combines descriptions of beautiful scenery and small – town America, with technical consider actions such as road conditions and elevations that are important to bikers. He also recounts meetings with fellow bikers, campers, and those hurrying along to various destinations. His description of local people, mostly friendly but sometimes hostile, does much to give a feeling of America today. Throughout, the author reflects on what he is trying to accomplish and how the trip is affecting his life. This book will be of special interest to bike lovers, but armchair travelers will also enjoy.

Written by Richard A. Lovett


Full Tilt: Ireland to India with a Bicycle

Here is the first American appearance of a book by Irish travel writer Murphy. Originally published in 1965, it is the diary of her bicycle trek from Dunkirk, across Europe, through Iran and Afghanistan, over the Himalayas to Pakistan and India. Murphy’s immediate rapport with the people she alights among is vibrant and appealing and makes her travelogue unique. Venturing alone accompanied only by her bicycle, which she dubs Rozthe indomitable Murphy not only survives daunting physical rigors but gleans considerable enjoyment in getting to know peoples who were then even more remote than they are now. Overlook will also soon publish in uniform editions Murphy’s Eight Feet in the Andes, The Waiting Land and On a Shoestring to Coorg.

Written by Dervla Murphy

Hey Mom, Can I Ride My Bike Across America?: Five Kids Meet Their Country

Dead Poets Society meets Stand By Me as 5 real 12- and 13-yr.-olds ride their bicycles 5,000 miles across America. They want to see if their country is as wonderful as their teacher says it is.

Written by John Seigel Boettner


How Big Are The Pancakes: Three Biker Chicks Cycle Across America!

Accompany three forty-something biker chicks as they cycle across America. For fifty-nine days, Kathy, Cindy and Mary Anne pedal 3,150 miles through ten states, from California to Virginia. Their journey takes them through lush green valleys, up steep mountains, by farms, and past desolate rangeland. On the road they battle inclement weather, intense heat, fierce headwinds, nasty dogs, aching bodies, and flat tires. Their inner strength, their determination, and the kindness of strangers sustains them along the way. They discover small town America, a diverse, beautiful country, and themselves. This book will inform, entertain, and inspire you to take to the highway and discover America.

Written by Kathryn Krull

Into Thick Air: Biking to the Bellybutton of Six Continents

With plenty of sunscreen and a cold beer swaddled in his sleeping bag, writer and botanist Jim Malusa bicycled alone to the lowest point on each of six continents, a six-year series of “anti-expeditions” to the “anti-summits.” His journeys took him to Lake Eyre in the arid heart of Australia, along Moses’ route to the Dead Sea, and from Moscow to the Caspian Sea. He pedaled across the Andes to Patagonia, around tiny Djibouti in the Horn of Africa, and from Tucson to Death Valley. With a scientist’s eye, he vividly observes local landscapes and creatures. As a lone man, he is overfed by grandmothers, courted by ladies of the night in Volgograd, invited into a mosque by Africa’s most feared tribe, chased by sandstorms and hurricanes — yet Malusa keeps riding. His reward: the deep silence of the world’s great depressions. A large-hearted narrative of what happens when a friendly, perceptive American puts himself at the mercy of strange landscapes and their denizens, Into Thick Air presents one of the most talented new voices in contemporary travel writing.

Written by Jim Malusa

It’s Not About the Tapas: A Spanish Adventure on Two Wheels

This story of a frustrated young editor who jumps ship from her deadline-laden job in Hong Kong and escapes to a biking adventure in Spain is spiked with moments of hilarity and broad humor. “I set myself the target of a thousand miles and six weeks in which to cover them,” she writes. “If my tour took a few ups and downs, if I felt the need to let out the occasional primal scream, well, in Spain nobody would notice. They’re used to craziness in Spain. In fact, they positively celebrate it.” Evans arranges her route through towns large and small (San Sebastian, Barcelona, Ronda, Oropesa, etc.). Her odyssey of pedaling, chowing and searching for quaint local color often reads like a picaresque, and her book has the same penchant for sharp caricature. Writing of a small town, she observes: “A group of old men stood around the bar, their heads in a cloud of smoke, a carpet of cigarette butts at their feet, and discussed the issues of the day… ‘So, we’ll see you at the park bench for the three p.m. sit-and stare session?’” Elsewhere, she describes a rural woman carrying a sack of logs: “I had the strong impression she had chopped them herself, quite possible with a mighty slice of her hard, bare hand.” Readers who enjoy this vein of humor will delight in her book, and to her credit Evans often turns her wit upon herself. At one point she notes that her trip has made her look like a “toasted whippet, something to do with being both gruesomely gaunt and burnt to a crisp.”

Written by Polly Evans

Just Keep Pedaling: A Corner-to-Corner Bike Ride Across America

What started out as one person’s bike ride to lose some weight became the story of a slice of America from the Pacific Northwest to the Florida Keys. There were big cities, rural towns and great stretches of open land. Heroes and villains are out there too, but mostly it’s fine people living day-to-day and unknowingly impressing strangers. The weather wasn’t left out either. From the first winter storm in the mountains of Washington through the tailwinds in Idaho to the heat and storms of the South, weather kept things from getting boring. Seeing America at ten miles an hour without the protective shell of a car allows all of the senses to get to know the country. It was an interesting ride with insights into culture and sore muscles. And then there was the awesome chocolate sundae in a ranch town in Utah. You don’t know what you’ll find out there on the road until you get there.

Written by T.E. Trimbath


Just The Two Of Us: A Cycling Journey Across America

Riding a bicycle 4,622 miles across the United States in 63 days is not that unusual, and it has been written about in such books as Stan Purdum’s Roll Around Heaven All Day and Barbara Siegert’s Bicycle Across America. What is unique about this trip is that it was accomplished by a wife and husband in their fifties. Using a journal format, Norton writes about the couple’s trip from Astoria, OR, to Bar Harbor, ME, covering the grueling mountain climbs, whom they encountered, what they saw, where they stayed and what they ate (primarily at upscale inns and restaurants), the personal relations between husband and wife, and some useful tips on bicycle touring. Each chapter covers one leg of the journey and begins with a small map and itinerary. The black-and-white photographs are too small to be of any value, and the author is not a writer by trade (she is instead a retired math and computer science teacher), which, unfortunately, is evident. Still, Norton does keep the reader’s interest, and the book has the potential to appeal to both the bicyclist and the armchair traveler.

Written by Melissa Norton


Leaving Luna: Two Women, Two Bikes, Europe In A Year

Leaving Luna is the story of two women in their mid-forties who were at the height of their careers as high school principals in a state prison system. Although working behind bars with inmate students was rewarding, the extreme danger and department bureaucracy drove them to re-evaluate their lives. They quit their jobs to bicycle a full year throughout Western Europe. They spoke no foreign languages, were not endurance athletes, and had never done any bicycle touring. They sold their homes, gave away nearly everything they owned, and struck off with two bikes, a tent, a few essentials, and a single map. They were determined to find something beyond the routine. They traveled on $27 a day. This story tells of the experiences and insights of Cindy Borden and Penny Richardson from being held hostage in prison to overcoming emotional breakdowns when their physical strength was gone. Inspired by the grandeur and cultures of Europe, Cindy captured her impressions in watercolor as they traveled. The book features 37 of these images. For ordinary people who long to pursue their dreams but lack the know-how or confidence to do so, Leaving Luna will inspire you to leave the monotony behind and pursue the extraordinary.

Written by Cindy Borden & Penny Richardson

Llamas & Empanadas: 5000 Kilometers By Bicycle Through South America

A good read about a female solo biker traveling through South America.

Written by Eleanor Meecham

Lone Traveller: One Woman, Two Wheels and the World

A fascinating account of a British woman’s epic journey, cycling round the globe fron East to West. Using historical routes as her inspiration, Anne Mustoe followed the ancient Roman roads to Lisbon, travelled with the Conquistadors across South America, pursued Captain Cook over the Pacific to Australia and Indonesia and followed the caravans along the fabled Silk Road from Xi’an back to Rome. Full of exciting stories of police arrest, the threat of guerillas and attacks by wild dogs, Lone Traveller is an engrossing tale one woman’s experiences on a remarkable journey.

Written by Anne Mustoe

Long Cloud Ride: A Cycling Adventure Across New Zealand

After two months on board a Russian container ship sailing 15,000 miles across the world, Josie finally arrives in New Zealand with her bike. Over the next nine months she cycles 10,000 kilometers all over North and South Islands while experiencing the wettest, windiest, and stormiest year on record. During this time Josie was spat at, shouted at, honked at, and both run off and blown off the road. She got soaked, sunburned, hailed on, and snowed on; and was alternately starved and overfed, overcharged and under-charged. Then there was the wildlife—the possums (both dead and alive); exotic birds such as moreporks (with their eerie call) and fantails (who decided to follow); the ostriches, who liked to chase English cyclists and the harriers, who liked to dive bomb them; and the more familiar but no less frustrating farm animals, who provided sheep-jams and cow-blocks to slow Josie down. Josie brings New Zealand brilliantly to life. Warm, witty, and acutely observed as ever, her latest adventure is sure to delight old and new fans alike.

Written by Josie Dew

Metal Cowboy: Tales from the Road Less Pedaled

While cycling through Idaho, Kurmaskie met up with a blind man who, after tapping his cane over Joe and his bike, dubbed him a “metal cowboy.” If these 40 essays are any indication, that’s a perfect description. Like the cowboys of Old West legend, Kurmaskie drifted around the country (and the world), meeting up with interesting and eccentric people, bunking wherever he found a dry patch of ground, eating whatever he could carry or scrounge. Like the travel books of Bill Bryson, Kurmaskie’s collection of essays focuses on the unexpected and the little known. Travelogues are a dime a dozen, but the ones that find something fresh and unusual to talk about are fairly rare. Here readers will meet Elvis impersonators and other eccentrics; live through a goose attack mounted with military precision; and see the countryside the way they’ve never imagined it. A thoroughly delightful excursion.

Written by Joe Kurmaskie

Miles from Nowhere: A Round the World Bicycle Adventure

This is the delightful and often humorous story of an around-the-world bicycle trip taken by two young people, Barbara and Larry Savage. It took them two years and 25 countries. Along the way, these neophyte cyclists encountered warm-hearted strangers, bicycle-hating drivers, rock-throwing Egyptians, over-protective Thai policemen, and great personal joys. They returned to a new life in Santa Barbara, one Barbara never lived to savor. She was killed in a street accident, Barbara and her bicycle vs. a truck. We are lucky to have this memoir, throughout which her vitality, warmth and compassion glow.

Written by Barbara Savage

Momentum Is Your Friend: The Metal Cowboy and His Pint-Sized Posse Take on America

Most people bring their inner child on an epic adventure. Joe “Metal Cowboy” Kurmaskie actually took his two kids along. For a 4,000-mile bicycle ride across America, Joe’s seven-year-old son, Quinn, rides a tagalong bike attached to his dad’s; and behind that is five-year-old Enzo in a bike trailer.

Our hero the Metal Cowboy answers the question “What are you, crazy?” with a resounding and cheerful “Yes.” Unassisted—with no support crew except his boys’ comic relief and the periodic kindness of strangers—he pedals hundreds of pounds of gear and offspring over mountain passes, across the wide plains, through thunderstorms, and into the heart of what it means to be a dad.

Along the way they encounter everything that makes up America—small-town kindness and inner-city heart, wild horses and highway roadkill, a bitter Vietnam vet and a hopeful young inventor, grizzly bears and bison roaming free, cyclists and monstrous RVs, a very peppy cheerleader and a visitation from the ghost of the author’s father, horrible traffic and serene dirt roads, a monastery and a distillery, baseball, and yes, lots of pie.

By the time they reach Washington, DC, two months after leaving Portland, Oregon, they’ve bonded in a rare way. Kurmaskie writes, “We share a secret, the three of us; one permanent summer in our hearts now, where we’re never apart.”

Written by Joe Kurmaskie

Moods of Future Joys

This enthralling account details Alastair Humphrey’s epic journey across Africa, through Sudan, Ethiopia, and Kenya. His experience is at times brutal, and though he faces loneliness, despair, and harsh conditions, he also survives through trust in the kindness of strangers.

Written by Alastair Humphreys

Mud, Sweat, and Gears: A Rowdy Family Bike Adventure Across Canada on Seven Wheels

After seventeen years, who would road test a perfectly good marriage by putting it on a summer-long, self-contained bicycle adventure across Canada? Only the Metal Cowboy, of course. Beth Biagini Kurmaskie, the woman behind the manchild, has finally saddled up on her own volition, if only to bring a bit of parental supervision to the mix. She struggles a bit at first, while celebrating summer, speed, the simple pleasures of a road trip powered by one’s own muscles, and family–what it means to be part of one stripped of the “comforts and noise” of the modern world, riding sixteen feet of bicyle train. With three sons aboard, one celebrating his first birthday, a nursing mother finds her inner Xena Warrior Cyclist and all the reasons why she’s stayed married to a whirling dervish of a husband. And Beth’s progression from newbie cyclist to totally ripped veteran will be an inspiration to anyone considering taking to the road on a bike.

Written by Joe Kurmaskie

Odysseus’ Last Stand: The Chronicles of a Bicycle Nomad

Comprised largely of the detailed journals kept throughout his travels, this narrative of a bicyclist’s seven-year, 40,000 kilometer odyssey around the world documents the richness of the planet’s sights, sounds, and teeming life as experienced from the saddle of a bicycle. During his journey, the author experiences firsthand the effect of international politics on media-invisible cultures while mingling with an endless array of unusual and wonderful characters. As he immerses himself in the culture of every country he visits, learning the languages and customs as he travels, he witnesses the clash of values between developed and developing worlds and the inherent tensions between tradition and progress. Throughout, he comes to a deep understanding of the role that the bicycle plays not only in his life but also in the lives of the world’s citizens.

Written by Dave Stamboulis

Off the Map: Bicycling Across Siberia

What’s it like bicycling in a police state? In 1989, Jenkins found out by joining a team of three Americans and four Russians in the first expedition to cross Siberia by bicycle, via Vladivostok to Leningrad. Jenkins, the Rocky Mountain editor for Backpacker magazine and the field editor for Summit magazine, re-creates his excitement and trepidation over the sheer vastness of the task. The team slogs through an 800-mile swamp and climbs passes over the Ural mountains, enduring dirt roads, mud, and icy rain. While the Siberian journey is adventure reading par excellence, flashbacks celebrating the autonomy afforded kids on bikes are powerful stuff.

Written by Mark Jenkins

Once Upon A Chariot

A highly respected journalist and self-confirmed middle-ager, Lamb decides to set off one day on a cross-country journey from Washington, D.C., to Santa Monica, California. In a reportorial style, he gathers facts about bicycling from friends and magazines, piecing together what he thinks is the sufficient equipment and information to make his trip easier. But Lamb doesn’t map out a real plan, research his route or terrain, or prepare physically for what becomes a major, life-altering trek. The difficulties he meets in weather, accommodations, and road conditions seem insignificant in comparison to his interior journey, brought about by encounters with history, people, and places. Clearly a man with a strong will, Lamb defies the odds and reaffirms his life and youth. Like one 3,145-mile meditation, Over the Hills certainly bears resemblance to Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and will appeal to many readers, even those for whom a solitary cross-country trip will remain a dream.

Written by Iris Paris

Over the Hills: A Midlife Escape Across America by Bicycle

A highly respected journalist and self-confirmed middle-ager, Lamb decides to set off one day on a cross-country journey from Washington, D.C., to Santa Monica, California. In a reportorial style, he gathers facts about bicycling from friends and magazines, piecing together what he thinks is the sufficient equipment and information to make his trip easier. But Lamb doesn’t map out a real plan, research his route or terrain, or prepare physically for what becomes a major, life-altering trek. The difficulties he meets in weather, accommodations, and road conditions seem insignificant in comparison to his interior journey, brought about by encounters with history, people, and places. Clearly a man with a strong will, Lamb defies the odds and reaffirms his life and youth. Like one 3,145-mile meditation, Over the Hills certainly bears resemblance to Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and will appeal to many readers, even those for whom a solitary cross-country trip will remain a dream.

Written by David Lamb


Partners In Grime

If Bob Hope had ever done a “Road” movie about bicycling, Partners in Grime would have been it. Sharon and Neil Anderson are the adventurous duo who toss 21st Century amenities to tour across Canada. Like layers of skin, The Andersons shed belongings, their home, jobs and cars–but thank goodness, not their bicycles. And in doing so they come to the heart and soul of whom they are.

Written by Neil Aderson

Ride With the Wind: The Adventures of a Grandmother Who Bicycled Around the World

In 1987, Hamlin (nursing, Andrews Univ.), a grandmother, vegetarian, and Seventh-Day Adventist, biked from California to South Carolina to promote her plan for a healthy lifestyle: FRESH START (fresh air, rest, exercise, simple diet, happiness, sunshine, the use of water, abstemiousness, restoration, and trust in divine power). Since then she has bicycled through Asia, Australia, Canada, and Europe, dispensing nutrition advice, depending on the abundant and often unexpected kindness of strangers, and listening to the “One” voice for advice. Her mildly entertaining account has little to do with the wonders of travel because she is usually too busy meeting deadlines to enjoy the sights around her, and the people she encounters are kind and helpful but never interesting.

Written by Charlotte Hamlin

Riding Outside the Lines: International Incidents and Other Misadventures With the Metal Cowboy

The author, a columnist for Bicycling magazine, follows up his first book, Metal Cowboy (1999), with this collection of essays chronicling his life and adventures as a devoted cyclist. Here we find the author in Ireland, tracking the elusive all-girl bagpipe squad; in Acapulco, Dumpster diving with a fellow called Sammy D.; in Alaska, touring Kicking Horse Pass. Kurmaskie, for whom cycling is not a hobby but a vital part of life, takes readers on a world tour, inspiring us to get off our butts and into the saddle. The book, like its author, is full of energy and wit, a celebration of the two-wheeled wanderer, of a lifestyle where every corner, ever hillcrest, can lead in wild new directions. The world looks different from a bicycle seat, and, with his unique point of view and distinctive voice, Kurmaskie fills us with the cyclist’s spirit of adventure. Recommend this one for fans of Tony Hawks, Tim Moore, and other writers of offbeat travel literature.

Written by Joe Kurmaskie

Roll Around Heaven All Day: A Piecemeal Journey Across America by Bicycle

The experiences of a middle-aged, overweight man, mounted on an old bicycle, who is traveling across America along the TransAmerica Bicycle Trail. This inspirational coast-to-coast odyssey is a truly satisfying ride, not only for cyclists, but for anyone who travels for the joy of the journey–or simply dreams of doing so.

Written by Stan Purdum


Saddled At Sea: A 15,000 Mile Journey To New Zealand By Russian Freighter

What should have been a straightforward five-week journey, crossing two oceans, passing through the Panama canal, and taking in the islands of the South Pacific en route, turns into an epic journey of rough seas, clashing personalities, and crises in the ship’s engine room. And when the ship receives an SOS from a yacht with a heart attack victim on board, it’s all hands on deck for a daring sea rescue. With various delays and detours, five weeks turns into six, then seven, then eight—and while the other passengers are quietly going mad with frustration, Josie develops unusual strategies to cope with the hours of potentially endless tedium on board. As the journey progresses and the ship sails from the freezing seas of the north to the hot and steamy south, so the atmosphere on board approaches boiling point. Safety issues, personal disputes, and unreasonable delays are top of the agenda for the passengers. Will they actually reach New Zealand before someone jumps ship, or is pushed?

Written by Josie Dew

Slow Coast Home: A 5,000 Mile Cycle Journey Around The Shores Of England And Wales

In this book, Josie Dew takes another quirky and riotous ride, choosing to circumnavigate the coastline of the British Isles—discovering that her homeland can be as surprising and full of incident as anywhere she has ever been. Beginning in Portsmouth, Josie sets off in a clockwise direction after a Shetland grandmother warns her that she’ll end up meeting the devil if she travels anti-clockwise. Through rain, hail, floods, bitter temperatures, minor earthquakes, and dusty drought, Josie pedals on, eventually returning to complete her odyssey along 5,000 miles of seaside, estuaries, creeks, and islands.

Written by Josie Dew

Spokesongs: Bicycle Adventures on Three Continents

Inspirational stories of traveling the world by bicycle. From the war-torn Balkans (where he was greeted with extraordinary kindness by Serb and Croat alike) to post-apartheid South Africa (where he was trailed by lions, and housed by Zulus) to the eternal chaos of India (where he is lodged one night at the local jail), Willie Weir finds moments of grace on the thinnest lines on the map. He also finds frequent humor and occasional brutality. But throughout, his bicycle is the vehicle for communion with mankind, and the lessons he imparts are applicable to our everyday homebound lives as well: Be curious, be open, be brave, be good and goodness will find you. Originally written as scripts for public radio, these (now greatly expanded and enriched) tales of traveling the world by bicycle are crystalline beauties, small human encounters rendered with perfect clarity and luminescence. Willie Weir sings the glories of the bicycling life. A book for bicyclists and adventure travelers, Spokesongs is an unforgettable journey into the heart of the world.

Written by Willie Weir

Stories Of The Road

1976. The Bicentennial Summer. Two friends. A bicycle ride across America. Extraordinarily beautiful country – the Pacific Northwest, Yellowstone, the Black Hills, Great Plains, and Great Lakes Region. Native American, pioneer, and ecological accounts. Good adventures, all kinds of stories, and a few ghosts. As much fun as the Fourth of July!

Written by Marie Sansone

The Bicycle Book: Wit, Wisdom & Wanderings

The Bicycle Book: Wit, Wisdom and Wanderings is a celebration of the bicycle by people who ride. . .a tribute to one of the finest, most efficient, most useful machines ever invented. The 25 contributors are talented writers and cartoonists, each with a unique take on bicycling. Whether in critical observation, concern, memorial, fact, or in jest, each story and cartoon is definitely worth a look. You do not have to be a cycling expert to read this book; there is something here for everyone.

Written by Jim Joyce

The Cycling Adventures of Coconut Head: A North American Odyssey

With no tent, money, sleeping bag or experience, Ted Schredd set off on a bicycle tour that took him around North America. His unique view of the world puts a new perspective on the world. His story of adventure, bugs, people and love will charm you and brighten your day.

Written by Ted Schredd

The Hungry Cyclist: Pedalling the Americas in Search of the Perfect Meal

Over 100,000 miles to cover, one man, one bike and one hungry stomach. Having created his alter-ego, the Hungry Cyclist and with thousands of pedal-powered miles before him, Tom Kevill-Davies pushed off from New York City on one of the most ambitious gastronomic adventures ever undertaken. A ballsy travel memoir The Hungry Cyclist follows Tom’s adventure into the hearts and minds of the people he meets. Revealing the diverse cultures of the Americas, Tom’s journey from over the Rockies to Baja California, through Central America down all the way to Brazil via Colombia, gives the real flavour of this truly extraordinary landmass. This is a tale of death-battles with squadrons of mosquitoes, malodorous public toilets, of galloping dysentery one day, to drowning your sorrows with cowboys and dining with beauty queens the next. But above all it is an ambitious story of getting to where you want to be – even if you have to endure cactus-induced punctures, unforgiving desert heat, uphill struggles through never-ending cocaine plantations, or artfully dodge hungry bears, neurotic RV-driving Americans, angry rabid dogs and run-ins with local law authorities in the process.An amazing tale of what can happen when you get on your bike and go.

Written by Tom Kevill-Davies

The Lead Goat Veered Off: A Bicycling Adventure on Sardinia

Seeking a change in their hectic lifestyle, Neil and Sharon opt for simplicity. They chuck the house, the car, the electric can opener, the day-to-day grind and load up their bikes to head out on the open road. Out there, they encounter a world nothing like the one they left behind. In this adventure, Neil and Sharon leave the comfortable amenities of the French Riviera and tour the west coast of Corsica, Napoleon’s birthplace, before sailing to the island of Sardinia. The places and people they meet along the way make them question their long held beliefs of success and the so-called good life.  “Success is not in monetary and material excess. Success is being true to yourself, living your life in your own way, living a life of compassion, forgiveness and tolerance with a warm heart.”

Written by Neil Anderson

The Long Ride

The Long Ride was written about a four-year round-the-world bicycle adventure that took place in the early 1970’s, but the excitement and philosophy is not out of date. Luckily this book reads quickly, because it is hard to put down. Particularly engrossing are the author’s experiences riding through the bull dust of Australia’s outback, being cursed then healed by a white witch doctor in Indonesia, outrunning a rogue elephant in Thailand, and riding an ostrich in South Africa. Reading Lloyd’s travel stories induced me to write him a letter in 1979. We eventually met and were instant soulmates, and after 15 years of an adventurous life with him, I can attest to the validity of his experiences. Unfortunately Lloyd died suddenly in 1996. Though it was not the intent of the author, The Long Ride has become a testimony to a dynamic man’s short, but intense life.

Product description by Jean S. Sumner.

Written by Lloyd Sumner

The Lost Cyclist: The Epic Tale of an American Adventurer and His Mysterious Disappearance

In the late 1880s, Frank Lenz of Pittsburgh, a renowned high-wheel racer and long-distance tourist, dreamed of cycling around the world. He finally got his chance by recasting himself as a champion of the downsized “safety-bicycle” with inflatable tires, the forerunner of the modern road bike that was about to become wildly popular. In the spring of 1892 he quit his accounting job and gamely set out west to cover twenty thousand miles over three continents as a correspondent for Outing magazine. Two years later, after having survived countless near disasters and unimaginable hardships, he approached Europe for the final leg. He never made it. His mysterious disappearance in eastern Turkey sparked an international outcry and compelled Outing to send William Sachtleben, another larger-than-life cyclist, on Lenz’s trail. Bringing to light a wealth of information, Herlihy’s gripping narrative captures the soaring joys and constant dangers accompanying the bicycle adventurer in the days before paved roads and automobiles. This untold story culminates with Sachtleben’s heroic effort to bring Lenz’s accused murderers to justice, even as troubled Turkey teetered on the edge of collapse.

Written by David Herlihy

The Northern Tier

Lief & Mary Carlsen had never ridden any great distance on a bicycle. He was a builder of rock wall and she was a nurse. But they had a dream – to hit the open road on their tandem bicycle and see America up-close. They wanted to know what it would be like to wake each morning and test themselves against the weather and the road and the whims of fate. This is the story of how their dream became a 4000-mile reality.

Written by Lief Carlson



 

The Road Of Dreams: A Two-Year Bicycling And Hiking Adventure Around The World

Written with a keen eye for detail and a wry sense of humor, “The Road of Dreams” is travel writing at its best! Follow the unforgettable exploits of seasoned travelers Bruce Junek and Tass Thacker on their 26-month around-the-world bicycle trip. They crossed four continents through sweltering temperatures and winter snowstorms—punctuated by 42 flats. This deeply personal travel book is also the story of an inner journey with a compelling message: Recognize what you value most in life, and pursue it!

Written by Bruce B. Junek

The Road That Has No End: How We Traded Our Ordinary Lives For a Global Bicycle Touring Adventure

Authors Tim and Cindie Travis accomplish the unthinkable, in an unprecedented worldwide cycling adventure. Their clever story explores the depths of humanity, as they expose themselves to life’s perils on roads less traveled. This story is written as it happened, on the road.

Written by Tim Travis

The Sun In My Eyes: Who-Wheeling East

Armed with only her bike and a great sense of humor, Josie Dew returns to Japan for a second dose of its eccentric and mysterious culture. Japan is a land of contradictions, where snow-capped mountains and picturesque gardens are but a stone’s throw away from concrete, cars, and dense pollution. But wherever she goes, Josie encounters the friendly, quirky, and generous Japanese people, from those who lavishly bestow her with cabbages and cans of Pocari Sweat to the couple who left her the key to their shop, telling her to sleep by the till.

Written by Josie Dew

The Wind In My Wheels: Travel Tales From The Saddle

As a young girl, Josie Dew developed an overpowering urge to travel. She also, rather inconveniently, developed a lifelong aversion to cars. Along came her first bicycle, and she has never looked back. Four continents, 36 countries, and 80,000 miles worth of astounding adventures, eccentric characters, varied cultures and ever-enduring optimism are the result of her travels. From Saharan locust invasions to tree-climbing goats, and a customs official who wouldn’t let her leave India because “You are making me a very fine wife,” her encounters are described with honesty, wit, and perception.

Written by Josie Dew

Thunder & Sunshine

Alistair Humphreys cycled around the world—a journey of 46,000 miles. This inspiring story traces the second leg of his travels—the length of South and North America, the breadth of Asia and back across Europe, crossing the mountains and salt-flats of South America, canoeing the Five-Finger Rapids of the Yukon River, and braving a Siberian Winter with only the flimsiest tent to protect him from the elements.

Written by Alastair Humphreys

Travels In A Strange State

By most people’s standards, Josie Dew is hugely adventurous. By American standards, she is completely insane. For Americans drive everywhere: through cinemas, restaurants, banks, even trees. But driving past Josie as she pedalled across America was a new and alarming experience. On her eight-month journey Josie experienced it all; race riots in Los Angeles, impossible heat in Death Valley, Sexual Tantric Seminars in Hawaii. From Utah to the Great Lakes, via improbable places like Zzyzx and Squaw Tit, her two-wheeled odyssey brought her into contact with all the wonders and worries of this larger-than-life country. Highly entertaining, richly informative, TRAVELS IN A STRANGE STATE is a personal memoir of an improbable journey, revealing the United States as it is rarely seen – from the seat of a bicycle.

Written by Josie Dew

Travels With Willie: Adventure Cyclist

Watch enough cable news and your view of the world will be clouded by fear. Hop on a bike and that view will brighten drastically. Travels with Willie is about finding adventure & facing fear, embarrassing blunders & language barriers, ice cream & kindness, Cuba & Colombia, Turkey & Thailand, the world’s steepest street & the world’s cheapest engagement ring, catching a thief & loosing a zebra, a father’s touch & a farmer’s embrace, buying time & spending another night. Fellow bicycle travelers will smile with recognition, and arm-chair travelers might find themselves wandering into a bike shop, looking for a passport to adventure.

Written by Willie Weir


True Fans: A Basketball Odyssey

Austin, his brother, Jared, and best pal Clint mounted their bicycles in Venice, California, and headed toward the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts. They had an official NBA basketball–to be autographed by all those who assisted them on their journey–some peanut butter, and a little camping gear. Their trek became a self-propelled Blue Highway for hoop junkies. Coal miners, fast-food laborers, and even a guy who claimed to own a town in Nevada befriended the trio. Along the way, they engaged in pickup games whenever they could, looking for enlightenment as cosmic as the meaning of life or as mundane as the best cheap eats in town. In addition to this print account of their odyssey, Austin also made a documentary film called True Fans that was the People’s Choice winner at the Banff Film Festival. Readers after basketball insights here will be disappointed–the game is mostly an excuse for the road trip–but if one is out for laughs and a revealing look at average Americans, this is the right book.

Written by Bob Neubauer



Two Wheels And A Map: A Solo Bicycle Journey Down The East Coast

Leaving behind an unfulfilling job in the New York film industry, Bob Neubauer set out on his bike to see what life was like on the rest of the East Coast. He meandered along rural back roads, meeting strangers, listening to their stories and enjoying their unexpected hospitality. But not everything went perfectly. Searing summer heat drained his energy, dog attacks and overzealous preachers kept him running, and he spent many a nervous night bedding down where he didn’t belong. Through it all, the people who crossed his path, sometimes offering only a kind word, gave him the inspiration he needed to persevere. Two Wheels and a Map details Bob Neubauer’s two-part solo bike journey from Bangor, Maine, to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. His amusing observations on the people and predicaments he encountered along the way give the book a lighthearted tone as it chronicles his life on the open road.

Written by Bob Neubauer



Two Wheels Around New Zealand: A Bicycle Journey on Friendly Roads

Scott Bischke and Katie Gibson have done what many of us dream. They quit their jobs and traded in their possessions for a year of travel and simplicity. During the course of their journey, the biked more than 8,000 kilometers and experienced much of New Zealand’s culture and beauty. Their freewheeling adventure took them from biking, hiking, and canoeing to fly-fishing for monster trout and picking kiwi fruit as transient laborers. Theirs was a journey of discovery, both as individuals and as a couple. They shared the joys of exploration and new friendships, as well as the challenges of biking mountainous terrain and living in a two-person tent. Two Wheels Around New Zealand is a light-hearted adventure story; but above all it is a celebration of the people, landscape, and lifestyle of New Zealand.

Written by Scott Bischke

Two Wheels North: Bicycling the West Coast in 1909

Two boys on a bike trip are sure to find adventure. Send them off into the wilds of the American West, and it’s a safe bet adventure will find them. In 1909, Vic McDaniel and Ray Franciso, just out of high school, set out from Santa Rosa, CA., on second-hand bikes, bound for the great Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition in Seattle. Vic and Ray reported their adventures to their home-town newspaper, and what adventures they had. They met their share of memorable characters, from a young girl who stole Ray’s heart to pin-striped hustler who tried to pick Vic’s pocket. They traveled beside railroad tracks, fought their way around boulders and up brushy hillsides, and crossed rivers layered with salmon. They survived a grizzly’s nocturnal visit and the sudden terror of a snake bite. They held their breaths crossing railroad trestles over treacherous canyons, and discovered that a railroad tunnel doesn’t offer safe passage when you’re halfway through and a train comes along.

Written by Evelyn McDaniel Gibb

Where the Pavement Ends: One Woman’s Bicycle Trip Through Mongolia, China & Vietnam

Living in Seattle and failing to make her mark as an actress, Erika Warmbrunn decides to chuck it all and go traveling. Her resulting novel, Where the Pavement Ends, is an absorbing account of her ambitious eight-month solo bicycle trip through the countries of Mongolia, China, and Vietnam. While Warmbrunn’s accounts of the travails of traveling in far-off lands doesn’t necessarily break new ground, she writes with humor and candor. If you have even a twinge of wanderlust, you’ll appreciate this book. Her adventure begins in Mongolia, where she cycles past curious onlookers in dusty towns with names like Khatgal and Moron. Abandoning her set-in-stone itinerary, she spends a memorable month in the village of Ashaant teaching English to schoolchildren and living in a traditional ger (tent). In China she braves the cold and nerve-racking interrogation but is awed by the Great Wall and intrigued by fellow backpackers’ tales, told over noodles and beer. By the time she reaches Vietnam, with the frenetic Saigon and its ever-present reminders of the war, she is psychically and emotionally spent. Four thousand miles is a long way to go–even when it’s a journey in search of self.

Written by Erika Warmbrunn

You Can’t Ride a Bike to Alaska. It’s an Island!

“You’ll never make it!” With encouragement like that, author Mickey Thomas, in a fit of youthful testosterone, and meticulous inattention to detail, decided to embark on a once-in-a-lifetime 3,400 mile bicycle ride from Montana to Alaska. While riding through knee problems, illness, homesickness, infatuation, bad weather, and meeting a host of quirky and hilarious characters, Mickey, and his group, rides over some of roughest roads and most desolate scenery in North America. Along the way, he discovers an inner strength as well as a new physical stamina he never had. The book is laugh-out-loud funny, but it is also a celebration of the human spirit, and of the last great North American wilderness.

Written by Mickey Thomas

Which bicycle touring books have I missed?

If you know of a book about bicycle touring or bicycle travel that should be added to this list, please leave a comment below with the name of the book, the author, and a link to a website where the book can be purchased. Remember, these are not “how-to” bicycle touring books, but books written by individuals who have traveled with their bikes.

Recommended for you

41 Comments

  1. Lars Nielsen

    April 28, 2010 at 3:59 am

    Why english spoken books, only?

  2. Bob Neubauer

    April 29, 2010 at 7:02 am

    Hey, what a great list. I’ve read many of them, but now I’ve got a few more to seek out. Thanks for listing my book, Two Wheels and a Map.

  3. Gareth

    April 30, 2010 at 1:08 am

    Hey, Darren!

    Good to see someone promoting bicycle travel – one of my life’s main passions! I have cycled independently through even country in Latin America and also in Europe, Canada, and US, but for some reason I never like reading books about other people’s trips. I always feel like they aren’t doing it the way I do it or something. Maybe I should write a book too when I get the time!

    Great site! Keep it up!

  4. Alan Mizell

    May 1, 2010 at 7:45 pm

    A bit harder to find but my all time favorite is ‘The Long ride’ by Lloyd Sumner. Great tale of a journey across the US, Australia, Indonesia, India, Africa. Fun stories, incredible travails, all done in the later 70’s if I remember right, no Internet, cell phones, not easy.

  5. elmono enbici

    May 1, 2010 at 7:53 pm

    Two Wheels & a Taxi by Virginia Urrutia.
    A slightly daft adventure in the Andes of Ecuador
    Published by The Mountaineers/Seattle
    1987

  6. Buck Lamb

    May 1, 2010 at 8:22 pm

    I note that you havehelped create the Bicycle Travel Network for YOUNG
    cyclists doing a first time touring experience. This is a really good thing in this particular time. Young people cannot help but benefit from this type of experience.
    However at 74 doing my first 1200 solo tour, you may not be of much help to me.

    Good Luck in your Endeavors,
    BL

  7. Merida Munn

    May 1, 2010 at 8:22 pm

    Great list. I can’t wait to get started on some more of these…Thanks Darren!

  8. Barb Hobe

    May 2, 2010 at 3:41 am

    This is a wonderful list of books. I have read many of them. Another great read is Frosty Wooldridge’s “Bicycling Around the World” and the late Anne Mustoe, especially her “Lone Traveller” and “A Bike Ride.”

  9. Louis Melini

    May 3, 2010 at 6:25 am

    Darren: Nice list. Now I have more books to add to my “to read” list. For your list add “Once Upon a Chariot” by Iris Paris. It is a great read about a 19 year-old girl (Iris’s Mother) who rides across the U.S. in 1947. Really good book. Also “True Fans” by Dan Austin is very good. It is about 3 guys that ride across the U.S. with a basketball. People who help them sign the ball which is then delivered to the Basketball Hall of Fame.
    Not as highly rated are “The Northern Tier” by Carlsen, “Stories of the Road” by Sansone and “The Road of Dreams” by Junek.

  10. Jim McCracken

    May 3, 2010 at 11:54 am

    Here’s one more for the list. I read this after attending a presentation by the authors. Another notable example of “ordinary” people who left their full time jobs for an adventurous dream on two wheels and then figured out how to keep the adventure going as a lifestyle.

    From amazon:
    Leaving Luna: Two Women, Two Bikes, Europe in a Year [Paperback]
    Cindy Borden & Penny Richardson (Author), Cindy Borden (Illustrator)
    5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

  11. Alex Denham

    May 4, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    One of my fav’s:
    Falling Uphill by Scott Stoll
    http://www.theargonauts.com/falling-uphill/index.shtml

    Very adventurous, I’m fairly jealous of what he got up to on his years on a bike! Love the “finding the self” element of the book too.

  12. jason

    May 5, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    Brilliant list theres a few more to get on with now im of to amazon. Just thought you could try the books by josie dew. There what got me hooked. Check out http://www.josiedew.co.uk

  13. Matt Cunningham

    May 14, 2010 at 10:00 pm

    Llamas and Empanadas is a good read about a female solo biker through South America:

    http://www.amazon.com/Llamas-Empanadas-Kilometres-Bicycle-Through/dp/0143006401

  14. MARY

    May 29, 2010 at 2:19 pm

    Has anyone heard of the book Zen and the art of bicycle riding — not motorcycle repiar but bicycle riding — I can’t find the book or the ISBN. Thanks in advance if you know something

  15. Bicycle Touring Pro

    June 25, 2010 at 1:25 am

    Thanks everyone for your book recommendations. I’ve just added 10 more books to the list. If you think of any others that need to be added, just leave a comment and let me know!

  16. Alastair Humphreys

    June 25, 2010 at 2:29 am

    Great list and honoured to be included!!

    Two more for you from friends of mine:

    Cycling Home from Siberia – Rob Lilwall
    Take a Seat – Dom Gill

  17. John Benson

    November 11, 2010 at 5:45 pm

    A couple more spring to mind + one in Spanish … and if I delve further, there’ll be even more

    1. Pedalling To Panama Clive Parker
    His website: http://www.cliveparker.co.uk/pedalling%20to%20panama.htm

    2. El Bici Clown Alvaro Neil
    His website http://www.biciclown.com/index.php?mmod=staticContent&IDf=75
    He’s been living on his bike since 2001, and uninterruptedly since 2004 cycling the world putting on shows for those he meets, hence the nickname The Bicycle Clown. His show is called Miles of Smiles Around the World. He has no intention to return to Spain until 2014, at the earliest. With English such a dominant language, we often forget about the many who are out there with different languages. His book is available in Spain, I don’t know about elsewhere.

    3. Into The Remote Places Ian Hibbell
    The review probably says it all > http://www.amazon.com/Into-Remote-Places-Ian-Hibell/dp/0860512452/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1289522239&sr=1-1 . However, anyone who canoes the Darien Gap gets my respect. One of Josie Dew’s heroes, praise indeed.

    You’ll also notice in one of the responses above, the mention of Anne Mustoe. Anne was a headteacher, retired at 54, took up bike touring and spent the next 20 years cycling and writing about it until her death in Syria at the back end of 2009, during a cycling trip. Here is an obituary to someone I’ll continue to greatly admire:
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article6935356.ece
    And her other works are listed here. I’ve read them all (note they are not all about biking) and Che Guevara & The Mountain of Silver is nearly all about train & bus travel http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=Anne+Mustoe&x=0&y=0

    A random list of others …
    The Man Who Cycled the World Mark Beaumont
    Four Cheeks to the Wind Mary Bryant
    The Crossing: Biking Solo from Ocean to Ocean Martin Delaney
    Planet Backpacker: Across Europe on a Mountain Bike Robert Downes
    A Bicycle Journey Across the USA: Summer of ’79 Chad Ehlers
    Off the Map: Bicycling Across Siberia Mark Jenkins
    Goin’ Across Doug Landman
    A Life on Wheels in Latin America Martin Lobigs
    Pedal Power: Great Bicycle Journeys Roy Sinclair
    A Journey Round the World: A Cycling Memoir David Sore
    Just a Little Run Around the World: 5 Years, 3 Packs … Rosie Swale-Pope
    You Can’t Ride a Bike to Alaska Mickey Thomas
    Around the World on Two Wheels Zheutlin and Peter

    Best wishes
    John

  18. Matt O'Keefe

    November 18, 2010 at 3:26 pm

    Great list, I think I have found my winter reads

    currently reading and enjoying: Johnny Ginger’s Last Ride

    matt

  19. Tia

    September 16, 2011 at 11:15 pm

    excellent list, it will keep my spirit fired up for the trip across the Nullarbor 🙂
    Thank you!

  20. Ed Catt

    July 24, 2012 at 6:13 am

    I was glad to see that you referenced Dervla Murphy’s book in this interesting list. I haven’t read her book about her travels in India, but I have read the one she wrote about her African journey that had to do with the AIDS crisis there. She has a lot of spunk, intellegence, and compassion. She’s a good writer, too! Anyone who assumes because they are “too old”, should read Dervla’s accounts. She is an inspiration to everyone who love cycle travel!

  21. Ed Catt

    July 26, 2012 at 5:26 am

    Great list of bike travel books. Wish I had had it several years ago. There are a number of ‘stinkers’ out there about that subject! Then I came across Dervla Murphy. Her 1994 book The Ukimwi Road: From Kenya to Zimbabwe (about AIDS in that part of Africa) impressed me with this stallwart Irish woman on a mountain bike!
    With your list to go by, now I can find better books about cycle touring! Thanks, Darren!

  22. Angelo L. Coletta

    October 10, 2012 at 9:14 pm

    Darren
    Excellent list!! I have an old book, that I cherish, “Traveling Light” by Maximilian J St George. Copyright 1922. The author spent 16 months cycling a between the World Wars Europe. I have some of the titles in your list, but most I do not. Recommend two recent books, “Adventure Cycling” by Stephan Lord and “Bike Touring, The Sierra Club Guide to Travel on Two Wheels” by Raymond Bridge.
    Regards and Be Safe
    Angelo

  23. Alan Lord

    January 2, 2013 at 5:07 am

    Hi
    A few years ago someone loaned me a book about a cyclist living in Canada that decides to go on a long cycle tour. The books ends at his parents home somewhere in the UK (it could be Yorkshire) with some of the last words being; “mom dad I’m home”. Can anyone give me the title or author of this book and where I may get a copy?

  24. Andi Lonnen

    March 17, 2013 at 9:44 am

    An excellent list! A book I really enjoyed on a cycle tour of my own was “Good Vibrations: Cycling Across Europe on a Bike Called Reggie” by Andrew P Sykes.

  25. heleenbarnard@yahoo.com

    March 17, 2013 at 9:58 pm

    Janapar: Love on a bike by Tom Allen

  26. Cindie Travis

    May 20, 2013 at 7:13 am

    Thanks for putting this list together Darren,

    I wrote about my travels by bicycle with Tim through China under my maiden name of Cindie Cohagan. Its called Finding Compassion in China: A Bicycle Journey into the Countryside.

    Thanks and love your travels and photos through South Africa, makes me want to ride there.

    Cindie

  27. Tom Bruce

    September 9, 2013 at 11:09 am

    Hi Darren,

    Great list – I’d like to introduce my book: “Every Inch of the Way; My Bike Ride around the World”.

    It’s about the round the world ride I did in 2011, includes nearly 100 photos and maps and is out as a paperback and an ebook. My ride took me through Europe, Asia and the USA on an unbroken chain.

    Thanks very much,
    Tom (tombruce86@gmail.com)

    “A challenge that tested Tom to his limit but in return gave him more than he could ever have imagined.”
    – Bear Grylls

    “Every Inch of the Way is a great page turning adventure which is as close as you can get, without actually saddling up and pedalling yourself into the unknown. It takes real magic to turn a great adventure, into a great book. For one thing, most people can’t relate to the mindset of the long distance cyclist and I found myself laughing along to Tom’s thoughts and observations, wondering if they were in – jokes, shared by those who had seen the world at the speed of a bike, for example his relationship with Serbia’s stray dogs! . But his anecdotes have a great balance of the cultures and places, as opposed to just inward reflections, so I am sure would be enjoyed by anyone with an interest in travel and human experience. A lovely story, written from the heart.”
    – Mark Beaumont (around the world record breaking cyclist, author and adventurer)

  28. Scott Woermann

    September 28, 2013 at 10:51 am

    Nice list! I would add this: The Masked Rider: Cycling in West Africa by Neil Peart (yes, the drummer of the band Rush) – a very good account of his cycle touring travels in Africa. Recommended.

  29. Mike Poe

    October 29, 2013 at 4:00 pm

    This is a fantastic list and deeply appreciated. As avid adventure cyclists, we have sought out every book we could find…for inspiration…for information. Have read many from this list, but obviously have many more after visiting this site.
    Would like to introduce our book. On Our Own: A Bicycling Adventure in Southeast Asia. On Our Own is about an 8000-mile journey by bicycle, sailboat, motorbike, bus and train through the heart of Southeast Asia. In our mid-fifties at the time (1997), we journeyed for six months from Bali, Indonesia through Java, Sumatra, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and China until finally reaching Hong Kong. We sojourned on our own with no guides to show us the way, no organized tours to fix all the problems, and no translators to read the menus. Our stories tell the truth about what it really felt like to travel into the lives of the local populations. We flourished, floundered, and challenged our physical and emotional stamina as we intermingled in the daily lives of the local populations. On Our Own tells the tales of our reactions to and interactions with the varied people and the intriguing cultures we encountered along the way: spirit worshipping Balinese who wore their culture proudly through the streets; hard working Javanese pressured into a meager life by over-population and competition; over-zealous Sumatrans screaming hello, chasing us and pulling us off our bikes; reserved Thais always ready with a helping hand; gracious Vietnamese plodding against heavy odds into a brighter future; enigmatic Chinese, pushing the western concept of honesty to the brink of extinction.
    This book is sold exclusively on Amazon.com. Both the printed and Kindle editions are chocked full of photographs.
    Thank you for giving us the opportunity to share our book with your members. We are really enjoying reading of other adventures; they are always inspiring.
    Anne & Mike Poe
    On Our Own: A Bicycling Adventure in South East Asia

  30. Roger

    December 13, 2013 at 10:54 am

    Nothing by Bernard Newman? He wrote of 20 cycling books in the 30’s, 40’s and 50s.

  31. Richard Greenhill

    December 15, 2013 at 5:56 pm

    ‘Off the Rails’ by Tim Cope and Chris Hatherly (2003). A story of two young Australians riding recumbent bikes across Russia, Mongolia and China.

    ‘Three Men on a Bike’ by Rory Spowers (1995). Story of four Englishman riding bikes from South Africa to England. They rode on a three seated bike with trailer and a mountain bike. Cracking read, very funny..

  32. Robert

    February 24, 2014 at 6:35 pm

    Wow, thank you for publishing this list. I have already ordered a book. I dont really read books about travellers but on this list there are books that are not travelling descriptions.

    Robert Dauphinais

  33. sharlene

    May 5, 2014 at 7:46 am

    Sheila Ruckley, History on a Bike: In the Footsteps of Merriweather Lewis and William Clark

    Available in paperback or Kindle. Weaves her experience biking the Lewis & Clark trail with the history of the original expedition. I thoroughly enjoyed it!

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/178003329X/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?qid=1399300834&sr=8-1&pi=SY200_QL40

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B007A1A5F2/ref=mp_s_a_1_2?qid=1399300919&sr=8-2&pi=SY200_QL40

  34. Mel

    May 16, 2014 at 9:06 am

    Great list. I’ve read a few, and look forward to reading more. Thanks for the inspiration.

    Here’s another good one: ‘Rising Son: A Father and Son’s Bike Adventure Across Japan’ by Charles Scott – about a man and his 8 year old son who biked the length of Japan

    http://www.amazon.com/Rising-Son-Father-Adventure-across/dp/148027223X

  35. Heather Andersen

    May 28, 2014 at 2:53 pm

    I’m going to be bold and mention that since this fine list was published, my award-winning book I Never Intended to Be Brave: A Woman’s Bicycle Joiurney Through Southern Africa was published. It tells the tale of my unexpectedly solo ride (which didn’t start out that way) and forging my own path through foreign lands–and life. http://bicyclingheather.com/about-the-book/

  36. Michael Jason Fox

    June 16, 2014 at 6:39 am

    Hello Darren, great list. Love your website, thank you for all the hard work and dedication. I recently published a book about my month ride along the Mississippi River. I would love to be included on this list. Give it a look. http://www.amazon.com/Fox-Trails-Bicycle-Adventure-Mississippi/dp/1499734166/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1401860648&sr=1-1

  37. Paola Zimmermann

    September 11, 2014 at 7:54 am

    Rambo the Rat Terrier has written his first book from cycling around the world… but it’s in German:
    http://grenzenlos2001.wordpress.com/buch/

    Rambo, El Viajero
    Ein Ratten-Terrier auf Weltumradlung
    Paola Zimmermann
    Verlag BoD – ISBN 978-3-7357-3800-4

    available as book or eBook as well online via Amazon, etc.

  38. Gary Mcgee

    February 4, 2015 at 1:12 pm

    please does anyone remember the title and author of a Cross USA bicycle tour by a man that got divorced quit his job as a bartender i believe in San Diego and set off across America sometime 1990’s? Thanks for any info!!

  39. JennieM

    November 15, 2015 at 1:58 pm

    Thanks Darren, for putting this great list together. I find your post impressive! I am on my way to purchasing some of those books, can’t wait!

  40. Sjoerd

    January 31, 2016 at 9:03 am

    ‘The Longest Climb’ by Dominic Faulkner A bycicle ride from Jordan (the lowest point on earth) to the bottom of mount Everest (the highest point). But wait, there’s more…., why not Climb mount Everest after a good ride?
    Amazing story!

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