Book Reviews: tandem journeys and ultra-runners
We haven’t done a book review for ages, so I thought I’d share a few excellent reads that we’ve just finished in the office.
Both books combine travel and adventure from an active perspective – either running or cycling – and on an ultra-big scale.
Well, we’re talking cycling from Alaska to the southern tip of Argentina, or running 100 miles for fun, through mountains and deserts, non-stop, with just a pair of sandals strapped to your feet.
Take a Seat, by Dominic Gill
One Man, One Tandem and Twenty Thousand Miles of Possibilities
This is the story of Dom Gill’s adventures on a tandem – cycling from the very north of Alaska all the way to the southern tip of South America, 18,499 miles to be precise. Along the way, Dom picks up around 270 people to help him cycle and sit as the ‘stoker’ on the back seat of his tandem. Some join him for just a day or two, others for a few weeks. It’s a simple concept, and the result is a vivid account of a journey through some of the world’s most colourful countries.
Dom’s easy going style is a pleasure to read and testament to the fact that cycling is an excellent way to travel: slowly - with no barriers to prevent conversation with locals you might meet. This, added with the benefit of being able to strike up relationships with those who spend a while on the back seat, mean Take a Seat is one of the best ‘feel good’ travel books we’ve read in a long time.
Born to Run, by Christopher McDougall
The Hidden Tribe, the Ultra-Runners, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen
This is just the most extraordinary book I've read in a long time. Aside from the fact that it has inspired me to take up 'barefoot' running (an amazing feat, trust me!) it is a great travel book and an absorbing, fact filled read.
I use the phrase ‘travel book’ loosely. It is not a travel book in the classic sense, but it is very much about journeys, adventure, back-country Mexico and a unique tribal people - the reclusive Tarahumara Tribe in Mexico's spectacular Copper Canyon.
This book is part sports science, part travel, part running, but all about racing. If you think a book about running sounds boring, then this book will dispel the myth. The accounts of ultra-marathons through Death Valley and high Rocky Mountain passes are just extraordinary, made all the more amazing by the super-human running abilities of a few smiling tribal people from Mexico who proceed to leave the world’s ‘best’ long distance runners looking like amateurs.Commenting is not available in this channel entry.