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There is a long list of things that comes to mind when thinking of summer: popsicles, baseball games, watermelon, swimming pools, the beach, bicycles.  Probably not Siberia – or riding a bicycle through Siberia – but it’s about all I can think about, read about, through these infernal days of heat and humidity.

The heat is sweltering here; a recent article claims we’re in the midst of the hottest six months in recorded history.  Another reminder – along with the mess in the Gulf – from Mother Nature: ride and walk more, drive less?  I’d like to think so, but also admit that it’s a difficult task in this kind of weather.  And you have to be willing to arrive everywhere dripping with sweat and looking like hell; no room for a shred of vanity, that’s for sure.  But hey, as Stephen Markley penned  – “We didn’t need a world with a functioning climate anyway.”

Back to Siberia …  Rob Lilwall’s book, Cycling Home From Siberia, is beautiful, remarkable, inspiring, and the perfect summer read in the midst of a heat wave.  What began as a preposterous undertaking to begin with –  his plan to spend one year cycling from a far-eastern city in Siberia, in winter, all the way home to England – turned into an epic 3-year/3-continent/30,000-mile cycling odyssey.  It is filled with fascinating detail, humor, and yes – the expected drama and dire circumstances you might expect.  But it is written in an amazingly unpretentious and even very spiritual voice.  It is a beautiful story – on so many levels.

It’s a story that is filled with human (versus super-human) moments; his “humanness” and honesty draws you in, while the adventures keep you turning pages.  And ok – the guy rode over 30,000 miles, so there is a fair amount of super-human in there as well, for you feats-of-incredibleness junkies.  But with chapter titles ranging from “Over Mordor” (ch.1 – yes, in reference to Tolkien’s gloom-filled world), to “The budgerigar and the naked weatherman” (ch. 11)  and ” ‘I’ve had enough of this stupid bike ride’ (ch. 36) … it is entertaining, often funny, sometimes sad, sometimes frightening, yet always so very real.  A better description appears on the back cover:

A gripping story of endurance and adventure, this is also a spiritual journey, providing poignant insight into life on the road in some of the world’s toughest corners.

Get your hands on a copy and read it.  Period.  That’s all I’m going to say.

A final note to my kind friends and those of you who commented on my last post:  your insight has been most valuable to me, and I greatly appreciate your taking time to share your thoughts – and even more for listening to me and reading.  It has really helped me, and has made a difference.

#330daysofbiking update: today I have ridden 110 of the past 117 days …. 248 days remain.  And so it goes.  (As I wish for a blast of arctic air to blow over from Siberia).

LensBabyBike ~ #330daysofbiking, Day 107, 7/22/10

riding with Mark, another old barn ~ #330daysofbiking, Day 108, 7/24/10

evening with my boys & bikes ~ #330daysofbiking, Day 109, 7/25/10

rain, errand riding & an iPhone ~ #330daysofbiking, Day 110, 7/26/10

Posted by savaconta on July 26, 2010
  1. 07/26/2010

    reminds of a godfather quote…every time I get out, they keep on bringing me back in. #bikemafia 🙂

  2. 07/26/2010

    Ahhhh, there you are.

    Thanks for the tip about the book. With three young kids, too many jobs, and of course a lot of cycling….reading books for me seems a bit un-heard of these days. It’s not one of my priorities at the moment, but when that time comes again I’ll be sure to check out Cycling Home From Syberia.

    Love the photos as always. Thanks for letting me use one of yours in my post today.


  3. 07/27/2010

    Much as I’d like to be biking more, the heat here has killed my desire for the moment! I’m not a nice person to be around when I’m hot, tired, and sweaty, and carrying a change of clothes every single place I go is out 🙂 I’m hoping for an early fall, or at least a break in the triple digit heat indexes!

    I actually haven’t heard of that book – it sounds really interesting! Although my house is practically a library right now and I think I could probably read at least 2 books per week for about a year before running out of reading material! One of my vices is collecting way too many books – could be worse I suppose 🙂

  4. 07/27/2010

    I’m also a runner, and I have to say that riding in TN is WAY better than running during the summer. At least I create my own 15-20 mph–okay, 10-15 mph–breezes. But, when Sarah and I went blueberry picking last week, I realized that my own biking breeze still wasn’t enough. Of course, that might have been the 8 lbs of blueberries worth of extra weight…

    Great pics, by the way. And great to see another post. I really do enjoy them!

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