Books for inspiration

Even when I'm not touring, I'm planning a tour. Reading other peoples accounts of their cycling trips can be inspiring and/or depressing, but it's always better than watching the telly or paying taxes. The 76 or so I've read have been rated based on my own biases. Sadly very few of them cover South America in any detail. The ratings are based simply on how much I enjoyed reading the books and sometimes how well they managed to portray the feelings I associate with cycletouring. Within each category (Excellent, Good, Average and Not for me) the order is random. Some of these books are out of print.

For more books I've listed over 302 published bicycle travelogues arranged alphabetically by author.

Linked titles usually mean the books are still available (as at February 2009). The links usually go to the book's page at or Links open in new windows. Out of print books can sometimes be found at Australian users may want to try the following online stores:,,

This page last updated November 2010.


Tim Moore - French Revolutions
Following the 2000 Tour de France route. Hilarious.
2002. ISBN 0 09 943382 6
Anne Mustoe - A Bike Ride
Round The World.
1991. ISBN 1 85227 337 2
Andy Brown & Tim Garratt - Discovery Road
Round The World including Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina & Chile
1998. ISBN 0 9530575 3 4
Josie Dew - A ride in the neon sun
1999. ISBN 0 7515 1755 0
Josie Dew - The wind in my wheels
Lots of places.
1992. ISBN 0 7515 0249 9
Thomas Stevens - Around the world on a penny-farthing (AKA Around the World on a Bicycle)
Round The World in 1884.
Reprinted 1988. ISBN 0 09 973920 8
Dervla Murphy - Full tilt
England to India in the early '60s.
1965. ISBN 0 09 995530 X
Mark Jenkins - Off the map
1992. ISBN 0 06 097532 6
Bernard Magnouloux - Travels with Rosinante
Round The World including Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina & Chile.
1988. OUT OF PRINT. ISBN 0586208283
Richard Allen - Shimmering Spokes
Round Australia.
1999. ISBN 1 86436 521 8
Australian publication; search for it here:, or
Andrew X Pham - Catfish and Mandala
1999. ISBN 0 00 257184 6
Rupert Attlee - The Trail to Titicaca
South America - Argentina, Chile & Bolivia.
1997. ISBN 1 84024 095 4
Tim Krabbe - The Rider
A fictional account of a 137km road race from the perspective of a single rider. The entire story takes place in the race.
2002 (for the English translation; 1978 for the original Dutch). ISBN 0 7475 5941 4
Nicholas Crane - Cycling in Europe
Out of print since the late '80s, but quite simply the best, most useful and well written travel guide I have ever encountered (for cycling or otherwise). Lonely Planet would be well advised to get a copy before they produce any more of their unimaginative join-the-dots cycling guide books, although they'd be lucky to find a writer of Crane's calibre.
1984. OUT OF PRINT. ISBN 0 330 28547 5
Joe Kurmaskie - Metal Cowboy: Tales from the Road Less Pedalled
Various places - US, Australia, NZ, Mexico.
1999. ISBN 0 609 80911 3
Roff Smith - Cold Beer and Crocodiles
Round Australia
2000. ISBN: 0792279522
Willie Weir - Spokesongs
India, South Africa, Balkan Europe
2000. ISBN: 1891369172
Stamboulis, Dave - Odysseus' Last Stand : The Chronicles of a Bicycle Nomad
Round the world
Self Published. September 2005. ISBN: 0976013452
Kurmaskie, Joe - Riding Outside the Lines: International Incidents and Other Misadventures With the Metal Cowboy
2003. ISBN: 1400047986
Enfield, Edward - Downhill all the way
1995. Reprinted 2007. ISBN: 1840245603
Zamek, Scott - One more horizon: Ohio to Hong Kong the long way
Round the world
2003. ISBN 0 9746416 0 X
Malusa, Jim - Into Thick Air: Biking to the Bellybutton of Six Continents
Botanist Jim Malusa cycles to the lowest point on six continents. Australia, Egypt, Israel, Jordon, Russia, Chile, Argentina, Djibouti and the U.S.
2008. ISBN-13: 978-1578051410
Humphreys, Alastair - Thunder & Sunshine
Round the World part 2 (Moods of Future Joys is part 1).
South America, North America, Russia, China, Europe.
June 2008. ISBN: 978-1903070543
Hakim, Adi B. / Bhumgara, Rustom B. / Bapasola, Al P. - With Cyclists Around the World
Three Indian men from the Bombay Weightlifting Club cycle around the world over four and a half years, starting in 1923. First published 1928. Very insightful.
2008. ISBN 9788174366184
Guise, Richard - From the Mull to the Cape: A Gentle Bike Ride on the Edge of Wilderness
2008. ISBN: 978-1840246742

Polly Evans - It's Not About the Tapas
2003. ISBN 0 553 81556 3
Polly Benge - Tea for two...with no cups
Nepal & India
2000. ISBN 0 9530575 9 3
Josie Dew - Travels in a strange state
1994. ISBN 0 7515 0575 7
Josie Dew - The sun in my eyes
Japan re-visited.
2001. ISBN 0 316 85362 3
Dew, Josie - Long cloud ride
New Zealand
2007. ISBN: 1847440143
Rory Spowers - Three men on a bike
Africa - on the 3 seater used by 'The Goodies' in their '70s TV show.
1995. ISBN 0 86241 542 X
Travis, Cindie and Tim - Down the Road in South America
Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina and Chile.
A better written and much more tightly edited book that their first. These guys are still on the road and buying their books helps keep them on the go. So why not buy direct from them and keep 'em happy. Their books are available in paper, pdf and audiobook formats.
Self published. 2008. ISBN-13: 978-0975442739
Tom Vernon - Fat man on a bicycle
1981. OUT OF PRINT. ISBN 0 7181 2072 8
Anne Mustoe - Lone traveller
Round the World.
1998. ISBN 0 7535 0426 X
Anne Mustoe - Two wheels in the dust
Nepal, India and Sri Lanka.
2001. ISBN 0 7535 0671 8
Natascha Scott-Stokes - The amber trail
Eastern Europe.
1993. ISBN 1 85799 049 8
Brian Hall - Stealing from a deep place
Eastern Europe.
1988. ISBN 0 7493 9023 9
Brian Newhouse - A crossing
1998. ISBN 0 671 56898 1
Tom Fremantle - Johnny Ginger's last ride
England to Australia.
2000. ISBN 0 333 37692 6
JD Holzhauer - West from Montevideo
1989. OUT OF PRINT. ISBN 0 304 31752 7
Bettina Selby - Riding north one summer
1990. ISBN 0 7011 3416 X
Nick Sanders - The Great Bike Ride - Around the world in 80 Days
Round The World.
1988. OUT OF PRINT. ISBN 1 85253 228 9
Giles Whittell - Lambada country
Eastern Europe.
1992. OUT OF PRINT. ISBN 1 85799 003 X
Tim Cope & Chris Hatherly - Off the rails
Russia, Siberia, Mongolia and China on recumbents.
2003. ISBN 0 670 04046 0.
Richard and Nicholas Crane - Journey to the Centre of the Earth
Asia - Bangladesh to the centre of the Gobi desert
1987. ISBN: 0593012917
Richard and Nicholas Crane - Bicycles Up Kilimanjaro
1987. OUT OF PRINT. ISBN: 0946609497
Andrew Bain - Headwinds
Round Australia
2003. ISBN 1 74066 092 7
Australian publication; search for it here:, or
Russell McGilton - Yakety Yak
Asia - India, Pakistan, Nepal & China
2004. ISBN: 0143002473
Australian publication; search for it here:, or
Michael McGirr - Bypass, the story of a road
Sydney to Melbourne along the Hume Highway. An interesting account of the history of the road and people met along the way. Yes, the author is aware that the Hume, Australia's major highway is not the best place for a tour. But McGirr is an entertaining writer.
2004. ISBN: 0-330-36493-6
Australian publication; search for it here:, or
Edward Enfield - Greece on My Wheels
2003. ISBN 1 84024 280 9
Anne Mustoe - Cleopatra's Needle
Two Wheels by the Water to Cairo
2003. ISBN 0 7535 0813 3
Stevie Smith - Pedalling to Hawaii
Europe, USA, the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans (in a pedal powered boat)
2005. ISBN: 1 84024 446 1
Mulliner, Tim - Long Ride for a Pie
England to New Zealand.
2006. ISBN 1 86966 135 4
New Zealand publication; search for it here:,, or
Meecham, Eleanor - Llamas & Empanadas
South America - Argentina, Chile and Bolivia
2007. ISBN: 978-0-14-300640-4
New Zealand publication; search for it here:,, or
Anderson, Neil - The Lead Goat Veered Off
Self Published. 2000 (2nd edition 2004) ISBN: 0 9686740 2 X
Anderson, Neil - Partners in Grime
Across Canada
2005. ISBN: 0968674011
Humphreys, Alastair - Moods of Future Joys
Africa, top to bottom.
Self Published. 2006. ISBN: 1897312229
Leeming, Kate - Out there and back
25,000km in the Australian outback.
2007. ISBN 978192089246
Australian publication. Try or order from the expedition's website -

Lynette Chiang - The handsomest man in Cuba
2003. ISBN 1 86325 416 1
Australian publication; find it here:, or
Dervla Murphy - The Ukimwi Road
Kenya to Zimbabwe.
1993. ISBN 0 00 654802 4
Dervla Murphy - Transylvania & Beyond
1992. ISBN 0 09 920601 3
Dervla Murphy - South from Limpopo
South Africa.
1997. ISBN 0 00 655105 X
Bettina Selby - Pilgrims Road
Northern Spain.
1994. ISBN 0 349 10594 4
Bettina Selby - Beyond Ararat
Eastern Turkey.
1993. ISBN 0 349 10508 1
Bettina Selby - Riding the Desert Trail
North Africa to the source of the Nile.
1989. ISBN 0 349 10121 3
Christopher Hough - A pedaller to Peking
England to China.
1986. OUT OF PRINT. ISBN 0 7472 3111 7
Keith Dunstan - Confessions of a bicycle nut
Australia, USA, China and Aus cycling history all mixed together.
1999. ISBN 1 86350 252 1
Australian publication; find it here:, or
Mark Llewellyn - Riders to the midnight sun
Sevastapol to Murmansk.
2000. ISBN 1 86436 641 9
Anne Mustoe - Amber, Furs And Cockleshells: travels with Pilgrims and Merchants
The Amber Route (Trans Europe), the Santa Fe Trail (USA) and the Pilgrim Way to Santiago de Compostela (Spain).
2005. ISBN: 0753509830
Mary Elsy - Pedals and Petticoats
Four young women on a grand tour in post WWII Europe
2005 ISBN: 1 84024 439 9
Thomas, Mickey - You Can't Ride a Bike to Alaska. It's an Island!
North America
2005. ISBN: 059537350X
Self published. Downloadable e-book version also available.
Travis, Tim - The Road That Has No End, How we traded our ordinary lives for a global bicycle touring adventure.
North America and Central America. The authors are still on the road and their other published titles cover South America and South East Asia. In the meantime you can follow their adventures on their website.
Self published. 2004. ISBN 0975442708
Enfield, Edward - Freewheeling Through Ireland: Travels with My Bicycle
2006. ISBN: 1840245085
Edwards, Hazel & Trevelyan Quest - Cycling Solo, Ireland to Istanbul
Europe - As transcribed from Trevelyan's blog (now taken down but still cached by google). A nice and funny turn of phrase at times but basically it reads exactly like his blog, typos, clipped sentences, references to his readers and all.
2006. ISBN 1 920785 92 2
Australian publication; search for it here:, or
Kevill-Davies, Tom - The Hungry Cyclist: Pedalling the Americas in Search of the Perfect Meal
North, Central and South America including Colombia and Brazil.
2009. ISBN-13: 978-0007278848

Pamela Watson - Esprit de Battuta
Africa with way, way, way too many references to homesickness for a travel book. 1999. ISBN 1 86498 065 6
Find it here:, or
Eric Newby - Round Ireland in low gear
The only cycling travelogue I've not managed to read to its end. Just too bogged down in low gear and dull historical fact.
1987. ISBN 0 330 30490 9
Barbara Savage - Miles from Nowhere
Round The World - Thought this was an awful read, although I've met people who said this book started them in cycle touring - and it has been in print for over 25 years, so a lot of people really like it I guess.
1983. ISBN 0 89886 109 8
John Hanson Mitchell - Following the Sun
Europe - A Bicycle Pilgrimage from Andalusia to the Hebrides. Odd, disjointed, very old fashioned travelogue with many tired historical discourses on sun worship.
2002. ISBN: 1582431361
Sally Vantress - Seeing Myself Seeing the World
A Woman's Journey Around the World. Can't fault the author on her effort and journey but the writing is too prone to sickly sweetness, navel gazing and new age waffle for me.
1991. ISBN: 1880101076
Mustoe, Anne - Che Guevara and the Mountain of Silver
Chile, Argentina and Bolivia
This is a fine travelogue. However it isn't a cycling travelogue despite the subtitle ("By bicycle and train through South America") and the Anne Mustoe logo - the author and bike in silhouette - on the front cover. All of the riding is over before the book is 1/3 done and what little cycling takes place in the first third is unfortunately usually prefixed with a guilty excuse as to why it didn't happen - It was raining so we caught the bus, it was windy so we caught the bus, it was too far so we caught the bus, we were running out of time so we caught the bus etc. What a pity, I only bought the book because I so enjoy the authors other tales from the saddle.
2007. ISBN 978 0 7535 1274 6

All text and images copyright Syd Winer 2003 - 2010