The Cyclist Who Went Out in the Cold Summary and Reviews

The Cyclist Who Went Out in the Cold

Adventures Riding the Iron Curtain

by Tim Moore

The Cyclist Who Went Out in the Cold by Tim Moore
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  • Published in USA  Jan 2017
    368 pages
    Genre: Biographies & Memoirs

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Book Summary

Tim Moore and a rickety metal steed are back together - riding the entirety of the Iron Curtain, where history, mechanical failures, physical endurance, and humor come together for "the Bill Bryson on two wheels."

Not content with tackling the Italian Alps or the route of the Tour de France, Tim Moore sets out to scale a new peak of rash over-ambition: 6,000 mile route of the old Iron Curtain on a tiny-wheeled, two-geared East German shopping bike.

Asking for trouble and getting it, Moore sets off from the northernmost Norwegian-Russian border at the Arctic winter's brutal height, bullying his plucky MIFA 900 through the endless sub-zero desolation of snowbound Finland. Sleeping in bank vaults, imperial palaces and unreconstructed Soviet youth hostels, battling vodka-breathed Russian hostility, Romanian landslides and a diet of dumplings, Moore and his 'so-small bicycle' are sustained by the kindness of reindeer farmers and Serbian rock gods, plus a shameful addiction to Magic Man energy drink. 

Haunted throughout by the border detritus of watchtowers and rusted razor wire, Moore reflects on the curdling of the Communist dream, and the memories of a Cold War generation reared on the fear of apocalypse - at a time of renewed East-West tension. After three months, twenty countries and a fifty-eight degree jaunt up the thermostat, man and bike finally wobble up to a Black Sea beach in Bulgaria, older and wiser, but mainly older.

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Media Reviews

"Moore offers a smattering of history - World War II and the Soviet era - in this engaging, elucidating narrative, though some American readers may tire of the spasmodic writing and relentless Briticisms. An enjoyable account of an amazing human accomplishment." - Kirkus

The deepest insights come between entering Russia's doorstep after an eternal trip through frozen Finland and unexpectedly seeing the first trickle of Syrian refugees at the Serbo-Hungarian border. Moore also gives readers inviting glimpses of pivotal Cold War sites such as Gdansk, Poland; Berlin; and Sopron, Hungary. After Serbia, man and bike limp to the Black Sea finish line in this bittersweet memoir." - Publishers Weekly

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Tim Moore's writing has appeared in the Daily Telegraph, the Observer, The Sunday Times and Esquire. He is the author of French Revolutions and Gironimo! in addition to four other books. He lives in London.

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