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Life Cycles ❰Reading❯ ➶ Life Cycles Author Julian Sayarer – Julian Sayarer grew up riding a bicycle and worked as a bike courier in London When the world record for a circumnavigation by bike is broken—the biker riding in conjunction with banks and big busin Julian Sayarer grew up riding a bicycle and worked as a bike courier in London When the world record for a circumnavigation by bike is broken—the biker riding in conjunction with banks and big business—Julian sets out to take it back This is his story of that record riding miles a day for six months on only £ a day through jungles snow and twenty different countries He finds himself stranded without money in the deserts of Kazakhstan bitten by a dog in North Carolina and sleeping under motorway bridges in China Taken by life on the road and a spirit of adventure he loves every minute of it A tale of excitement and world politics by bicycle travelling at mph Julian finds that the Tartars of Central Asia aren’t so different to the trailer families of Louisiana This book is a reminder that the world is out there and it’s waiting for us.

10 thoughts on “Life Cycles

  1. Paul Paul says:

    Sayarer has been a bike nut all his life from riding from a very young age to being a bike courier in London; a tough and relentless job Having just seen the world record beaten for the cycling around the world but with the cyclist sponsored by leading banks and corporations he decides that this record belongs back with the true cyclistsOn a minimal budget of £8 a day and with the intention of riding a minimum of 110 miles every single day to get back the record he has set himself a daunting target Starting in France his route takes him across France and Europe into Turkey and then Asia through the vast country of Kazakstan Through China and Thailand A brief sojourn through New Zealand and then America After that he is back into Europe and only has to cycle across Spain and back to Rouen his starting pointSimpleExcept it isn't It is hard relentless and you have to be physically and mentally tough Sayarer is that type of guy and he makes this epic journey with good spirit The people that he meets are generous welcoming and warm I think he helps as he is an engaging character and the characters that he meets respect him for his challengeWell worth reading for those that love cycling and travel books 35 Stars

  2. Tom Allen Tom Allen says:

    Julian Sayarer is probably better remembered for the utterly epic post trip rant he published on his blog than for the feat of athleticism he’d achieved during the previous 169 days of ridingHis words preserved online since their publication in 2009 were those of a man who — exposed and vulnerable and at 12 miles per hour — had just spent half a year experiencing a vast cross section of global society arrived back in London and perceived in a moment of clarity the sheer insanity of mainstream Western societyLooking for a way to make sense of it he’d lashed out publicly at the previous record holder who’d taken the big corporate sponsorship route to funding his own endeavour and thus represented all that Sayarer saw wrong with the developed world todayThe problem of course was that the insanity he’d perceived was one that only he had eyes to see having earned a perspective almost impossible to gain in any other way than by doing what he’d done This together with the demonisation of the sponsored record breaking rider in uestion earned him infamy which doubtless lingers today as well as the informal moniker of ‘Angry Young Man’ Life Cycles begins by acknowledging that while it may have been a slightly rash decision to hit the ‘Publish’ button on the aforementioned article before sleeping on it there were a great many reasons why things looked that way at the end of the roadWe begin by learning of Julian’s background and upbringing his deep love for cycling as an escape from the demands of social integration and his self identification as a uestioner and misfit in a society that seemed blindly off course We learn of the part the aforementioned record breaker played in igniting Julian’s reactionary streakit was the final straw to see the bicycle reduced to no than a corporate marketing strategyAnd how this spark combined with the author’s being at a disillusioned loose end in his mid twenties set off what would be a self fulfilling prophecy for his journeyI was in need of a crusade and however ridiculous it might sound a small embarassing part of me thought that in beating him perhaps I could change the world for the better I suppose at the very least it was a worthwhile uest in which to failIt seems perhaps that the beginnings of the infamous rant were in place before the wheels began to turn So it will come as a relief to many that Julian’s departure from home also marks a departure from anti capitalist sentiment – at least for most of the time – as he reveals himself as a supremely talented wordsmith weaving an exceptionally succint and poetic tale of the events you’d expect from a long bicycle journey which in other hands would fall flat Don’t expect a formulaic tale of hardship after hardship overcome; do expect sparkling vignettes of life observed as it passes him by interspersed with the reflections of a thoughtful idealist who thankfully manages to poke fun at his own indignancy as in this scene in a brand new Hungarian hypermarketGiving up on bread I make my way to a delicatessen selling pizza and hotdogs I point at pizza ‘Ketchup chilli muzterd méjonez?’ she yells Above her head are four large teats sueezed by her gloved hand Down splatter sauces Shuffling on I move to another window with chicken legs at a price that guarantees those birds have not led happy lives I gobble down pizza lukewarm chicken flesh She gave me too much méjonez but all calories are valuable so I dip chicken bones into surplus méjonez scoop up a good globule and lick the bone clean a lollipop of hydrogenated fat And it’s that it’s méjonez licked from cheap chicken bones that’s progress that’s the future right there at a French multinational in central HungaryThis incisive and critical eye of course is the one that made his original blog such a refreshing and worthwhile read in a blogosphere swamped with dry diary entry style travelogs about people toddling around the world collecting consumable commodified experiences Some will inevitably rile against his tone his focus and his views; others will be right there with him wishing they’d both the gall and elouence to express themselves likewiseThroughout the story runs an undercurrent of disconnection of frustration at the unbridgeable gulf between how the long haul cyclist perceives the world at large and how the world at large perceives the long haul cyclist Are the author’s views a beacon of clarity and realism in a world gone utterly mad or a collection of well articulated but ultimately abstract rantings in a world that’s getting on with it despite its various madnesses? Where does Life Cycles figure in its author’s uest to “change the world for the better”? How many traveller adventurer writers would put their hands up and say ‘actually Julian you’re damn well right’ if they had the bollocks to publicly do so?I happen to be in a position to see many things through Julian’s eyes because I’ve been to many of the same places literally and figuratively Others may not and I’d rather not speculate how his tale will read to them Regardless Julian’s uncompromising perspective is bound to stir things up again and his talent for writing will ensure that he will do so by means of a uniue and very worthwhile read

  3. Brendan Mcnamee Brendan Mcnamee says:

    Never before have I read a travelogue with such urgency The pace is fantastic but it's the detail and the people that Julian manages to cram into those 374 pages across 6 months of riding that weave such beauty They tumble through the prose as the miles tumble away on the blacktop The poetry he writes with and the tight moral compass throughout the tale as relentless as the road he rides on towards A truly remarkable achievement both sporting and literary I loved it I laughed I was touched and appalled by the humans across the planet but mostly touched A truly inspiring read You are left in no doubt by the end why he dedicates the book for all the strangers

  4. Mark Mark says:

    I've read uite a few books relating bicycle tour and travel Most of them are unsatisfying relating as they do the mechanics of physical travel by bicycle and precious little of the inner journey Fortunately Sayarer is differentIt starts with his I'm assuming honest appraisal of what motivated him to attempt the world record Let's just say it was about a belief in the wrongheadedness of the previous record holder's motivationSayarer admits “ he the recent record holder he calls Kash d'Anthe caught me at a bad time I was desperately searching for some meaning back then crying to believe some things in this world remained precious a small embarrassing part of me thought that in beating him perhaps I could change the world for the better I suppose at the very least it was a worthwhile uest in which to fail”Sayarer did not fail despite the dubious nature of his motivation He not only achieved the numbers reuired to take the title but seems to have learned a great deal about himself and the world he sought to changeI'm not a fan of short stories and so was initially put off by his style This work is essentially a string of occasionally very short stories built out of the day after day segments of trip Fortunately over time these short story segments build a complete multifaceted whole reflecting his own personal changesMore than observations on the landscapes through which he passed Sayarer includes what must have been the most striking of his encounters with the people in that landscape The food the attempts to communicate his own exhaustion and that pesky read wheel all serve to build a rich and complex tapestry of his tripThere are a number of scenes in which Sayarer describing the generosity of those he met along the way nearly brought me to tears surely a sign of my own desire to see humanity in the best light At other times his humor shown through making me laugh His occasionally harsh self criticism was just painful enough to make me see him as a real human beingIn the end the record was the least of itHighly recommended if you enjoy tales of travel by bicycle

  5. Oliver McErlean Oliver McErlean says:


  6. David Thomas David Thomas says:

    Adventure cycling and the politics of travel I thoroughly enjoyed this book and highly recommend

  7. Mark Hil Mark Hil says:

    The writing is a little bit clunky and awkward at times and some of the observations Sayarer makes are a little bit suspect Incredible story though and I felt pretty empty when it finally ended

  8. Jim Jim says:

    When you set out to tour the world and write about it you have a choice do you follow the Bill Bryson school of poking gentle fun at odd foreigners while unearthing mountains of trivia about their country? Or do you take the Paul Theroux approach hating everything and everyone you meet until you find something you do like and hating yourself for doing so? Sixty pages into this and it was heading down the Theroux style without so much of the people hating Not many jokes though earnest thoughts about politics and economics interlaced with personal observations of the road and the effect it’s having mentally and physically on the traveller as he cycles the endless milesThe journey starts by crossing the channel to mainland Europe and almost suddenly we’re in Romania That was uick And then we’re heading into China with the Ukraine and Kazakhstan behind us in the dust My overall impression was that there was little else than dust on the road to Shanghai In China the dust comes from concrete construction and road building The author struggles to take it all in and the lack of human interaction due to the language barrier means that this part of the book is less engaging than it might have beenThe next big lump of the journey continues over in North America where I suspected I’d be reading some left wing polemic about the decline of the West and the embedded ignorance of fat happy and ignorant Americans What a tonic then to find the reverse The author is smitten by the ride from Seattle down to San Francisco and writes with such enthusiasm that I was tempted to book a flight and go and do it myself It was totally refreshing to read of a Brit who loves the Land of the The Free where all its many faults and fears are countered by the generosity and intelligence of many of the people he meets He heads to Mexico too and guess what he isn’t shot raped or beheaded as many warned he might be Mexico is just another country despite what the media would have you believeLike a lot of these travelogues the book hits hyperspeed as we near the end of the journey One minute you’re in North America a few pages later back in Spain France turn the page The End Was that it? Seemingly yes Very little reflection on what if anything was gained or achieved by the guy who made the journey But overall I was glad that he managed it and that he wrote this account of it too

  9. J J says:

    I bought this book after really enjoying Alaistair Humphreys' 'Thunder and Sunshine' a similar account of a man just grabbing his bike and riding around the world for the sake of it In that book Alaistair comes across as unassuming and open minded and though not a particularly brilliant writer his endless appetite for what lies around the next corner brings him into contact with many fascinating people insights and adventuresJulian Sayarer is different Firstly he is a great writer with an eye for the incisive metaphor and expressive lyrical prose Secondly he has a much political streak in him happy to use his experiences to invoke the injustices of prejudice nationalism and capitalismUnfortunately Sayarer's ride was an attempt to beat a world record and while this brings the book a sense of challenge and urgency it also brings a tragic sense of missed opportunities Major cities are passed through with only a mention of how uickly he did so many chance encounters and interesting tangents are cut short or avoided due to his rigid determination and a lot of the book is taken up with the numbers and logistics of his mileages with even Sayerer himself recognising the stupidity of making such a gigantic journey yet focusing so much upon the destinationThere are many great stories in this book and Sayerer's writing goes a long way towards evoking all the beauty he must have seen but by the halfway point I was hoping that he would forget the world record coast on the pedals a bit spend time with the people he met and maybe veer off his predestined route perhaps to Africa or South America which he doesn't go to at all What began as a passionate young man's embrace of humanity adventure and the world beyond uickly turns into a tale of self imposed hardship arbitrary struggles and physical endurance At one point Sayerer writes that his journey is 'all about the people' and while I'm sure he meant it it often seems like maybe his own stubborn sense of purpose compelled him to forget

  10. Claire Claire says:

    Julian Sayarer's epic cycle around the world is not to be underestimated he rode 180 days unsupported solo and on less than 10 euro a day As a read this was interesting and a good adventure He seems to enjoy writing about the US the most as it takes the lion's share of page turns His haste to consume 18000 miles on two wheels means that this is not a leisurely and exploratory read we only get glimpses and snapshots of cultures experiences and landscapes as he blasts through them in his hurry to circumnavigate the globe It's unfortunate I didn't get to learn about the places he zipped past as I would have liked to have known about them and their place in the world His human anecdotes were heartwarming and it was a pleasure to read about such kind soulsSayarer's style won't be to everyone's taste but I personally like poetic storytelling and he is clearly a talented writer However saying that this book is in desperate need of better editing His writing flip flops between present and past tense often from sentence to sentence there are endless ellipses and the odd typo throughout; this irritated me and detracted from the overall enjoyment of the read I would have really really liked a map included so I could see his route and journey as I worked my way through the book There is a selection of photos which give a good flavour of Sayarer's journey but a map would have been exactly the companion

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