Book review: Good Vibrations: Crossing Europe on a Bike Called Reggie

Last night, I finished reading the Kindle edition of “Good Vibrations: Crossing Europe on a Bike Called Reggie”.  It’s written by a fellow who, inspired by the Tour de France, decided he’d ride his bike from his hometown in England, to the bottom of Italy.

I really enjoyed his writing style.  It’s laid-back and relaxed, much as I imagine the author to be.  The author, Andrew P. Sykes, seems to be a bit of a free-wheeler (heh, bike humour there).  For all his planning, route research and map-checking, in the end, he just kind of followed his nose and made his way to his destination.  It was this sort of obligation-free travel style that I found inspiring.  I don’t plan to ride from England to Italy anytime soon, but it made me want to load my bike up and go for a long ride.

I enjoyed reading Andrew’s story, but I felt the text could’ve used a spell check and the discerning eye of an editor.  Andrew is a languages teacher, so confusing the word “barren” for “baron” repeatedly is something that should never have made it past the second draft.  There were other similar spelling errors and some grammatical errors that detracted from the pleasure of reading his story.  Andrew’s descriptions of some of the landscapes, views, sights etc could’ve been augmented by photos.  Every time he described some beautiful vista, I found myself hoping the next page would contain a photograph.

That said, it was a pleasure to read.  The story-telling was great and the material was inspiring.  I’d recommend this book to anyone interesting in cycle touring.

*** Edit *** Since I wrote this book review, a few things have happened.  First, Andrew actually got in touch with me (see his comments in the comments section).  This is something I honestly did not expect, and I think it says something that he cares enough about the book and its readers to take the time to write to me here.  Second, the site’s been getting a heap of hits from people searching for the text “Good Vibrations: Crossing Europe on a Bike Called Reggie”.  I can only assume they’re looking for reviews.  If I can summarise my entire review into two sentences, it would be this:  Buy this book.  You won’t regret it.  Finally, in his comments, Andrew mentions his web site (http://cyclingeurope.org/).  Once you’re done reading my blog, please take the time to visit his site.  It’s very informative.  🙂

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About Max

I'm an IT nerd who spends much less time on my bike than I'd like. I'm planning a big cycle tour for when I get long service leave (2013). Until then, I keep plodding along at my job and get on my bike when I can. Did I mention I love riding my bike?

Posted on 15/10/2011, in Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Hi Maxxi
    Andrew here – the author of the book. I also saw your comments on the bike forum that we had both contributed to but was unable to reply as I hadn’t posted 50 comments. So I am glad that I have found your web page.
    Thanks for the positive review; I’m delighted that you enjoyed the book but I do apologise for the errors in the text. I checked the text very carefully before it was uploaded to Kindle but there was much that I didn’t spot. Fortunetly, Marcello, the chap I stayed with in Rome read a hard copy of the book and made me a list of necessary corrections. The updated version of the book has now been uploaded to Kindle but obviously that is too late for you. Apologies.
    I have taken on board your comments about the pictures. I have now included some pictures in the text for future readers. If you want to see them, you can do so on the blog page of my website http://cyclingeurope.org
    I’m intrigued by your long cycle tour planned for 2013 . Where are you going? Would love to know.
    Anyway, thanks for taking the time to read the book. Please tell your Aussie friends that it is now, hopefully, the epitome of grammatical perfection 🙂
    Cheers
    Andrew
    apsykes@hotmail.com
    http://cyclingeurope.org

  2. Hey Andrew, nice of you to drop by 🙂 I can now say that my blog has been visited by someone famous! 😀

    I saw your response on Amazon and I’m sorry I haven’t yet responded to it. It’s unfortunate that the Kindle edition I purchased is not up to date. To me, it would seem that Amazon could easily notify people that their purchased Kindle books have been updated, and offer the updated version as a download (a la the app store update section). It would make sense to offer that as a free service where the updates pertain to things like spelling and grammatical errors (rather than substantial changes in content, which would be considered a new edition of the book rather than corrections). I can see why Amazon would not want to offer 2nd, 3rd etc editions as free updates. But that would be easy enough to police, I would think! Grammar and spelling aside, I’ve been raving about your book to anyone who will listen 🙂

    We are planning a Giro Tasmania, which is a 3-4 week trip around Tassie (http://www.biketas.org.au/organise-rides/descriptions/giro-tasmania). We have done supported tours in the past (ie where others carry all our stuff and we don’t have to worry about cooking etc), but never something on our own.

    Our immediate plan is to start doing short tours. Overnighters, or long weekends. The sort of thing that will let us experience the concept of touring and give us an opportunity to appreciate some of the things we will need to prepare for e.g. carrying a tent, sleeping bag, food, cooking gear, camp hygiene etc. Once we’re comfortable with short tours, we’ll get ourselves dedicated touring bikes and set off on week-long tours. By the time 2013 comes around (that’s when I’ll have long service leave), we’ll be fully prepared for Tasmania! Or at least as prepared as people from the tropics can be for a soujourn in the southernmost part of our country!

    I will check out your web page. I’m dying to see those photos!

    Max

  3. Hi Max
    Sounds like your doing a sterling job being my chief marketing manager in Australia; keep up the good work! I too am frustrated by not being able to get hold of an updated version of the book on my iPad; I was searching the Internet earlier today to see if it was possible and there was a suggestion that it was but I couldn’t for the life in me fathom out how to do it. Some people noted how they had even resorted to deleting a book and buying it again but when they did re-purchase it, they could only download the original version they had first paid for. Arghhh! I spent quite some time last night arranging for print versions of the book to be available via a site called http://www.completelynovel.com . Not sure if it works in Australia though…
    Your plans for Tasmania sound very exciting. I’ve never been to Australia but imagine it to be a continent of big, wide landscapes. In fact there was a wonderful picture this morning in one of the papers taken at Hanging Rock. Spectacular and just a bit scary!!
    Good luck with all your plans & say hello to Brenda & Phil if you bump into them (Her Maj that is)
    Cheers
    ‘Famous’ Andrew

  4. Just read your edit. Thanks for that. I think I may be quoting your words at http://CyclingEurope.org 🙂 It’s perhaps worth pointing out that the book now has its own Facebook page – search for Good Vibrations: Crossing Europe on a Bike Called Reggie in Facebook and you’ll find it very easily. I have uploaded all of the pictures from the trip to Facebook for anyone who is interested to see them. If you feel so inclined, you can also ‘like’ the page!
    Best wishes & continued happy cycling in the sun of Oz. it’s freezing at the moment here in the UK. 😦
    Andrew

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