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I’m not a biker, not in any athletic sense. I have a baby blue cruiser with a basket and a bell that I’ll ride around town but certainly not over mountains or through jungles.
But this list of books about long cycling trips will make you feel like you’re pedaling your way around the world with the writers.
I’ve mentioned before that I love books about long journeys around the world done in interesting ways, like biking, walking, running, swimming, kayaking, etc. Today is all about the bike journeys around the world (others are on their way.)
I had a hard time finding any list like this as I was looking for books but once I found one on Amazon, I found four more and the list just kept getting longer, right along with my wishlist and TBR.
I hope this list helps you find a long-distance biking book to take you on your own adventure around the world right from home.
- If you want to listen to some of these, consider trying Audible! You can get your first month free (one free book) plus tons of others they have for free. Get that Audible deal here.
- If you’re on more of a budget, try Scribd! You can get your first month free there. You can read books and listen to audiobooks. It is unlimited (especially the reading) but if you listen to tons of new audiobooks you may be restricted after a few. I don’t listen to enough to confirm this, but I do use Scribd myself and like it a lot. Sign up for Scribd here!
- Shop my collection of bookish goodies on Etsy! These aren’t my shop items, but other shops I’ve curated into a book-themed collection. Shop my Etsy bookish goodies here!
- If you want to read more on your Kindle but don’t want to buy books, Kindle Unlimited is a wonderful option. It’s $9.99 a month but if you read a lot and like to read more than just new releases, it could be worth it. Get Kindle Unlimited here!
- Get $5 off of $25 from BookOutlet! This is a great place to find new books for pretty cheap. They also have sales quite a bit, so keep an eye out for those. I tend to check here for books I want if they’re more expensive other places. They don’t have everything but they do have a lot. Shop BookOutlet here!
- Thrift Books has become my go-to when I’m looking for a book and want it cheap. It’s great if you like buying used books. With this you can get a free book after spending $30!
- Shop my book lists here! You can find every book list I have on Bookshop.org (except my monthly round-ups) and I add everything I can but they occasionally won’t have some. I do occasionally add extras though. If any lists are empty, they’ll be filled in shortly! Shop my bookshop.org book lists here.
Land of Lost Borders
Between studying at Oxford and MIT, Kate Harris and her friend Mel set off to experience the Silk Road by bicycle. This is a reflective, wry, and rapturous travel account that explores the nature of limits, weaving adventure, philosophy, science, and exploration.
Be Brave, Be Strong
Jill is a small-town Alaskan newspaper editor with a lofty goal: to compete in the 2,740-mile mountain bike race from Canada to Mexico along the rugged spine of the Rocky Mountains.
As she prepares for her journey, her fear becomes her fuel. A winter race in Alaska leaves her seriously frosbitten while her career is also on thin ice and her long-term relationship starts to crumble. She questions if the race still matters but senses the challenge carries deeper meaning.
Desert Snow: One Girl’s Take on Africa by Bike
This is the story of one girl, one bike, and 1,000 beers in Africa as she dares to follow her dream by cycling from England to Cape Town. Along the way she crossed the Sahara, the tropics of West Africa, paddled down the Niger River, hitchhiked to Timbuktu, and traversed the Congo.
I watched Long Way Down years ago and this sounds like an even better read in this women’s adventure book.
This time, Anna sets off with her friend Faye and limited Spanish on a six-month bicycle journey along the spine of the Andes Mountains starting in La Paz, Bolivia. They sleep in tents most nights and experience 50 mph crosswinds and catastrophic crashes on their 5,500-mile journey.
Riding the Desert Trail: By Bicycle to the Source of the Nile
On a wet and windy day at the British Museum, Bettina decided to travel the length of the Nile from the Mediterranean to its source. Armed with insect repellant, a sun hat, and a water filter, she designed a bright red ‘all-terrain’ bike for the 4,500-mile adventure.
Full Tilt: Ireland to India with a Bicycle
At ten, Dervla secretly started planning a bike trip to India and at 31 years old in 1963, she set off on that journey. This is based on her diary from her trip through Persia, Afghanistan, the Himalayas, Pakistan, and India. A woman alone on a bike was almost unheard of and she was of major interest almost everywhere she went.
This Road I Ride: Sometimes It Takes Losing Everything to Find Yourself
Juliana was in a dark hole of depression after a man she loved died. A friend suggested she bike across Canada in his memory and instead, she biked around the world. Alone.
With just eight months of preparation, no serious biking experience, and no sponsorship, she left Naples, Italy in July 2012 with the aim to become the first woman to circumnavigate the globe.
She crossed four continents and 18,060 miles, suffered breakdowns, food poisoning, hostile pursuers, and a longing for Italian espresso. On day 152, she crossed the finish line becoming the fastest woman to cycle the world, even beating prior men’s records.
Where the Pavement Ends: One Woman’s Bicycle Trip Through Mongolia, China, and Vietnam
I would love to read this one, because like Erika, Mongolia is my dream! With just a bicycle named Gene, she sets off on an eight-month, 8,000 km trek across the Mongolian Steppe, through China, and down Vietnam.
Along the way, she finds out travel is about flowing with unexpected adventures and invitations, not just seeing the sights.
Fifty Shades of the USA
This is the account of Anna’s adventure cycling through all 50 states, dodging floods, blizzards, and electrical storms, riding alongside wild mustangs, through Redwood forests, and over the Rocky Mountains.
I would love to read this one, too. Books about biking across the US always intrigue me.
Ipanema Turtles: A South American Adventure by Bike
Starting at Ipanema Beach in Rio de Janeiro, Laura and Patrick set off on a 21,000-kilometer bike ride across South America.
They experienced a side of the continent most people don’t see as they cross the Andes, the Amazon, and the Atacama. They traveled through Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana making their way back to the beach where it all began.
This is another one I got and can’t wait to read! It sounds like a fun book about cycling long distances.
The Fun Mover Chronicles: Biking the Northern Tier
Tim discovered the golden years aren’t as golden as he thought. After both of his parents passed, he realized his own clock was ticking, too. He knew he had to do something different so he moved a life-long goal of biking from one side of the US to the other right to the top of his bucket list.
This is his story of loss, overcoming obstacles, and reaching goals all with his sidekick, The Fun Mover.
Miles from Nowhere: A Round-the-World Bicycle Adventure
Barbara and Larry took two years to bike 23,000 miles through 25 countries where they were run off the road and faced wild animals, rock throwers, meteorological disasters, bodily indignities, and great personal joy. Their relationship is tested but strengthened along the way.
Through Sand & Snow: a man, a bicycle, and a 43,000-mile journey to adulthood via the ends of the Earth
At twenty-two, Charlie fled the boredom of England on the seat of a secondhand bicycle to pedal to the furthest points of Europe, Asia, and Africa.
Along the way, he learns to appreciate the little things in life as he traverses the Tibetan Plateau and the Southeast Asian Jungles.
I think I would also really like to read this one. I was going to say it sounds like a very impressive book about a long biking trip but lets be real, these all are.
On Roads That Echo: A bicycle journey through Asia and Africa
Charlie’s 2.5-year journey had him pedaling 18,000 miles from Britain to Beijing and 26,000 more through Central Asia, the Middle East, and Africa.
He made it through mountains and deserts, through remote jungles, and down rapids in a dugout canoe. We get insight into the past, present, and future of often-overlooked places during periods of great change.
I would also like to read this one very much.
The Buddha and the Bee: Biking through America’s Forgotten Roadways on a Journey of Discovery
Cory began his bike ride to Truckee, California from Chaska, Minnesota with no route, no timeline, and no proper equipment. Every fiber of his being is tested along the way and he gains more than technical skills.
With You By Bike: One Couple’s Life-Changing Journey Around the World
To mend their crumbling marriage, Katrina and Mike set off on a year-long, 13,000 km cycling journey. They ride the backcountry roads of New Zealand, share a picnic with a man and his wives in Malaysia, camp at an orphanage in Cambodia, and so much more.
Together, they repair 54 flat tires, navigate heat exhaustion and altitude sickness, and face two robberies and the hard climb to the world’s tallest mountain.
The Wind in my Wheels
Josie always wanted to travel but after she fell out of a fast-moving car, she developed a life-long aversion to them. Enter bicycles. The result of her travels is four continents, thirty-six countries, and eighty thousand miles of adventures that we get to read about here.
South Away: The Pacific Coast on Two Wheels
Meaghan and her sister are embarking on the adventure of a lifetime: biking from Vancouver, Canada almost to the tip of the Baja Peninsula. The battle dense forests, strange men, frigid deserts, monster trucks, and more. They also meet good people along the way who show the true kindness of strangers.
A Time of Birds: Reflections on Cycling Across Europe
Helen and her teenage son are cycling across Europe on The Tank. They see the Danube and the Rhine in spring, enjoying birdsong feeling like her father is at her side. Europe’s natural beauty soon begins to bring healing along with the kindness of people along the way.
One More Croissant for the Road
Felicity is a self-proclaimed croissant connoisseur and an actual food writer. She sets off on her own Tour de France, but it’s more of a Tour de French Food.
She’s on a mission to try the best foods from each region and as many croissants as possible. This is a humorous account of her 3,500 km biking journey and all it’s challenges. Oh, and don’t forget the lycra!
Cold Beer and Crocodiles: A Bicycle Journey into Australia
Here we have a book about a bike adventure in Australia, a place that doesn’t see much action like this (or at least not that I’ve found.)
These are experiences from nine months and 10,000-miles of Roff’s solo bike trip across Australia, offering a glimpse into the land down under. In the thousands of miles he traveled, he lost himself among cattle farms, Aboriginal communities, rainforests, and deserts before finding his new home.
Catfish and Mandala: A Two-Wheeled Voyage Through the Landscape and Memory of Vietnam
Andrew always dreamed of being a writer. He was born in Vietnam but raised in California where he always carried a resignation letter to work. This is the memoir of his search for his cultural identity as he cycles around the world from Mexico to Japan and Vietnam to the United States.
The Ukimwi Road: From Kenya to Zimbabwe
Almost thirty years after her expedition from Ireland to India, Dervla sets off on a 3,000-mile ride from Kenya to Zimbabwe. As she travels through Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi, and Zambia, she becomes preoccupied with the devastating effects of AIDS, drought, and economic collapse. It is not an area for travelers looking for tranquility but her thirst for adventure keeps her going.
I really need to read her books because they all sound so incredible.
Old Man on a Bicycle: A Ride Across America and How to Realize a More Enjoyable Old Age
Most of Don’s friends and family thought he was crazy for wanting to bike from New Hampshire to San Francisco. He was in his seventies, hadn’t been on a bike for years, and never for more than a few miles at a time but in May 2002, he headed west with the lure of crossing the Golden Gate Bridge keeping him pedaling.
Where There’s A Will
Emily is a London cycle courier with a taste for adventure. She enters the Transcontinental bike race where riders must make their way across Europe, unassisted, in the shortest time possible. She won the women’s event on her second attempt having cycled almost 4,000 miles in just 13 days and ten hours.
Her win both troubled and pleased her and she began working with Mike Hall, the founder of the race, until his tragic death on the road. This is the story of Emily finding the will to do something extraordinary combined with the shock of grief.
The Divide: A 2700 Mile Search For Answers
Just two miles into his trip along the 2,700-mile Continental Divide trail from Alberta to the US-Mexico border, the world’s longest bike route, Nathan was asking himself “what the hell am I doing?”
In The Divide, we get to experience frustration and elation, desert downpours and wildlife encounters alongside Nathan on the trail.
Have you read any of these bike adventure books? Which ones? Are there any other books about long bike trips I should check out?