4 out of 4 stars
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Many of us have pondered what would have become of the road not taken. But sometimes, we take one path, and it shapes the rest of our lives. In The Road Taken: The Remarkable Story of a Transcontinental Bicycle Odyssey by Bryan Simmons, Stig Regli, and Bill Jackson, the authors reflect on their odyssey, a US cross-country bicycle trip they took together.
Four friends (Bryan Simmons, Bill Jackson, Hal Hemme, and Vaughn Lamb), all attending Duke University, decided that, after graduation, they would embark on a life-changing cycling trip around the US. By happenstance, another Duke student, Stig Regli, who had been contemplating such a trip, heard of their plans and decided to join them. Starting the trip properly on the 15th day of May 1972, the five cyclists, without any advanced tools like GPS or cellphones, would face many trials and unexpected adventures, despite their detailed planning.
I love reading about adventures, and this book is no different. There are entries by Bryan Simmons and Stig Regli only. But the writers used Bill Jackson’s journal to supplement their memories. I enjoyed that the book was easy to read. Both Bryan and Stig made entries of different days, so readers get to read about each day in the authors’ adventure like a journal. It was marvelous that the authors managed to keep this book brief while adopting the journal style that they did.
Even though the book is a brief one of 157 pages, it is interesting and in-depth. The authors included pictures of themselves, menus, places, and people they met on the trip who showed them hospitality. The images made me even more engrossed in the book. I was able to connect to the authors, especially Stig, because they gave some personal information about themselves that made them more relatable. Readers will find it quite interesting to discover why the authors refer to their trip as an odyssey. My favorite part of the book is the end; the authors revealed how the trip affected their career paths. Stig’s revelation was more in-depth and interesting. I can say that this adventure has inspired me to go on my own.
However, the brief nature of this book also means that it could have been better with more details. I wished for more details about events that happened during the trip. I am sure that much more must have happened that the authors did not share. I will not deduct any stars for this because I still appreciated the brief, easy-to-read nature of the book. So my rating is 4 out of 4. I would love to see the authors’ adventures on this trip made into a movie. This book is perfect for lovers of adventure. Anyone who is planning a country bicycle trip will find this book helpful and insightful.
The Road Taken: the Remarkable Story of a Transcontinental Bicycle Odyssey
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