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This Road I Ride (A very short book review)

I decided as part of my own #StayingAtHome that I’d try to get some more reading done.

I picked up This Road I Ride: Sometimes It Takes Losing Everything to Find Yourself, a book I ordered after seeing it recommended by cyclists in various cycling Facebook groups of which I’m a member. Maybe it was Cyclists over 50? I can’t quite remember. Life these days feels a bit of a blur.

The book certainly tells an engaging story. It’s a story of Julianna Buhring, a woman who loses a loved one and sets out to set the women’s record for riding around the world on a bike. There are a few striking things about the book and Buhring’s story. It’s a gripping read. Lots of people talk about having read it all in on go and I can see that.

Buhring wasn’t a cyclist when she started to train for the journey on her hybrid commuting bike and she only started riding a real road bike just 10 days before she left. She wasn’t an athlete in the sense of having a sports/fitness background and yet she managed to ride 18,000 miles in 152 days. Even as she’s riding across various countries she still doesn’t sound like someone who is a member of the cycling community.

Instead the community that supports her trip–with subsistence needs like food and shelter and emotional support–are other former members of the cult in which Buhring grew up. She connects with them all over the world.

I talked about this book and the Joy of Movement which we are group reviewing here on the blog at a meeting of an International Silent Reading Book Club organized by fellow cyclist and blogger Todd Tyrtle. You can read about that here.

Now I want to read more about Buhring’s childhood in the Children of God cult. That book is called Not Without My Sister: The True Story of Three Girls Violated and Betrayed by Those They Trusted.

My review is pretty short:

You can read more in this review from Kirkuk Reviews here:

“When Buhring (co-author: Not Without My Sister: The True Story of Three Girls Violated and Betrayed, 2007) met adventurer Hendri Coetzee, she was working as a “quasi-missionary” for the Children of God in Kampala, Uganda. The two were immediately and powerfully attracted to one another, and for the next several years, they maintained an intense connection despite the distance that separated them. In 2010, just as Buhring (now an ex–cult member) was nearing her 30th birthday, Hendri was killed on an African kayaking expedition. More grief-stricken than she had ever been in her life, the author realized she needed to do something to save herself “or be swallowed up by the profound melancholy I was drowning in.” So she set herself a goal: to travel around the world by bicycle. She had no training and no sponsorship, yet within a year and a half, she gained both. Leaving her home in Naples, Italy, Buhring began her journey in the United States. Traveling against fierce headwinds, she cycled between Boston and Seattle, averaging 175 miles per day. After losing her way in New Zealand, she was forced to traverse—without a map or functioning GPS—through icy, mountainous terrain. She crossed the deserts of Australia and then made her way through Malaysia, Thailand, India, Turkey, and finally Italy. Hunger, illness, and the threat of equipment failure dogged her, as did moments of doubt and fear. As grueling as the journey was, however, ex–cult friends and strangers she called her “road angels” gave her the journey-affirming aid she needed. Buhring’s book is a testament to the human will to overcome and survive as well as a moving portrait of a woman on a deeply personal quest to define the meaning of her life.A searching, engaging memoir from an author who “can be at home no matter where…in the world.”

5 thoughts on “This Road I Ride (A very short book review)

  1. Ooooh, this sounds intriguing! My one question is: how cult-ish is it? The people she connects with are *former* members of the cult, but is there still a connection or are they mostly united in their disapproval of the cult (there must be a reason they all left)?

      1. Excellent – on the reading list it goes! (I was a bit worried about it being a bit too… “spiritual”? for my liking)

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