FULL TILT: Ireland to India with a Bicycle

Publisher: Eland
Published: 2010
Format: Classic Paperback
ISBN: 978-1-906011-40-6
: £12.99
Extent: 256pp

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When Dervla Murphy was ten, she was given a bicycle and an atlas, and within days she was secretly planning a trip to India. At the age of thirty-one, in 1963, she finally set off and this book is based on the daily diary she kept while riding through Persia, Afghanistan and over the Himalayas to Pakistan and India.

A lone woman on a bicycle (with a revolver in her trouser pocket) was an almost unknown occurence and a focus of enormous interest wherever she went. Undaunted by snow in alarming quantites, and using her .25 pistol on starving wolves in Bulgaria and to scare lecherous Kurds in Persia, her resourcefulness and the blind eye she turned to personal danger and extreme discomfort were remarkable.

'Continuously entertaining … continuously astonishing.'  Sunday Telegraph

'She avoided wolves (animal and human), floods, robbery, had three ribs broken in a brawl in an Afghan bus; waded across an ice torrent, hugging a cow … suffered extremes of heat and cold, ate everything, liked almost everybody.'  Homes and Gardens

'Astonishing book.'  Daily Mirror

'Tremendously full of zest.'  Daily Telegraph

'This vivid journal … would have delighted Cervantes with its almost incredible surprises: a valley full of birds the size of butterflies and butterflies as big as robins; a village where the cattle eat apricots and the villagers eat clover … Somewhere between Kabul and Jalalabad, she thought she was dreaming when she awoke from a roadside nap to find that nomads had raised a tent over her to shield her from the sun.'  The New Yorker

'I don’t know when I’ve enjoyed the account of a journey more.  A great part of the enchantment of her book is that it is so good humoured and so funny.  I laughed … and learned a good deal … one follows her with pleasure … a brave, intelligent, rare and amusing human being.'  Margaret Lane

'A journey fraught with incalculable hardships and perils.  It is unexpected, but then everything Dervla Murphy does is unexpected…an enchantment that holds the reader as engrossed as would an exciting thriller.'  Irish Independent

'Ready wit, quickness on the draw and astonishing stamina ... a new view of the changing world.'  Times Literary Supplement

'Miss Murphy proves herself a true traveller … who engages sympathy from the start by her qualities of tact, charity and courage.'  The Spectator

'Warmly described, and with a lack of self-regard that immediately endears her to the reader.' Sunday Times

'Punctures, broken ribs, hornets and scorpions notwithstanding, it was a high old time between Miss Murphy and her Islamic hosts … her book is sensible, warm-hearted, unfinicky.' The Observer

'I am filled with admiration for her courage, resource, good nature and unselfconsciousness … the charm of spontaneity and the ring of absolute truth.' The Irish Times