Such a lovely review…thanks so much Robert

5.0 out of 5 stars There is something very touching about this book, June 29, 2012
By
Robert C. Ross (New Jersey)
This review is from: Changing Gear: A Bike Ride from Britain to Bulgaria (Kindle Edition)

Ok, I’ll admit two things up front: I like books about families and how they deal with challenges and grief, and I am addicted to books written by travelers. It may seem odd to cycle 2,000 miles in 49 days across eight countries in order to deal with your grief over a son dead all too soon. But not to this couple, and after reading Eileen Sutherland’s account of their trip, not to me either.

A very important part of the book is how well this couple knew each other, how they take care of each other, how well they share the joys of the journey, and as someone mourning my wife of 40+ years, how well they handle their grief.

Read this section, and see if you see what I see:

‘Al, do you know where the map is?’

`I’m not going to get maps out at this time of night Eil,’ he muttered through toothpaste foam.

`Is there a time lock on maps then? Can we only look at them at certain times of day?’ I said,
warming to my theme. `Could be tricky if we’re lost at a time when we’re not allowed to open them.’

`That’s enough’, he said, `there’s no need to take the mick. I’m just saying it’s late, we’ve got a full
day’s cycling ahead of us tomorrow and we’ll make ourselves tired by looking at maps at this
stage.’

I grinned at him. Al’s great skill is sounding reasonable when he’s prevaricating and I’m familiar
with the technique.

As a last ditch attempt I said, `You do know where we’re going don’t you?’

He smiled across at me, `Ah the old tracking instincts,’ he said getting into bed, `they’ve never
let me down yet.’

Then he kissed me and turned over, taking the duvet with him.

Gosh, that seems so real to me. My wife always wanted to have a map to consult, but couldn’t read any of them worth a darn. I love maps, but greatly prefer to follow my nose — and am almost never lost. And we were very, very happy together for many years.

Al and Eil are too, despite the loss of their son. Heart warming, inspiring, tragic, all of that and more. I hope Eil will write a sequel about their further attempts to build a new life.

Robert C. Ross
June 2012

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2 thoughts on “Such a lovely review…thanks so much Robert

  1. Hi, Eilleen (I sent you a comment earlier). I’ve bought the Kindle version of the book, but there appears to be something wrong with the formatting (at least the one from Amazon.co.uk). The text comes through as a very narrow column in the middle and doesn’t fill the screen. Can you help? John

    • sixtyonabike

      Hi Both,
      Of course I remember you and the lovely day we had a your house. Thanks for buying my book, I’m afraid I don’t know why the formatting is so weird, it’s the first time I’ve had a comment like that. Coul dit be that your kindle is set in a certain way? I’ll take a look at the original text I submitted and will get back to you if I discover what the prob is. Meanwhile your bike ride sounds exciting. I’d recommend buying the ‘Bikeline’ books for countries such as Germany and Austria especially if you’re thinking of camping as the sites are all marked on the cycle routes and they’re mostly still open! However my info is based on almost 8 years ago now so things may have changed. I found Serbia the best country to cycle through not because of the facilities (there were very few) or the campsite – we found none and stayed in small hotels but culturally it was so interesting and although the terrain was tricky at times especially in the north east where you go through to Bulgaria at Vidin, it was spectacular. I hope you have a great time. Let me know when you’re going to start so I can follow your blog etc. Are you still living in Bulgaria?

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