my challenges

Monday, September 3, 2012

Riding with Reindeer

Riding With Reindeer: A Bicycle Odyssey Through Finland, Lapland, and Arctic Norway, by Robert M. Goldstein.

This was another book that I was not at all sure that I would be able to make it through when I picked it up at the local library.  I have not had all that much luck with travalogues in the past, after all.  This book, however, turned out to be a pleasant surprise.  Goldstein, a middle aged man with no real history of long-distance biking, took it into his head to travel the "flat" country of Finland by bike, some 2,000 miles worth of travel, often through quite desolate and barren country, all on his own, with no one to keep him company but his own thoughts.  Somehow, he managed to not only survive the journey, but almost to thrive.  To be sure, his trip was not without major ups and downs, but he handled them with surprising aplomb and good naturedness, and I ended up being able to relate to him in a way that I would not have expected.  I think it is probably the very lack of common sense about what he was attempting, together with his undying optimism and his lack of any real athletic background that did it for me.  It just sounds like something I'd do.... I've been known to take it into my head to do some pretty crazy things in my time, and I usually succeed, largely because it never occurs to me that I shouldn't succeed.  I highly recommend this book as an entertaining read, as well as a real, true-life adventure story.  4.0

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