The Big Bike Trip - Reviewed by Ayla Akin | Regional News Connecting Wellington

The Big Bike Trip

Written by: Freddie Gillies

Penguin Random House

Reviewed by: Ayla Akin

The Big Bike Trip is based on the true story of four kiwis who cycled from New Zealand to London: author Freddie Gillies, Arthur, Sean, and Timmy. My hatred for bikes has always been a topic of amusement amongst my friends. However, I love adventure and travel, so I was very excited to read this book!

Freddie starts off by setting the scene for the extensive mental and physical preparation that was needed and quicky delves into the adventure. For the first few chapters I found myself commenting my thoughts out loud to my husband; “It’s so frustrating they are not enjoying themselves, they are missing their partners!” Arthur and Sean leave behind their girlfriends and are devastated. Why did they not plan to meet their girlfriends somewhere on the trip? Or why didn’t their girlfriends go with them? I didn’t understand what the drama was and none of this was made clear. However, this gave the reader a deep understanding of Freddie. He showed incredible resilience and empathy. Clearly something I would lack in that situation!

By the time the boys arrive in Malaysia they are well in their stride and begin to enjoy themselves. The theme of friendship takes heart and centre as they support each other through every challenge imaginable. The most relatable of all being falling ill from something they ate. The boys seemed to be playing Russian roulette with their guts every day, dropping like flies with regular trips to the hospital. Despite their sickness and exhaustion, they managed to keep trucking along and their determination just blew my mind!

Our home lives are often automated and predictable. Travelling is one of those rare moments in life where you are forced to abandon hygiene protocols, try different foods, and put your trust in total strangers. I have been longing for that sense of freedom and adventure again, so it was incredibly satisfying to read Freddie’s beautifully written personal experience, the kind that changed something within him forever.

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