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TraveLit--A blog about travel literature. 

     Even with the best of maps and instruments, we can never fully chart our journeys.

Book Review: Where the Pavement Ends

Where the Pavement Ends: One Woman’s Bicycle Trip Through Mongolia, China & Vietnam
By Erika Warmbrunn, The Mountaineers Books, 2001, 249 pp.

Why travel by bicycle? “Because a bicycle is freedom; a bicycle is independence; a bicycle is self-sufficiency,” writes Erika Warmbrunn. “Because a bicycle lands you in places you didn’t know you wanted to go, and shows you things you didn’t know you wanted to see…”

And there is also the sheer exhilaration: “The flying abandon of a bicycle, legs pumping, body and wheels skimming above the land, cycling for the sake of cycling”—at least when the roads are good. Often, of course, they aren’t good: as Warmbrunn travels from Irkutsk to Saigon, she has to cope with roads that are torn up, or icy, or muddy. In one coal-mining village, she bicycles through such ash-laden air that she can hardly breathe. But she copes extraordinarily well.

Where the Pavement Ends describes an impressive journey. Traveling alone, with her bike—which she calls Greene—Warmbrunn covers 8000 kilometers in 8 months. Read More 

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