Full Tilt

By Dervla Murphy,

Book cover of Full Tilt: Ireland to India with a Bicycle

Book description

Braving hunger, heat exhaustion, unbearable terrain and cultures largely untouched by civilization, Dervla Murphy chronicles her determined trip through nine countries, through snow and ice in the mountains and miles of barren land in the scorching desert. Full Tilt is a highly individual account by a celebrated travel writer based…

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Why read it?

4 authors picked Full Tilt as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

I think of myself as an adventurous traveler, but Dervla Murphy travels in a way that I would never even consider.

So, it’s a pleasure to sit in a comfortable chair and read about places I’ll never visit and people who I’d love to meet, but never will. Murphy writes so vividly I feel as though I am right beside her as she fends off wolves, struggles to drag a bicycle uphill through mountain snow, and shares tea with nomads.

This was her first book and every book that follows is equally compelling.

From Karen's list on making you want to travel.

I love all the characters Dervla Murphy meets in her 3,000-mile journey. This is a fascinating read that reveals what it is like for a woman to be alone during a time and place it was considered too dangerous for women (1963). She is rewarded with hospitality, not hostility. She endures frigid cold nights, sleeping on the side of the road, and starvation. Through her narrative diary style, readers get a glimpse of the cultures along the way and an understanding of what it was like for her as a young woman alone on the road. I found her and…

From C L's list on solo travel memoirs.

Utterly mad yet totally mesmerising, Murphy’s journey was an early inspiration to me in my bicycle-bound adventures. Packing a pistol and little else, she set off in 1963 and pedalled through a brutal European winter, over the Iron Curtain and across the Middle East and Afghanistan where she often disguised herself as a man to get by. In the mountains of northern Pakistan and India she traverses incredibly remote regions on broken trails and occasionally finds herself the guest of regal relics from bygone eras. Murphy’s no-nonsence prose and unembellished style should be a benchmark to all travel writers.

From Charlie's list on solo adventure.

If you need a book to launch you on a long bike ride, or any adventure for that matter, this is it. The story moves like a rocket. Dervla cycled by herself from Ireland to India on a single-speed bike in 1963 with a pistol strapped to her leg. She doesn’t so much reflect on reality as inhabit it. This isn’t a travelogue that will change the way you look at the world. But it will make you want to go out and squeeze the zest from it.

From Jet's list on for a long bike ride.

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