The Cyclist Who Went Out in the Cold

Tim Moore,

The Cyclist Who Went Out in the Cold
 
 
Not content with tackling the Italian Alps or the route of the Tour de France, Tim Moore sets out to scale a new peak of rash over-ambition: the 6,000-mile route of the old Iron Curtain on a tiny-wheeled, two-geared East German shopping bike. Moore sets off from the northernmost Norwegian-Russian border at the Arctic winter’s brutal height, bullying his plucky MIFA 900 through the endless sub-zero desolation of snowbound Finland. Sleeping in bank vaults, imperial palaces and unreconstructed Soviet youth hostels, battling vodka-breathed Russian hostility, Romanian landslides, and a diet of dumplings, Moore and his ‘so-small bicycle’ are sustained by the kindness of reindeer farmers and Serbian rock gods, plus a shameful addiction to Magic Man energy drink. Haunted throughout by the border detritus of watchtowers and rusted razor wire, Moore reflects on the curdling of the Communist dream, and the memories of a Cold War generation reared on the fear of apocalypse—at a time of renewed East-West tension. After three months, twenty countries and a fifty-eight degree jaunt up the thermostat, man and bike finally wobble up to a Black Sea beach in Bulgaria, older and wiser, but mainly older.


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