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Lone Rider

The First British Woman to Motorcycle Around the World
Written by: Elspeth Beard
Narrated by: Wendy Wolfson
Length: 11 hrs and 16 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (14 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In 1982, at the age of just 23 and halfway through her architecture studies, Elspeth Beard left her family and friends in London and set off on a 35,000-mile solo adventure around the world on her 1974 BMW R60/6. 

Reeling from a recent breakup and with only limited savings from her pub job, a tent, a few clothes, and some tools, all packed on the back of her bike, she was determined to prove herself. She had ridden bikes since her teens and was well-traveled. But nothing could prepare her for what lay ahead. 

When she returned to London nearly two-and-a-half years later she was stones lighter and decades wiser. She'd ridden through unforgiving landscapes and countries ravaged by war, witnessed civil uprisings that forced her to fake documents, and fended off sexual attacks, biker gangs, and corrupt police convinced she was trafficking drugs. She'd survived life-threatening illnesses, personal loss, and brutal accidents that had left permanent scars and a black hole in her memory. And she'd fallen in love with two very different men. 

In an age before email, the internet, mobile phones, satnavs, and, in some parts of the world, readily available and reliable maps, Elspeth achieved something that would still seem remarkable today. Told with honesty and wit, this is the extraordinary and moving story of a unique and life-changing adventure.

©2018 Elspeth Beard (P)2019 Elspeth Beard

What listeners say about Lone Rider

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You get used to the narrator

I really wanted to read this book but I saw it here so I figured I’d audio it; at first the narrator’s monotone voice was a bit annoying and it took some getting used to but as I got more into the story she did come alive a bit more during emotional or intense happenings in the journey. Overall, glad I had a chance to embark on her adventure, definitely a once in a lifetime ride and it does take a similar experience to truly understand what she goes through and describes. Having completed a thirteen day ride of Rajasthan in India this January, I’m glad some things have changed for the better since her journey while I giggled as she brought me back to my own experiences and noticed that some things never change, truth is though, that this book helped to validate my own thoughts on my own journey as well and how we view culture and can learn to appreciate the smallest things in life is exceptional. Can’t wait to see the movie!!!

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Great Story

Really enjoyed listening to the book. The tenacity of Elspeth to ride thru in a time with no cell phones and no internet. Amazing story

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  • Klaus
  • 2019-11-01

it got better and better

the story was of to a slow start. but I really enjoyed it after about an hour into it. all the way to the end!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2019-08-24

What a captivating adventure!!

Absolutely Loved Elspeth's story!!! The adventure she undertook at a time when traveling the world on bike AND at a time when female rider's where completely chauvinisticly patronized my some of the male motorcycling community when she needed that support the most. Can't believe that it took over 30yrs for this FANTASTIC story to come into the light! I'm not gonna lie, I even cried at the end of the book a bit, cause the ending was sad and lonely feeling... I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS BOOK TO ALL riders regardless of whether your a man or a woman!!!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Alex Reponen
  • 2019-06-17

Disappointing

I was genuinely excited at the prospect of this book when I heard about it but sadly was quite disappointed by the time I finished it. For me it wasn’t the personal details mixed with the travel, that was actually refreshing compared to other travel-log style books. It was the sense of colonial entitlement that pervaded her attitude when traveling. The disbelief that people could live so differently from her; the idea that she had a right to complete this trip and anyone who stood in her way, whether it was their intention or not, was being disrespectful, offensive, or stubborn. She proceeds to break multiple laws, disregard governments’ genuine, if misguided and ineffective, measures to keep her safe and all the while complain as if they were the problem. Heaven forbid she had a real problem and expected anyone to go get her when she was the root cause! She is an architect but primarily of her own misfortune, discontent, disaster. She whines about the changes to a 49 year practice of easing immigration requirements for British citizens in India because of recent sectarian violence as though she was the still entitled to Indian admiration and adoration. despite being independent of British rule for as long!) She moans about the troubles in Iran following the Islamic revolution (British and American interference being a primary source of discontent leading to the revolution) only 4-5 years earlier and an ongoing war with Iraq- as though those weren’t her problem and couldn’t they just pause it while she traipsed through. The story lacks humility, personal responsibility and a sense of wonder except at those frustrating foreigners she finds around her and their ridiculous ways. I finished the book hoping at the end (it was written I believe long after the trip was complete and she had presumably matured) she would reflect and realize how arrogant, entitled and self-important she had been and regret it but instead she doubles down, apologizes for nothing and demonstrates she has learned little behind what her colonial fore-bearers learned about the exotic but dirty foreign lands there for material or experiential plunder but owning them nothing in return except a few pieces of gold. I’d like to think she will stay where she is rather than embarrass herself and her countrymen with her lack of appreciation for foreign cultures. It’s is one thing to be naive about the world, run from broken relationships and immerse yourself in another world. It is quite another however to come out the other end no better than you began. Save the fuel next time.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Mark
  • 2019-04-18

Real, very Real

To the Author, Cannot help but appreciate the Tenacity and determination that it took to accomplish and what you did . I wish I could have your panniers , But I am not willing to go through what you went through to get them. From Rider to another well Done.

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  • Brad S
  • 2020-01-03

Tragic Adventure

Elspeth's ride around the world is well written and well read... but it's one tragedy after another. Very depressing adventure/story.

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  • Rafael
  • 2019-12-01

It’s been an unforgettable experience

This book has been a am expansive experience in both my understanding of the experience of another, but also about myself. It felt like many times I was there within the pages, feeling the same frustrations, celebrating the triumphs and mourning the losses. I whole wholeheartedly can say, I don't only recommend this book, but have made efforts to persuade my friends to pick it up as well.

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  • Lisa
  • 2019-11-14

what a story!

I loved it I couldn't put it down amazing to here what Elspeth went through I was really impressed

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  • paul
  • 2019-04-13

Respect...

As a motorcyclist and a world traveller my self, this book is the closest thing I’ve personally read that mirrored my own struggles with life. It was very gripping and i had a hard time stopping the audio to get my other things done. I am also a single parent. Elspeth - if by chance you read these reviews i have only two words to say to you. Understanding and Respect. Thank you so much for sharing your experience with me (us). Perhaps some day we will meet on that long open road....

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  • Theodore John
  • 2019-04-09

You must admire this woman

I've read and listened to every audiobook out there about some motorcyclist who did the "round the world" thing. Elspeth is and should be a great inspiration to anyone who sets out to do anything. The story was amazing, heartbreaking, frustrating and glorious. A lesser person would have given up and gone home. Although it took place in the 80's, I felt bad for her as she went through America and met all these American idiots along the way and even the bikers who were total jerks. UGH.... Makes me angry to hear fellow riders treated her as they did. Great book and I highly recommend it.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2019-04-02

A journey around the globe and through the heart.

What an amazing book! The first hand insight into so many different cultures throughout the world... Wow

1 person found this helpful