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Lone Rider

The First British Woman to Motorcycle Around the World
Narrated by: Wendy Wolfson
Length: 11 hrs and 16 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (93 ratings)

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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 members say

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    4 out of 5 stars
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A real travel adventure

A great story from the early days of global bike travel. Very calming narrator for easy listening.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Tough route to attempt.

I'm curious how things have changed for female riders today, I hesitate to say improved.
Impressive accomplishment.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Bloody hell Elspeth.<br />

What an incredible book.
Amazing.
You must listen to this book.
You will enjoy it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Nick
  • Worthing
  • 08-11-19

True Grit!

I've always dreamed about travelling around the world on a motorcycle and I'm still determined to one day! In the meantime I read and listen to adventure stories and this is up they're with the best of them (Ted Simon's Jupiter's Travels is my favourite one). What Elspeth did was truly outstanding - what an incredible woman! This audible book is so well written and read - buy it today!

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excellent superb listen

obviously based on true events of Elspeth beard it a good listen about this very brave and strong women who travelled around the world by motorcycle which took over 2 years. she road, serviced and repaired her own BMW, no back up crew following Elspeth unlike Mc Gregor and Boreman.

I like many others would love to do such a trip but we all know deep down we haven't the balls!

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She took me with her

Thoroughly enjoyed this book. I have traveled a lot and hearing her stories took me round the world with her. What a modest, wonderful lady. Honest and inspiring. I'd love to meet her.

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A brave and driven motorcyclist.

Traveling alone, often in a hostile environment, one women's endeavour to satisfy her need to go beyond the comfort zone. A strong story, sadly the narrator was not the person in my head, otherwise 5 stars.

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Diary of a teenage girl

I honestly cannot understand the praise for this book. I couldn't get past the 5th chapter, I found it so cringe worthy. It achieves the impossible by making an amazing and interesting adventure sound so unbelievably dull. the narrator is the worst I've ever heard. Really she is that sh1t. If I'd read the book rather than have to hear this woman read it maybe it would come across better. I'm aware that this may shauvanistic and if so I apologise for that but be prepared for at least 40% 'diary of a teenage girl'. At points - alot of points - it sounds like something your sister might have read in primary 7. Talking about the various boys she's left behind and her feelings and their feelings and how they are so in love with her and she can't help but feel blah blah blah. Oh my god it literally goes on and on with this stuff. I might try and go back at some point to find the adventure in this book but right now I just can't bear to listen to it anymore. So much of it is just dithering nonsense by a girl that has a very high opinion of herself and is a complete fecking moaner. How the flipping heck did the narrator get in to this line of work is the biggest question. She sounds like she is reading it for the first time. Alexa would've saved you some money, Elspeth.

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Living and sharing your dreams

Loved it, wonderful moment as she approaches the final yards towards her family home. Narration could be less robotic at times.

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Throughly Enjoyable

A fantastic story, well read and kept me wanting to listen at every available moment

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Profile Image for Alex Reponen
  • Alex Reponen
  • 17-06-19

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.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Lisa
  • Lisa
  • 14-11-19

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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  • Klaus
  • 01-11-19

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!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 24-08-19

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!!!

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  • Mark
  • 18-04-19

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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  • paul
  • 13-04-19

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
  • 09-04-19

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
  • 02-04-19

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

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  • Jim Foreman
  • 05-03-19

An intimate glimpse of a remarkable woman.

Lone Rider is much more than a moto travel journal. It is a true-life tale of a restless woman in early 80's London who wants more out of life than the options presented to here from school, friends, and family.
On this journey, Elspeth opens up about the triumphs and tragedies, loves and heartbreaks, and brings us, the readers, along with her on this grand adventure.
This is less about a motorcycle trip and more about a young woman discovering herself and becoming unstoppable.
Do not delay in picking up this book. You will enjoy every moment shared in this world.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 26-02-19

For anyone whose mind, body, or soul wanders

A truly monumental story about an incredible journey. Very few people have traveled completely around the surface of the world. Even fewer have done it on a motorcycle. Less still as a single female rider. The feat gets even more amazing when you consider it was 1982 and she was stuck using the technology, or lack thereof, of the time.

This book has wide appeal and I hope it doesn't get overlooked because of it's "motorcycle" genre. It is great read for those that love travel. It's great for those that love adventure. It is great for those looking for inspiration and confidence to try something new. A well crafted book about a truly gargantuan journey. Listen and be inspired.