Reviewers’ Corner

“Cycle Europe, 20 Tours, 12 Countries” by Jerry Soverinsky (2004, MBI Publishing Co. ISBN 0760318697 — 400 pp., $19.95 paper).

When you are motivated to spend a couple of weeks on an adventure on wheels through Europe, this is the “bible” you must take with you.

How does this book differ from other guidebooks? It is highly readable because of its rich mixture of humor. It also makes planning vacations easy because of the abundance of road detail.

I was impressed with Jerry Soverinsky’s skill at inviting the reader to hop on his bike and pedal through his favorite parts of Europe. Even if you are not a biker, you will enjoy browsing through this wheeling tome.

There are 400 pages with at least 400 pictures, most in color. The dazzling array of Alpine pictures in the Switzerland section makes you want to go today.

Here is a rarity — a travel book on Europe with no mention of Paris, Berlin or the Matterhorn, because there is too much to see and do along the country roads and bike trails. Whether you choose Tuscany, Umbria, the Loire Valley, Scotland or Ireland, you will find a route to satisfy your hunger for adventure and independent travel.

The 20 itineraries cover every minute detail, including a description of the routes between towns. You can visualize riding the rises in the road, rolling past vineyards, farmland and bright red barns and stopping at a town square to sip cold water from the well or pausing at a small village restaurant to sip the favorite local wine. Jerry includes a helpful list of attractions, accommodations and restaurants.

Jerry suggests, “If you can bike 20 miles at home, you can bike 33 kilometers in Holland.” The only exception is the Swiss mountain tour, where he advises you get a dedicated mountain bike because you will want to ride off the trails.

After pointing out that one should learn which side of the road to ride on, he says, “In the British Isles they still don’t know for sure.”

Jerry advises that you ride the same bike in Europe that you ride at home; ship it over instead of buying or renting. He gives instructions on packing your bike for airline travel.

He thinks you should be a skilled mechanic because you may not see a bike shop for days, but, just in case, he lists bike shops along the way.

Jerry’s humor is worth the cost of the book. He warns that drivers “often drive on different sides of the road — especially when leaving pubs.”

After having read this unique book, my next move is to buy that dedicated mountain bike and call the airline. Thanks, Jerry!