Eat Sleep Ride: a book review

I read Eat, Sleep, Ride: How I Braved Bears, Badlands, and Big Breakfasts in My Quest to Cycle the Tour Divide by Paul Howard in California.

Click for image credit: Amazon

Click for image credit: Amazon

It wasn’t my typical beach read (meaning it wasn’t chick literature that I could read in one sitting) yet I really loved it.

The story is Howard’s personal account of a mountain bike race, the Tour Divide, running from Banff, Alberta, Canada to the Mexican border. It’s 2,700 miles long and includes more than 200,000 feet of climbing.

Howard had never owned a mountain bike and could only recall two off-road cycling misadventures. That didn’t stop him from buying a plane ticket from the UK to Canada, signing up for the race, and leaving his wife and toddlers for four weeks to attempt the adventure.

The book goes into detail of some bitterly cold days, rides that seem insurmountable, stops in forgotten towns, food in countless diners, and the spirit of riders who are in it for the long haul and all that comes with it.

I just can’t imagine sitting in the saddle each and every day for hours. I also can’t imagine riding up to 135 miles a day on a mountain bike, and then getting up the next day to do it all again.

The journey through Howard’s eyes is a tale of friendship, challenges, and adventure- all with that dry British wit!

The style of writing had me cheering along the riders; it felt like I knew them and I wanted them all to succeed.

I’m not a mountain biker (more of a wannabe!), but this story made me want to take on the 2,700 mile bike tour!


I wonder if I could talk Kelly into doing it alongside me (instead of hundreds of miles ahead)?!

Do you mountain bike? Would you consider a multi-day race?

Other book reviews:

33 responses to “Eat Sleep Ride: a book review

  1. Wow! It is so unbelievable what some people accomplish! I feel I am a pretty dedicated person but I would definitely have to ponder an idea like this before I could even think about committing ! I wonder what kind of training you would do got something like this!

  2. Wow–that’s a TON of miles on a mtn. bike! I do love it but have found that fear has limited my ability the last few years, which makes me sad. Sounds like a great read!

  3. Fun! I watched a movie on netflix last summer about this trail and a race on it. It was intense. I wish I remembered more about the movie!

  4. Mike has considered riding a road bike from Canada to Mexico so I might get this book for him! Sounds like a good read regardless of whether or not you’ve even been on a mountain bike (like me)!

    • That ride would be amazing! Would he do the coast from Vancouver down? Kelly and I have said how great the Oregon and California Coasts would be in theory, but I think the traffic would be intense.
      If he ever plans it, I bet Kelly would love to do lots of it with him 🙂

  5. I don’t really bike but I think a multi-day race would be fun. I think that you and Kelly should totally do the race together!!!

  6. That sounds like a great book! I love mt. biking but with Campbell being so young I don’t get to do too much of it.

  7. I am reallllyyy into books like this, and this one sounds fantastic. I STILL have not purchased a bike yet, I have no excuse other than being purely lazy. I would love to do a multi day bike race.

  8. This book sounds awesome! I have never gone mountain biking before, but have been dying to try! I love hiking and I love road biking… so why not combine the two, right? I don’t live in an area where there’s lots of mountain biking, perhaps I’ll try it when I’m in Utah this fall!

    • Yes! Since you love hiking and road biking, you would fall in love with mountain biking! Wait until after your Ironman, and then give it a go!
      Utah is a mountain biking mecca. Moab, Utah and Sedona, AZ are my top places I want to mountain bike.

  9. People are crazy! What an adventure! My bike is kind of a cross between road and trail. It’s not full on either way. I can take it on the roads no problem, but I’ve been conservative on the trails. Don’t know how much it can handle! Plus I don’t want to get hurt. Ha

  10. I enjoy books like this, thanks for the recommendation! It sounds like an amazing adventure.
    I’d love to do a multistage running race one day, like Marathon de Sables. There is one in the Australian Outback which sounds interesting and is closer to home (for me!)

    • Yes- the Marathon de Sables would be incredible! I’ll have to search the Australian Outback one.
      I haven’t been able to comment on your site lately (it won’t allow it!), but congrats on your races!

  11. Oh boy… not letting Justin read this book or else he’ll have to go on an even crazier bike ride!

  12. I am not a mountain biker, but I would love to ride a mountain bike!! I can’t fathom taking a full month to race and everyday riding for 100+ miles on my mountain bike…that would take some serious saddle conditioning!!

  13. This sounds like such an awesome book! I used to mountain bike when I lived in California and many Saturdays would ride up through Ojai from Ventura (about 40 miles round trip). I can’t imagine ever attempting something like he did though. That’s amazing!

  14. runnerbydefault

    I am not a mountain biker (or any kind of biker) but this story sounds great to me. I will have to check it out! I love to read about real life challenges.

  15. We used to have hybrid bikes that we rode off road and it was fun. I can’t imagine riding for more than a few hours though! I would probably love that book. Thanks for the tip!

  16. Why why why do I keep forgetting to add your page to my links?! How have you been doing?? Thanks for the sweet note!

    I can’t imagine doing anything but a leisurely stroll on my mountain bike! Seriously, but it would be amazing to ride through beautiful sites for days on end, soaking it all in, fresh air and working out!


    This sounds like a great book… I’m going to link this blog entry up to a couple of friends I know who mountain bike. I wonder what they’d think of the book.
    Thanks for sharing!!

  18. Wow!!! I can’t even imagine riding a mt bike for that long!! Sounds like an intense good!! I don’t mt bike at all. I think that it would be too much for me. I don’t even like rough road on my road bike!! 🙂
    I have read a couple of those other books on the list but I didn’t know Amanda Beard wrote a memoir. I will have to pick it up! Thanks!!
    Have you read Dean Karnaze’s Ultramarathon Man? or Becoming an Ironman?

  19. I’m not a mountain biker, I’m not actually even a cyclist, but mountain biking is my husband’s #1 sport. He used to race when he was a teenager and loves being on trails; I also think he would love this book, and probably the race.

    A cycling book I’ve read, after my husband did, is called ‘Cycling Home from Siberia,’ about an English guy who cycled home from Siberia over the course of three years. It’s a very interesting read, and more about the experience of such a enduring feat.

  20. Not purpose-built trails, no, but we’ve got plenty of trails and off-road tracks every where. Interesting you should ask because we were in the mountains this past weekend and stopped at the Glenlivet Estate (where the world’s second best whisky is made) and cycled their purpose-built mountain-biking trails. It was so much fun! I’ll write about it in this week’s Half Mary Musings.

  21. I am terrified of riding bikes that aren’t stationary. I should really be ashamed of that…

  22. I do not mountain bike. I don’t even own a regular bike. But I do have a closet full of running shoes 🙂 On my bucket list would be to do a multi-day event but in my case it would be a running road race. They just held the SoCal Ragnar this last weekend, and seeing everyone post on social media about it, made me jealous! I am going to have to check out the books you mentioned. I need to start collecting running books cause I don’t even have ONE running-related book. Which one would you recommend me buying first?

  23. Just added that book to my amazon wish list 🙂 And, now I have the bug to road bike that route! Sounds amazing!

Leave some love

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s