What we're reading: March 2017

One woman, two wheels, and an infinite amount of nerve: Lois Pryce goes in search of the real Iran by motorbike

Published 3 Mar 2017, 08:00 GMT

When other road users in Iran appear to be trying to kill you, rob you or kidnap you, normally they just want to feed you.' Such is the no-nonsense tone of this Iranian travelogue, painting a vivid picture of an otherwise much maligned country as a nation not of terrorists, but of partiers, poets and dedicated picnickers.

That's not to say it's preachy — it's rather a self-motivating pep talk by Lois, the motorbike-riding author of this book, about her overland adventure across Iran. This is a proper travelogue. It's the sort of story that, had she been in possession of a motorbike licence, Freya Stark may have written on her 19th century travels through Iran. Lois follows the legendary lady traveller's path across mountains and cities, small scruffy towns and magnificent Silk Road settlements. She encounters the sort of shining hospitality, cultural inclusion and inspirational joie de vivre that Stark famously found here as a lone female traveller well over a century ago. It's a very Iranian human spirit — all the more humbling in today's age of fearsome Islamic Republic repression.

Our biker has to contend with riding in hijab and helmet, going off-road, off-map and repeatedly ploughing into the unknown. Lois simply gets on with things and the result is a joyful, moving and stereotype-busting travel tale.

Revolutionary Ride, On The Road In Search Of The Real Iran, by Lois Pryce. RRP: £14.99 (Nicholas Brealey).

Wise words

The Stanford Travel Book of the Year

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The blog
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The podcast
If the debut episode is anything to go by, new series The Rough Guide to Everywhere looks promising. It features Dervla Murphy's stories from her 1963 solo cycle from Ireland to India. 

School holiday helpers

The Road School 

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Published in the April 2017 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)

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