I love Tim Moore’s travelogues; they always make me laugh out loud, there are always parts that make me wince and I always learn some new expletives!
Gironimo is about Tim Moore cycling the route of the infamous 1914 Giro d’Italia on a vintage bicycles and in period costume.
The 1914 Giro is reputed to be the most gruelling and cruel bike race ever. Of the 81 competitors who started only 8 finished!
The book starts with some of the history of the eventual winner, Alfonzo Calzolari, who caused some controversy by accepting help from a motorist, was penalised by 3 hours and whose eventual win was subject to a legal challenge.
It also describes how Moore tracked down his vintage bicycles and the lengths he went to restoring it so it would survive his journey. This bit of the book is Moore at his world-weary, frustrated funniest and I found myself laughing out loud, even in public places.
The bulk of the book is about the journey, the trials of long distance cycling, obscure bits of Italy and the horrendous 1914 Giro. Moore is a great writer for bringing places alive; whilst reading you can easily imagine what the places he’s travelling through must have been like in 1914 and get a good sense of the 21st century slightly seedy reality of run down towns and cities. He also seems to have a talent for finding helpful yet slightly eccentric people to help him when, inevitably, something goes wrong.
The bit of the book I least liked was where Moore is joined by a friend who is both fitter and on a new cycle. I found his comments uncharitable; the guy is a friend and he’s come to help you, have some gratitude.
That is, however, a minor gripe and I’d definitely recommend the book if you’re interesting in cycling, Italy, the Giro or simply want to be entertained by someone’s madcap adventure.
After reading it I loaned the book to one of the honorary nephews. He enjoyed it so much I’m now trying to locate Tim Moore’s other books from within the book mounds dotted around my house.