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Book Review: Pedalling Around the Peninsula

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Sandra Loh never set out to write a book about touring Peninsula Malaysia by bike. In fact, she really didn’t plan to undertake such an ambitious ride, either. In 2009, her friend Mak Shiau Meng invited her to pedal to the “four corners” of Malaysia, which they defined as Padang Besar in Perlis, Tanjung Piai and Sungai Rengit in Johor, and Kota Bharu up in Kelantan, and she couldn’t say no.

Over a bum-numbing 37 days, Sandra and Mak lived the adventure, pedalling through small kampungs and big cities, making friends and memories along the way. In true 21st-century fashion, Sandra snapped loads of photos and blogged about her journey, and was even featured in a story in The Star.

Months after the trip was completed, word continued to spread about her two-wheeled expedition, and friends and family kept encouraging Sandra to put all her blog entries together into a book. She took it to heart, and only sent her treatment to two publishers before getting accepted, a coup for any writer. Thus, Pedalling Around the Peninsula was born.

Next came the long process of putting everything into a good, readable format. Sandra and her publisher went back and forth on whether to position the book as a journal or a guidebook. In the end, the finished product is a bit of both, but with the level of detail, advice, and excellent maps and information that can be found within – the tome weighs in at 350 pages – this book will serve any prospective long-distance cyclist very well.

The book is an immensely enjoyable and well-written read for real-life adventurers or those more of the armchair variety. Divided into ten parts, each of the book’s chapters covers a day of the journey.

With plenty of photos and outstanding production values, this is a real delight to hold and read. It’s also a great way to get to see a side of Malaysia few really get to see, and a book well worth getting your hands on.

Sandra has done the hard part, all the rest of us have to do is pick up a copy of Pedalling Around the Peninsula and take the journey with her!

Source: The Expat October 2012

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