Cycling Home from Siberia

30,000 miles, 3 years, 1 bicycle

Cycling Home from Siberia

Cycling Home from Siberia is a gripping story of endurance and adventure: Rob Lilwall’s epic journey back to England via the forbidding jungles of Papua New Guinea, an Australian cyclone, and Afghanistan’s war-torn Hindu Kush.

“It is late October, and the temperature is already –40 degrees . . . My thoughts are filled with frozen rivers that may or may not hold my weight; empty, forgotten valleys haunted by emaciated ghosts; and packs of ravenous, merciless wolves.”

Having left his job as a high-school geography teacher, Rob Lilwall arrived in Siberia equipped only with a bike and a healthy dose of fear. Cycling Home from Siberia recounts his epic three-and-a-half-year, 30,000-mile journey back to England via the foreboding jungles of Papua New Guinea, an Australian cyclone, and Afghanistan’s war-torn Hindu Kush. A gripping story of endurance and adventure, this is also a spiritual journey, providing poignant insight into life on the road in some of the world’s toughest corners.
  • Howard Books | 
  • 432 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781451607864 | 
  • April 2011
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Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for Cycling Home from Siberia includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Rob Lilwall. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.


Cycling Home from Siberia
is Rob Lilwall’s extraordinary account of his epic, three-year, thirty-thousand mile bicycle trek across the globe. Beginning in the frozen wastelands of Siberia, Rob explores the back roads of China, the inhospitable jungles of Papua New Guinea, the deserts of Australia, the icebound passes of Tibet, and the lonely valleys of Afghanistan. Along the way he encounters adventure, violence, isolation, disease, and extreme climates. The most remarkable of all, however, is the warm hospitality he receives from people of all cultures, regions, and walks of life.


1.       What was Rob’s life like before he set out on his journey? What were your first impressions of him? Rob was twenty-seven when he made this life-changing decision to take his trip. When have you had to make a similarly important decision? How old were you and what were the deciding factors in your choice?

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About the Author

Rob Lilwall
Photograph by Al Humphreys

Rob Lilwall

Born in London in 1976, Rob Lilwall studied geography at Edinburgh University and did his teacher training at Oxford University before teaching geography in an Oxfordshire Secondary School for two years. At the age of 27, that he set off on his three year Cycling Home From Siberia. He also completed a theology diploma at Oxford University. In September 2009 he married Christine Liu.