When Dervla Murphy was ten, she was given a bicycle and an atlas, and within days she was secretly planning a trip to India. At the age of thirty-one, in 1963, she finally set off and this book is based on the daily diary she kept while riding through Persia, Afghanistan and over the Himalayas to Pakistan and India.
Undaunted by snow in alarming quantities, and using her small calibre pistol on starving wolves in Bulgaria and to scare away lecherous men in Persia, her resourcefulness and the blind eye she turned to personal danger and extreme discomfort were remarkable.
Win a copy of Dervla Murphy’s book
We have a copy of Full Tilt, the account of Dervla Murphy’s solo cycling trip from Ireland to India, to give away. To be in with a chance of winning the book, simply leave us a comment at the bottom of the page we’ll pick a name at random.
Bicycles and bullets
If the idea of Dervla Murphy carrying a pistol on her cycle trip seems shocking now, it follows a historical connection between bicycles and bullets. In the late nineteenth century, the manufacture of arms and bicycles shared similar metalworking techniques; both trades benefitted from improvements in engineering that allowed tube gauges to be reduced dramatically. In fact, some companies went as far as to manufacture and sell both bicycles and firearms. The result was lighter bicycle frames and a terrifying arsenal of miniature weapons for their riders to carry.
The 1892 Revolver-Cycle was a miniature pepper-box pistol which, according to its inventor, Monsieur Joubert, could be stored within a handlebar grip. It was one of a number of guns developed specifically for cyclists at that time.
Thankfully, pistol carrying of this kind did not become widespread.
The ethical choice
The ETA was established in 1990 as an ethical provider of green, reliable travel services. Over 30 years on, we continue to offer cycle insurance , breakdown cover and mobility scooter insurance while putting concern for the environment at the heart of all we do.
The Good Shopping Guide judges us to be the UK’s most ethical provider.