• Full Tilt

  • Ireland to India with a Bicycle
  • By: Dervla Murphy
  • Narrated by: Emma Lowe
  • Length: 9 hrs and 32 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (60 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Full Tilt is the inspiring true story of Dervla Murphy's 1963 journey from Ireland to India on an Armstrong Cadet bicycle, and the trials, landscapes, and cultures she encountered along the way. The route takes her through the valleys and snowy mountain passes of Europe and India to the scorching deserts of Afghanistan and Pakistan, where the metal of her bicycle, Rozinante (named after Don Quixote's steed), becomes too hot to touch. She travels alone, without luxuries, sleeping on the floors of teahouses or on blankets outdoors, vulnerable to wild animals, insects, and thieves. However, she is often met with generosity and kindness, and shares many meaningful encounters with the locals. Her portrayal here gives a fascinating insight into the unique communities of the Middle East in the early 1960s.

©2019 Naxos Audiobooks (P)2019 Naxos Audiobooks

Featured Article: The Best Biking Audiobooks


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What listeners say about Full Tilt

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Prejudice personified

This is impossible to listen to and should not even be on Audible. There are so many arrogant , prejudiced comments, as well as outright racism. At one point goats are referred to as "nigger brown.." That was the point at which I stopped listening. I put one star ratings only so that this review could be submitted. It deserves no stars.

3 people found this helpful

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A joyous journey

I thoroughly enjoyed this book! It made me so happy to hear that so many people in the world are so kind!

3 people found this helpful

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Good book overall

An admirable example of adventure, determination, and learning - somewhat tedious story telling, punctuated with interesting and perhaps still current examples on the various countries she visited.

2 people found this helpful

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Racist, classist and not well written

I initially started listening to this for a book club. After a few chapters, I can no longer enjoy it due to many problematic comments referring to poor people who are begging as “pathetic“ as well as people of a variety of countries as having inferiority implied and said in a multitude of ways. I realize the book is a journal and it’s somewhat dated but perhaps some thoughtfulness about the author’s perception is still relevant.

2 people found this helpful

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Travels, people, locations and experiences very interesting

Murphy’s experiences, fortitude, intelligence, and sensitivity were remarkable. The hardships she endured and overcame were both miraculous and believable. The ending was abrupt I was expecting a continuation or conclusion. Her bicycle journey was a remarkable and inspiring saga.

2 people found this helpful

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Give us more Dervla Murphy!

I wish this were required reading for all young people; inspiring for any age.

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Bicycling Adventure from a bygone era.

Dervla’s cycling efforts and observations are a welcomed window into a time when women weren’t ‘supposed’ to cycle across continents by themselves.

She describes the dangers & wonderful blessings through an engaging first person narrative with rich details that make you believe you are looking over her shoulder for the entire length of her adventure.

This book might just give you the encouragement you need to go on your own months long bicycling trip.

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Delightful adventure book

The author writes with good humor and sensitive humanity about her adventures and the people she meets along the way. As for the us of the term “pathetic “ to describe the beggars with leprosy, it’s clear that she means this in the original sense of the term as “arousing pity,” not as a pejorative.

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  • Duncan Russell
  • 05-27-22

remarkable travelogue from an independent spirit

These diary entries make up a riveting account of a young woman's solo bike ride from Dunkirk to New Delhi in 1963. To put into context her resolve and durability, the 1000km slog through Northern Europe during the worst winter of the 20th century barely earns a sixth of this books length. This woman is not to be trifled with, she shoots a wolf in the face with her smuggled pistol, smashes her ribs up on an Afghan bus, solo treks through the Himalyas on a borrowed horse, lives off stewed clover for a week, and goes crazy at a found collection of classical music 78's. All the while, not only describing the unfolding beauty with clarity, but also pontificating on the shifting cultural landscape with great wisdom, curiosity and an open heart. A wonderful account of the world before it really really really went to shit.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-13-21

Amazing story

The description of Afghan culture in the early 1960s is fascinating and I think essential reading.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Steve
  • 01-15-21

Grea...until the end

Felt immersed in the whole journey and very much enjoyed it. The last section in India seemed to be a bit of a sanctimonious dig at Britain which spoilt it for me a bit.

1 person found this helpful

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  • The Irish Grover
  • 10-04-20

Amazing story of insane journey

For a woman in her 20's to cycle across the world in 1964 was an incredible idea and at times a very dangerous adventure.
The story itself is almost exclusively taken directly from her journal entries.
This was written in the 1960s. The language and terminology used would no longer be considered appropriate or politically correct. However the author does not intend offence and I do not believe it is legitimate to judge by applying current standards of language usage on a book written almost 60 years ago.
What is clear is that the author had extreme fondness, respect and love for the people and places she visited. In addition she makes many astute observations and concerns on the forced westernisation of countries and the negative impact of same.
Apart from all that the struggles of a run woman dragging a bike alone across the world is in and of itself and very interesting.

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Debbie
  • 08-09-22

where's the ending?

I enjoyed this incredible story and the narration was spot on but the ending appears to be missing!

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  • B. J. Laming
  • 07-18-22

A Compulsive Diarist

In the tradition of Robert Byron who also wrote well of his travels over some of the same ground, three decades earlier, Dervla brings the Reader into really sympathetic contact with so many ordinary folk in the lands she travelled through. And her bulletins, written each evening (despite some extreme rigours in the day) are evidence of the accurate descriptions of her courageous progress always attracting friendly encounters with humble locals, ready to share (and she to accept) their sparse provender.

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  • Lily
  • 06-11-22

Much ado about nothing

I have travelled many of the places she describes. Interesting and has some well-described scenes but in the end comes across too opinionated with sweeping dismissals of some nations while lauding uneducated tribes. The advantage of being a westerner with all it offers and has done for her & for developing countries seems dismissed as irrelevant. Not a balanced view.

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  • Fifi
  • 05-10-22

great fun!

loved it. just kept falling asleep...as planned ...and kept having to rewind so I didn't miss any!!!-

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  • marie
  • 04-20-21

Brilliant tale by a wonderful traveler

Recommend listening to this - any age and type of person will get something from Dervla Murphy’s journey, getting on with it through tick and thin.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Satinder
  • 04-18-21

very disappointed

From the day I first came across Dervlas story I had her in awe at what she had achieved.
however finally listening to her story I feel she was an entitled white privileged narrow minded potato eater.
She had narrow views on other country's ways and foods unlike 99.9% modern day world tourers.
She didn't understand their cultures and was opinionated even though they have since developed post the Raj but she still lives in a hovel in Ireland in 2021.
Her lack of empathy and understanding is apparent especially in Pakistan and India where hob knobbing with the elite seems to bring her happiness but eating their local foods was too spicy should have stuck to boiled potatoes....
Sorry Dervla you are a very flawed person and this shone through leaving me disappointed.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-14-20

Magical and Real

Woman. Bicycle. Panniers. Smokes.
60s and the Middle East.....
Real Adventure told in real time with humour, honesty and detail enough to carry as a retrospective story

2 people found this helpful

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  • Toni
  • 03-25-21

Best book I have read for a long time

What an amazing person is Dervla Murphy.
Fabulous Irish accent of the narrator.
I felt like I was taken on her adventures - so rich were the descriptions - wonderful writing style.
Oh how I wish Audible had more of her adventure books to listen to!
I can say this has been my most enjoyed book from Audible.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-16-22

The Intrepid Dervla Murphy

I have been a Dervla fan since reading an extract from Full Tilt in an anthology of travellers' tales in the late 1980s, with the compiler describing her as The Intrepid Dervla Murphy. Although I have many of her books, I had not read Full Tilt. And I enjoyed this audiobook rendition, with the narrator's soft, lilting Irish sounding as if Dervla was reading from her travel journal.