The Masked Rider: Cycling In West Africa by Neil PeartThe Masked Rider: Cycling In West Africa by Neil Peart

The Masked Rider: Cycling In West Africa

byNeil Peart

Paperback | September 1, 2004

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Dysentery, drunken soldiers, and corrupt officials provide the background for Neil Peart's physical and spiritual cycling journey through West Africa. The prolific drummer for the rock band Rush travels through African villages, both large and small, and relates his story through photographs, journal entries, and tales of adventure, while simultaneously addressing issues such as differences in culture, psychology, and labels. Literary and artistic sidekicks such as Aristotle, Dante, and Van Gogh join Peart and his cycling companions, reminding the reader that this is not just another travel book—it is a story of both external and introspective discovery and adventure.
Neil Peart is the drummer and lyricist for the rock band Rush and the author of Ghost Rider. He lives in Santa Monica, California.
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Title:The Masked Rider: Cycling In West AfricaFormat:PaperbackProduct dimensions:260 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.8 inShipping dimensions:9 × 6 × 0.8 inPublished:September 1, 2004Publisher:ECW PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1550226657

ISBN - 13:9781550226652

Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from I enjoyed the ride! A journey in Africa that can awaken ideas about freedom and gratitude. Definitely gives a new perspective on the luxuries of clean water, electricity and indoor plumbing.
Date published: 2011-04-07
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Bravery This book is all about challenging oneself. Breaking beyond our own worst fears diversed into a culture so alien and little know to the western world. A must read to thee avid fan on the simple forms of travel such as a bicycle to get thru the rough terrain of a 3rd world country.
Date published: 2008-05-13
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Outside the gilded cage. Neil Peart has always been an acutely private person, and as a result, the thrill of actually reading this account seems to have influenced many reviewers. That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy it, but I have often wondered why people go nuts over it. I enjoy literature in many forms, and though I am by no means an expert, I was not bowled over by Peart’s first foray into paperbacks. It is obvious that he is well read, judging from the many borrowed quotes and themes in his songs. He is the most unlikely of stars, eternally hiding behind a mountain of drums or the anonymity of a backwoods bike trip in a place beyond the glare. The Masked Rider left me feeling a bit sorry for Neil. It’s ironic that such an intensely private expedition has left him under the closer scrutiny of those who think they know him so well. This may well be the reason why there is nothing else on the shelves.
Date published: 2001-12-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Homme Blanc ! ! What an exciting and depressing way to view another part of the world. I felt sympathy, anger, fear and an inability to affect the surrounding scenes by just reading the accounts of this arduous bicycle ride through the African countryside. Neal Peart writes this book in a captivating and provocative style much like he wrote the songs of "RUSH" which I have enjoyed for the past 2 decades. I found it hard to put down and I am not a heavy reader. My only dissapointment is that he has no other books to buy! !
Date published: 2000-07-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from He DID know better... Traveling on a bicycle through Africa can be a pleasure but it also has its dangers. Neil Peart recounts his month-long bicycle tour through West Africa with lavish descriptions of the indigenous people, places and exploits... Peart is obviously an accomplished storyteller and has penned an absorbing read that is full of adventure AND misadventure. Part humour, introspection, reality, philosophy and travel, this book will appeal to everyone but especially those that have ever wanted to be thrust into a foreign culture - without a safety net.
Date published: 2000-07-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Masked Rider makes for a Happy Reader Having been a fan of Peart's phenominal writing ability through the intelligent, imaginative and passionate lyrics he's written over the decades for RUSH songs, I knew I would like this book. I just didn't realize how MUCH I would like this book. Peart has the wonderfully unique ability to express his own perceptions of a situation and characters and yet still allow the reader to create their own based on his rich descriptions. When I read this book, I was cycling through West Africa with Peart and his companions. I was made to think, to fear, to wonder, to joy, to cry. Thanks, Mr Peart! Peart's writing is thought provoking and meditative, and leaves you longing for more. If you do want more, you can sample Peart's hand at short speculative fiction (writing with Kevin Anderson)within the paperback anthology SHOCK ROCK edited by Jeff Gelb. It's a story about a drummer cycling through a remote village in search of a legendary drum craftsman. Sound familiar? It's a wonderful piece of speculative literature -- perhaps some genius musician in the future will write a song based on it.
Date published: 1999-12-31
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Hey White man! The review title is in reference to the racism Neil encounters in his travels. In retrospect, it is almost humourous, simply due to the ignorance of the inhabitants of West Africa (that is, they didn't know what else to call him). Having to endure it so often and for so long, of course, would have its toll on anyone, be they black, oriental or otherwise. (with the appropriate name being issued, of course). It's very difficult to sum up this book in such few words. I expected a book of vast articulation and profundity, as this is how I am accustomed to hearing/reading Neil speak. Rather, Mr. Peart writes of his travels with four other *very* different personality types in a *very* different country. His travels give him -- and, subsequently, the reader -- much to think about on a small and grand scale. His discussions and thoughts will surely give those who have travelled something to relate to, and those who haven't, something to enjoy vicariously. His candor on human nature, never excluding himself, is refreshing. If you're going to buy a book on subject matter, consider this one under human nature; particularly in that sense, it is quite profound (almost as much as the sites and experiences detailed in the book).
Date published: 1999-05-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from n/a I searched for awhile for this book and finally came across it almost by accident. The style of writing used is most amazing. It is writen in the manner in which one normally thinks or speaks. There is moment in the book that really seperates Canadian's from American's way of thinking. Neil is traveling with two other men and two women, who set there own pace and meet at pre-determined stops. Neil argues, with proof, that the American government and industries is not trying to cover up certain products from its citizens and consumers. In pure frustration he resignes the arguement to the woman rather than jepordize the travel any more than needed. I would recomend this book to anyone who wants to read about the ways people still to this day (1998) think and feel and act to others.
Date published: 1998-12-11

Read from the Book

It is said that one travels to East Africa for the animals, and to West Africa for the people. My first dream of Africa was a siren–call from the East African savanna … great herds of wildlife shimmering in the heat haze of the Serengeti, the Rift Valley lakes swarming with birds, the icy summit of Kilimanjaro. So I went there, and I loved it. The following year I went looking for an interesting way to visit West Africa, to learn more about the African people — the animals drew me to Africa, but the people brought me back.After much searching I found a name — Bicycle Africa — and signed up for a month–long tour of “Cameroon: Country of Contrasts.” At the end of it I swore I’d never do anything like that again — but the following year I forgot my vow, and returned to bicycle through Togo, Ghana, and the Ivory Coast.Cycling is a good way to travel anywhere, but especially in Africa; you are independent and mobile, and yet travel at “people speed” — fast enough to move on to another town in the cooler morning hours, but slow enough to meet the people: the old farmer at the roadside who raises his hand and says “You are welcome,” the tireless woman who offers a shy smile to a passing cyclist, the children whose laughter transcends the humblest home. The unconditional welcome to tired travelers is part of the charm, but it is also what is simply African: the villages and markets, the way people live and work, their cheerful (or at least stoic) acceptance of adversity, and their rich culture: the music, the magic, the carvings — the masks of Africa.Africa is such a network of illusions, a double–faced mask. It is as difficult to see into it as it is to see out of it. To those who’ve never been there it is an utter mystery, a continent veiled in myths and mistaken impressions, but it is equally obscure to those who have never been anywhere else. It used to be said that electronic media would bring the world closer together, but too often the focus on the sensational only distorts the reality — drives us farther apart. That is why in Ghana the children followed me down the street chanting “Rambo! Rambo!” and that is why Canadians look at me as if I were a lunatic when I tell them I’ve been cycling in Africa — they can only picture it from wildlife documentaries, TV images of starvation camps, and old Tarzan movies.Africa fascinates me — in the true sense, I suppose, as a snake is said to transfix its prey. And the more times I return, the more countries I visit, the more the place perplexes me. Africa has so much magic, but so much madness. Yet I keep returning, and surely will again. This attraction is compelling and seems to grow stronger, but, like any lasting relationship, it is no longer blind.And maybe that’s always true. After the first infatuation we’re always most critical of what we feel the strongest about. It’s too often the case in relationships, and certainly regarding one’s own family or country. You can criticize your own, but don’t let anyone else try it. That’s when love shows its teeth.If my attraction to Africa is no longer blind, it is still blurry. From within and without, Africa is as much the “Dark Continent” as it was two hundred years ago — hard to see into, hard to see out of. The mask obscures a face which is so complex and contradictory; it takes a lot of traveling even to get a sense of it. And traveling in Africa is, by necessity, adventure travel.Some people travel for pleasure, and sometimes find adventure; others travel for adventure, and sometimes find pleasure. The best part of adventure travel, it seems to me, is thinking about it. A journey to a remote place is exciting to look forward to, certainly rewarding to look back upon, but not always pleasurable to live minute by minute. Reality has a tendency to be so uncomfortably real.But that’s the price of admission — you have to do it. One reason for making such a journey is to experience the mystery of unknown places, but another, perhaps more important, reason is to take yourself out of your “context” — home, job, and friends. Travel is its own reward, but traveling among strangers can show you as much about yourself as it does about them. To your companions and the people you encounter you are the stranger; to them you are a brand–new person.That’s something to think about, and if you try you might glimpse yourself that way, without a past, without a context, without a mask. That can be a little scary, no question, but you may get a look behind someone else’s mask as well, and that can be even scarier.

Editorial Reviews

"Peart's writing is lyrical and his tale poignant, fully capturing an extraordinary journey, both as a travel adventure and as memoir." —Library Journal on Ghost Rider