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Bicycle Diaries: Audiobook


Audiobook + T-shirt
Audiobook + Limited-edition T-shirt: $29.95 BUY
T-Shirt: 100% Fine Jersey cotton American Apparel

Audiobook only: $19.95 BUY     T-Shirt only: $24.95 BUY

Audiobook narrator: David Byrne    Length: 8 hours : 39 minutes
Note: The full audiobook is 715 MB. Average download time is approx 30–60 mins.


Stream the full Introduction (and read the full text) & 30 second clips of all other tracks
* * *
Read/watch/listen to the multimedia Boing Boing Special Feature: Bicycle Diaries

The audiobook version of Bicycle Diaries is available as individual chapters in a podcast-style download exclusively via this site. In addition to music and narration by DB, it also features location sounds, creating an atmosphere more akin to a radio show than a simple reading of the book. While the chapters are available for purchase individually—as the journal-style book can be read in any order—the complete unabridged book is also available for download at a discounted price, and the Introduction as a free download, above.


After this book came out in hardback about a year ago, I wondered to myself, what if the audiobook for this project was more like a cross between a podcast and a radio show instead of the usual author or actor reading in silence? I was thinking about the kind of radio show that NPR stations do from time to time, with background music, street sounds and other ambiences that help put the listener in the picture. So, I did one chapter (New York) as a test, with me reading, and though it took a lot longer to assemble than I expected, I felt it did indeed do what I imagined it could; when you heard the tinkle of glasses and silverware during a restaurant “scene,” boom!—you immediately felt you were there. Your mind fills in the details and these little sound cues help paint a fuller picture. If only I could have added smell! When the text went off on one of many tangents, and I began ruminating about a subject off the beaten path, a little bit of music I happened to have available helped tell you, the listener, that, yes, we’ve left the “story” temporarily, but will return soon. It started as an experiment and then turned into a complete DIY project, with the Hendler Brothers keeping the ball rolling.

I also realized that this particular book could be consumed in any order, and it didn’t matter which chapter you started with. So one could download and listen to the chapters as individual podcasts, in any sequence. I could even make the chapters available to download separately—you wouldn’t need to buy the whole audiobook to see if you liked the experience. This all would have been impossible if these were made available only via CD (or cassette!)…or with many other types of books.

Technology had, it seemed, created an opportunity for a whole new format to come into being. I’m not sure anything exactly like this has ever been done before. Sure, there are NPR radio shows with sound effects (Joe Frank comes to mind) as well as ye olde radio dramas (The Shadow was one), but if there’s anything similar out there I’m unaware of it. And yes, there are loads of downloadable audiobooks—but you have to listen to the chapters in the prescribed order, unless you are into self created meta fiction.

So, the first taste—the Introduction—is free. It’s shorter than a regular chapter too. If you like it you can then buy individual chapters one by one, or receive a discount if you buy the whole unabridged book.



Thank you to the following local bike shops for your support:


  • Written and narrated by David Byrne
  • Music by David Byrne
  • Recorded and mixed by Josiah Hendler @ Blast Off Productions, NYC
  • Sound design by Josiah Hendler
  • Production Coordinator: Frank Hendler
  • Graphics by Danielle Spencer & DB
  • Artist management: David Whitehead @ Maine Road
  • Sound design and recording for the “New York” chapter by Karen Michel

Additional music cues and sound effects courtesy:

Songs from the “Buenos Aires” chapter courtesy:

  • "Nuevo y vivo", tango by Ignacio Varchausky & Andrés Linetzky, performed by El Arranque (P) & © 2008 Epsa Music, Argentina. Published by Epsa Publishing, Argentina.
  • "Como Me Voy A Olvidar", written and performed by Los Auténticos Decadentes. Courtesy of Sony Music Argentina & Los Auténticos Decadentes S.R.L. Ediciones Musicales.
  • "La Cultura Es La Sonrisa" Written and Performed by León Gieco. (P) & (C) 1994 EMI Odeon S.A.I.C.
  • "Volver" (Composers: Carlos Gardel/Alfredo Le Pera) Performed by Carlos Gardel with Terig Tucci's Orchestra. (P) 1925 EMI Odeon S.A.I.C.
  • "Quiero", Written and performed by Juana Molina. (P) & © 2000 Juana Molina. Published by Domino Publishing Company Ltd. Under exclusive license to Domino Recording Co. Ltd. for North America & Europe.
  • “Cancion Y Huayno”, written by Orlando Rojas Rojas and Mauro Nunez and performed by Mercedes Sosa. (P) Warner Chappell Music Argentina & © Universal Music Argentina S.A.
  • “O Baile Todo”, written and performed by Bonde Do Tigrao. (P) & © 2004 Mr. Bongo Recordings.
  • “Hoy No Le Temo A La Muerte”, written and performed by La Portuaria & DB. (P) EMI Music Publishing Latin America & © Popart Discos, Argentina.

Songs from the “San Francisco” chapter courtesy:

  • “Back Dat Azz Up”, performed by Extra Action Marching Band, composed by Freddi Price. (P) Extra Action & © Freddi Price.
  • “Even If”, performed and written by Loop!Station. (P) & © Loop!Station.

Songs from the “Istanbul” chapter courtesy:

  • "Amen karpouz kestim yiyen yok (I cut the water melon but nobody eats it)" Traditional Turkish folk song performed by Kemal Tanriverd. Published by Musical Ark. Under exclusive license to Musical Ark worldwide.


  1. I am experiencing problems with downloading or purchasing…what to do?
    The current minimum supported flash version is 9.0.115. If you're noticing problems with the download or purchase flow, you may want to check which version of flash is currently installed. You can do this by clicking here. You can upgrade your flash player via the Adobe Flash upgrade page. Please note, the full audiobook is 715 MB. Average download time is approx 30-60 mins. Depending on the speed of your internet connection, it may take longer. You can monitor download progress by viewing the "Downloads" window of your internet browser.
  2. If I pre-ordered the audiobook, when will I receive a download link?
    On September 28, an e-mail was sent to you which contains a link that you can click on to initiate download of the audiobook. If you don't see the message, check your junk mail folder just in case.
  3. When I click on the order button, a screen appears that's all black and I'm unable to continue.
    Check to see if you have a firewall enabled that may be preventing the purchase flow from displaying. If this is the case, please temporarily disable the firewall.
  4. How do I reset my download limit?
    If you have received a message that indicates the maximum number of downloads has been reached, please contact Topspin Customer Support.
  5. How do I restart my download?
    After purchasing, an email confirmation receipt will be sent to you. This email contains a download link that you can click on to initiate another download.
  6. Is there a CD version of the audiobook?
    No. The Bicycle Diaries audiobook is available as a digital download only.
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