I’ve started looking for and reading books related to RTW travel, Adventure travel, and books with a “Motorcycle theme”. I’ve found it hard to locate these books when doing a simple search on Amazon.com or on other sites, so I thought I would list the books, and provide some information and reviews on the books that I’ve read. Enjoy…
Red tape and white knuckles (Lois Pryce) [Read: May, 2014]
After reading Lois on the loose, I couldn’t wait to get started on her next book. As I hoped, this book seemed to take the same style of tongue-in-cheek writing, and take it a step or two further. Lois manages to tell the story of her journey to the tip of Africa, while keeping us very much entertained, yet exposing all of the thoughts, drama, decision-making, and difficulty that she faced each day. I tried to imagine how hard, or difficult it might be to simply “start out” and begin riding towards Capetown, knowing that you were not prepared, and knowing that much danger would await you. Kudos to Lois for taking the trip, and congratulations to her for managing to get all of her emotions on paper, in such a fun and entertaining style.
This book is not without drama however. A 30+ year old woman, riding through Africa is bound to create some unique challenges, and I have to admit that I could not have imagined how hard it might be, or the stereotypes that Lois might face, as she crosses Africa, on her way to Capetown. I won’t say any more, but trust me, there is drama almost every day, but throughout it all, Lois always has a wonderful attitude, that is contageous, and inspiring.
Well done Lois
Buy this book, you won’t regret it!
Lois on the loose (Lois Pryce) [Read: April, 2014]
In this book, Lois tells the story of “chucking her job with the BBC” and taking off on what is essentially her first big motorcycle adventure. Now, with a woman writing a book like this, you might think that the story will be anything but exciting, but if that’s what you’re thinking, you’re wrong. Lois manages to make each day of her journey from Alaska to Ushuaia part of an action-packed epic, where self-deprecation, and humility guide her writing. Honestly, I’ve read a good number of these Motorcycle travelogues at this point, and I would say that the two books by Lois were the most fun, are extraordinarily well written, and are guaranteed to put you in a good mood.
Lois also manages to tell the story of her courtship with Austin Vince, another motorcycling icon who has the special gift of simply not taking himself too seriously. Oh, and he wears those silly overalls, which is part of his trademark look. Well, maybe it’s not trademarked, but it’s his look. What an amazing couple of motorcycle enthusiasts. Read this book, catch the fever, and enjoy a laugh or two, on me…
Alaska by Motorcycle – are you sure you know what you are doing? (Adventures of Airborne Andy) (Andrew Vela) [Read: March, 2014]
I read this book on the plan coming back from a business trip to Minneapolis. I discovered that it is remarkably short, and so I was able to read it in about 2 hours in total. That said, this travelogue of a 30 day trip to the North of Alaska and back was entertaining and reasonably well written for a first attempt. Apparently, since writing this book, Andy has been hard at work writing others, so it looks like he found his muse…
I plan on writing a travelogue of some of my trips in the future, so I’ll be careful to think about Stephen’s book from that perspective. With that said, he manages to keep things light, amusing, and to introduce characters and side stories for the life events that happen along the way. There is no arrogance in this book, and it shows the humility of someone that has (done what I’ve done, and simply) immersed themselves into Adventure motorcycle riding. My brother is a writer and journalist, and based on a recent conversation, I can see how it might be very tough to put together your first book, trying to learn the craft, tell a compelling story, and get it done, so that you can view and critique your own work.
I found the book entertaining, and although it is short, it’s fun, and it only costs about $2, so it is worth the money. Well done Andy.
Ride to the Midnight Sun – A Motorcycle Adventure in two weeks and one day (Stephen Mason) [Read: March, 2014]
I don’t recall exactly how I found this book, but I suspect that it was covered in an edition of Motorcycle Owners Association magazine. That said, Stephen Mason is a Scotsman, who was self-deprecating, and doesn’t take himself too seriously.
The book describes his journey to a very northern point of Europe, over a 16 day period. The book was entertaining, and worth buying, but I had a problem with this book because he tended to use a number of slang expressions, which don’t mean anything to me at all. So, rather than being descriptive, and writing in a style that all of us can appreciate, he wrote with the voice of his homeland, which makes it somewhat difficult to fully understand if you’re from the US, as I am.
But, like so many others who write books in this Genre, Stephen is a first time writer, and so he deserves a lot of credit for getting the job done, making his journey fun for himself and for others, and for getting it published. Once again, the book is not expenseive, so I recommend purchasing this, especially if you’re looking for the details, trials and tribulations of taking a trip through the Nordics.
Circle to circle (Shirley & Brian Rix) [Read: December, 2013]
I discovered this book while reading MON, the regular/monthly publication by the Motorcycle Owner’s Network. The book is about two Australian adventure travelers who ride a BMW R1200 GS A from the South Pole (Antarctic Circle) across South America, through Central America, into North America, and across the US and Canada to the Arctic Circle. The book is a travelogue of their journey, and is written in chronological order, using passages from Shirley, and Brian, alternating authorship throughout the book.
I have not met these two, but they strike me as a very endearing couple, who is thoroughly enjoying their RTW travel, while also expressing a strong passion for their native Australia. Throughout the journey, they are regularly connecting with and spending time with friends that they have met over time, and at motorcycle-centric gatherings. I also enjoyed this book, and as I read it, I gained a very important perspective on how to approach my own RTW trip. Clearly, the way that Shirley and Brian approach camaraderie and friendship is rich, and inviting. I wish them well, and encourage others to read this book.
Jupitor’s Travels (Ted Simon) [Read: December, 2013]
Jupitor’s travels is arguably the first book about adventure travel on a motorcycle, written by Ted Simon, they person that started a boom in Motorcycle adventure travel when he embarked on a journey around the world in the ’70s. The book describes Ted’s journey, and it points out once again, how important it is to have friends around the world when you embark on a trip like this. Ted started out with some friends, and made many more over the length of the journey.
I attended the Horizon’s Unlimited get-together in Cambria, CA in 2013, and Ted was the keynote speaker on Saturday night. Unfortunately, our plans did not allow us to stay for the talk by Ted, so we left on Saturday afternoon, and missed his talk. Since the day when we decided to leave early on Saturday, I’ve been kicking myself for missing out on this rare opportunity to meet and hear about the life of a man that has inspired many of us to have a similar adventure.
I enjoyed the book, and recommend it to others. Thank you Ted.
Through dust and darkness (Jeremy Kroeker) [Read: December, 2013]
I had the pleasure of listening to, and meeting Jeremy at the Horizon’s Unlimited meeting in Cambria, CA in October, 2013. I found Jeremy’s storytelling ability to be wonderful, and his self-deprecating humor to be part of his charm. Said another way, Jeremy has a way of describing and admitting to all of the things that the rest of us are only thinking. I purchased multiple copies of his books, and had him sign them to be given away as gifts to friends, and to my son Christopher.
In this book, Jeremy describes his journey across Europe and the Middle East, as he tries to gain access to Iran. The book is filled with interesting anecdotes, and the story is told in a way that only Jeremy can tell it. I recommend this book, and enjoyed it thoroughly.
Long Way Round: Chasing Shadows Across the World (Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman) [Read: November, 2013]
At the time that I read this book, I was busy planning my trip to Patagonia, scheduled for November, 2014. I was talking to friends and acquaintances about adventure travel, RTW travel, Motorcycles and motorcycle gear. A friend of mine, Graham expressed interest in maybe coming along on the Patagonia trip, so he and I spent several days enjoying each others company, and talking about gear, and the difficulties that we might experience when we (if we) went on the trip to Patagonia together. Graham is much like me in many ways. Perhaps the most obvious similarity is his amazing level of enthusiasm about the things he is passionate about. Once he got interested in this trip, he spent numerous (Perhaps countless) hours doing research and trying on all manner and brand of clothing and gear.
As Graham thought about joining me on the trip, he decided to watch the movie Long Way ‘Round. Graham watched it, and then we talked about how difficult of a time that Charlie and Ewan had in some parts of the world, in particular Mongolia, Siberia, and the remote regions across the former Soviet Union. Graham got me thinking… So, I figured I would watch the movie again and get reacquainted with the journey that Charlie and Ewan took. Prior to getting a chance to watch the movie, I was traveling quite a bit, so I decided to read the book of their account. So, in a brief period, I watched the movie (all 9 parts) and read the book.
I can say that reading the book and watching the movie does not, in any way, take away from either of these two ways of telling the same story. Both the book and the movie complement each other, so I can happily recommend that you read the book, and see the movie.
Motorcycle therapy (Jeremy Kroeker) [Read: December, 2013]
Zen, & the art of motorcycle maintenance (Robert Pursing) [Read: October, 2013]
This book is a classic, and while it has the word Motorcycle in the title, it has less to do with motorcycles than it does to do with the philosophies of Zen. As I read through the book, I was always trying to figure out what it was about, and at the end of each chapter, I would proclaim that I knew what the book was about, only to be surprised after I finished the next chapter. I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and would recommend it to all.