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Travellers' questions that don't fit anywhere else This is an opportunity to ask any question, and post any notice you wish that doesn't fit into one of the other sections.
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  #1  
Old 14 May 2004
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Books for and about Motorcycle Travel

I would like to start a thread on books. I have done a lot of reading as I travel vicariously through others and thought others might want to discuss them.

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Old 14 May 2004
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My top 3 favourite bike travel books (in no particular order):

Jupiter's Travels - Ted Simon
One Man Caravan - Robert Edison Fulton Jr
10 Years on 2 Wheels - Helge Pedersen

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Old 15 May 2004
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I didn't read Jupiter Travels until after I read several other books. It was a pleasent surprise. He does much more than just brag about how many miles he rode, but describes his interactions with different people and their culture.

10 Years was more of a book that inspired me to really try make a extended trip. Maybe it was the photos, I don't know.

I read Odyssey to Ushuia also. Actually one of the first ones because I am in New York and had similar plans. I was disappointed because there seemed to be nothing significant learned from the trip and the disintegration of the friendship in the end. Also, I really didn't care for his bosting about his sexual exploits. The difference on this subject in Jupiter's is just one example of how much better Jupiter's is as a traveloge.

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Old 16 May 2004
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'Jupiters Travels' is still a great book and having read it three or four times, I still find it inspirational. I like the way Ted comes across as normal bloke and not someone on a quest to find the meaning of life.

I read a great book a few years ago which I bought from a car boot called 'Motorcycle touring' It was by two guys, one Brit and a Kiwi I think. It was fairly old, from the late 70's and was their story of riding two Honda XL250's from NZ to the UK. Once in the UK they settled into jobs and bought a couple of larger machines, one was an XS750 and toured Europe. Unfortunately I have no idea who the book was published by or who the authors were.

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Old 17 May 2004
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I think the book to which you refer is Motorcycle Touring by Peter (The Bear) Thoeming and Peter Rae.
They rode 2 XL 250's from Oz to the Guiness factory in Dublin. Great excuse for a ride.
I think Peter Rae went on to become a freelance journalist, got involved with Jag cars and the BMF.
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Old 17 May 2004
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Yep thats the one. Great book, highly entertaining. Probably been out of print for years though.

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Old 17 May 2004
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At the moment I am halfway through "Investment Biker" by Jim Rogers. He did this RTW trip in 1990 on BMW road bikes - including across siberia & china. Very interesting commentary on social, political & economic situations as well as general biking / travel stuff.
His 2nd book "Adventure Capitalist" is still sitting on the shelf waiting for the 1st to be finished.

Great reading - recommended.
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Old 18 May 2004
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i'd have to disagree about mr rogers' book. i tried to read it but gave up half way through. what about the bit where his riding partner (wife/ girlfriend?) has a tantrum in russia somewhere? how does he solve it? buys her a new bike...

not my style (or budget)
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Old 18 May 2004
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Che Guevara's - The Motorcycle Diaries...
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Old 18 May 2004
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I have to agree with Chris. 'Ivestment Biker' is the best cure for insomnia I've ever tried to read.

Another book, which I did finish but didn't think much of, was 'Running with the moon' Can't remember why I thought that, just remember I did (early onset of senility)

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Old 18 May 2004
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I enjoyed Ed Culberson's book on crossing the Darien Gap. It pretty much answered the question on why virtually no one dares to cross this inhospitable area.

A bit off the subject of motorcycling, but definately for those who love adventure travel, any of the books from Robert Young Pelton are fantastic. I just got the latest edition of "The World's Most Dangerous Places" and "The Hunter, The Hammer and Heaven" was also terrific. Reading RYPs books motivate me as well as anyone, he is one hell of an adventurer!

-Dave
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Old 15 Jun 2004
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I never had been on a motorcycle before I read "Running With The Moon" by Jonny Bealby. I was on the Trans-Siberian railway somewhere in the middle of the ulu and suddenly decided this was the way forward for my trip back to the UK.

A year later I was sitting on an Enfield Bullet in Delhi learning to ride or trying avoid death before heading back to the UK. The trip even proved to be as much of an adventure as the book suggested it would be. I guess it depends on your circumstances but for me this was an inspirational read.

As I'm in a cheap internet cafe and the rain is beating down, I will continue. "Investment Biker" was a strange one - a bit dull really and difficult to associate with the author.

Having said that, and being a bit controversial now, "Jupiters Travels" whilst a classic of its genre, seemed to get a bit lost in California and never really got into the meat and bones of the trans-Asia bit of the trip. How I would have loved to have found out about the ride across Afghanistan. Look forward to JT2.

With an interest in Bullet travel, I have to mention "Bullet up the Grand Trunk Road" by Jonathon Gregson and "Bitten by the Bullet" by Steve K (sorry forgotten his surname). First one is a very readable historical account of modern Indian history on a trip from Calcutta to Peshawar. Bit heavy going if you want to hear all about the bike though. Second one seemed more of a plug for Steve's tours. This is no bad thing though - I ran into one of Steve's groups in Rajastan and it looked like great fun.

Can I mention my least favourite bike book? Of course I can. "Triumph Around The World". Not sure what the motives are for not taking a map and expecting to be back home within one year. Carrying an illegal firearm too and getting shot in the head in Colombia. Hmmmmmmmmm


[This message has been edited by mattpope (edited 14 June 2004).]
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Old 3 Jul 2004
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I agree the JT get lost in places. I thought the last 1/4 was basically a rush to get home. Nevertheless, there are many great chapters and compared to the rest of the books it stands out IMHO.

I also agree the Peyton's DP series is very informative and motivating. In fact, I decided not to go to Colombia because he strongly advises against going.

A little off topic, but Blue Highways was a great read. I always thought of trying to retrace that trip on a motorcycle.
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Old 3 Jul 2004
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I read Jupiters travels many years ago when I was 18 and decided then that that was what I wanted to do and so far I have managed one trip to Australia from the UK and one to Capetown, just the Americas now to have done a RTW, albeit in 3 stages.
One book on motorcycle travel I would recommend is Sparing with Charlie by Christopher Hunt, very funny account of his travels in Vietnam by Russian 2 stroke
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  #15  
Old 4 Jul 2004
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How about "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance", it gets way of topic concerning bike travels, but it´s one of my all time favourites.
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