Dedicated to all motorcycle lovers who are yet to swing their legs around their pretty monstrous bikes and go on the wildest motorcycle adventure.
I am a writer, a reader, an over-thinker. Umm…. a motorcycle lover…? I do write about motorcycles and to date I have mastered the art of sifting through plethora of articles/blogs online to understand the world of motorcycles. In the last 4 months of absorbing all that I have managed to read about bikes, ice racing, meditation… I came across a set of motorcycle adventure books. Apparently, they are books that should definitely be read by bike lovers and I am guessing the same goes for motorcycle writers? Till now, I have only managed to read the synopsis of each of these books that are available today and came to a realization of how thrilling it will be to sit with a cup of steaming coffee mocha and immerse myself in one of these books.
I am yet to start reading because I am so confused about which one to pick. How about you help me decide? Here are the top 5 motorcycle adventure books that according to me will be a brilliant read and could even be somewhat life-changing. Life-altering for those who are yet to traverse through the unknown and bag an irreplaceable and unforgettable motorcycle adventure!
# Jupiter’s Travels by Ted Simon
Imaging going on a four-year voyage around the world on a motorcycle. Yes, as of now we can only imagine. This is a journal by Ted Simon who set on this voyage on his old Triumph bike. He went around the world covering 45 countries and 100,000 km. This trip was taken in the 1970’s and is more than just a trip. For Ted, it was a philosophical journey in which he encountered the physical realities of disasters and inner realities of strength. He faced challenges that a motorcyclist who is also a traveler might confront in one of his crazy trips – from how a random stranger gets treated as a spy in one city to how beautifully one gets welcomed in another.
This adventurous journey soon inspired the motorcycle freak Ewan McGregor and he along with another motorcycle lover Charley Boorman jumped on their motorcycles to go on a similar journey. They went from London to New York via Europe and thundered down to Asia and North America. This journey was quite different since here Ewan and Charley were accompanied by TV cameras and hence you get to see them travel and meet Ted Simon in a popular Ewan McGregor movie “Long Way Round”.
# One Man Caravan by Robert Edison Fulton Jr.
Motorcycle adventures have lost some part of that electrified ‘thrilling’ element because of the presence of GPS Navigation, mobile phones, cooler gadgets, more clean and mountable routes. However, just close your eyes for a couple of minutes and picture yourself in one of those antediluvian road path that needs to be ‘roughed’ through, no GPS or mobile phones to bank your life upon – only the absolute unknown roads to be traversed through. Sends shivers down your spine, doesn’t it? Well, Fulton did it. He went on this 18-month journey when Second World War was causing destruction – a time when probably stepping out to buy a loaf of bread was a calculated journey.
Fulton, however, managed to travel from London to Tokyo – a momentous journey in the time of Second World War. Few reviewers call it a vintage classic because Fulton, the real hero, did what would have been insurmountable by most and in the period when one wouldn’t even think of venturing out to meet their next-door neighbor.
# Around the world on a motorcycle 1928 – 1936 by Zoltan Sulkowsky
Ted Simon travelled for 4 years and covered 48 countries. We call it epic shit. What will you call the duos who travelled for 8 years, covered 68 countries and more than 100,000 miles? Legendary? Legendary. Two Hungarians, Zoltan along with a friend, unleashed their passion for travel by jumping on their motorcycles and traveling the world. They bought ‘used’ Harley Davidson J model and set off to places that were probably not too easy to mount in those days and they definitely weren’t greeted with frequent gas stations. I am glad, for all of us who are here, that I discovered this book in 2018 when English print is available. Till 2007, I bet only those who could read or at least decipher the Hungarian language treated themselves to such a legendary read.
# Forks: A quest for culture, cuisine and connection by Allan Karl
Books are written in many forms. What really quenches my thirst and then pushes me for more is the enigmatic way in which writers can transport you to a parallel universe. This book does have a magnetic pull especially because the narration is said to be amusing. Post-divorce and left without a job, Allan Karl decided to do away all his belongings. He then set off to travel the world on his motorcycle. In three years he travelled 62,000 miles across 35 countries in 5 continents. In Forks, he shares his adventures through stories, high quality photos and recipes with local flavor. Most interesting about this book is his experience with what he calls “the human connection”. – Joeri, Bike Brewers
# Tracking Marco Polo by Tim Severin
In 1961, a very enthusiastic Geography student at Oxford wanted to traverse the path that Marco Polo might have navigated through on his way to China. Tim Severin along with 3 of his inexperienced motorcyclist friends jumped into two BSA – 650’s with sidecars. Being inexperienced and probably still on the brink of mastering the skills, it was a tough journey for all of them. One of the motorcyclists returned home once all the four motorcyclists reached Kabul. The other three continued their journey and what happened next remains a mystery. Well, mystery till we actually sit down with the book and read. According to a few, the 3 travelers along with the motorcycle were loaded on to the ship. Ship. Ship? I am pretty sure this will be quite an interesting read.
Now that I have noted down the synopsis of all the 5 books that I can’t wait to get my hands on, I am more confused than ever. Which one do I start with? They all seem so enthralling! Which one will you pick first? I think, over think, and come to a conclusion that I would like to start with One Man Caravan. The fact that our brave Fulton managed to go on a motorcycle adventure during one of the most devastating times is not just epic or legendary but unfathomable. Thinking about it gives me the jitters and I feel reading it will be a journey that is going to be extraordinary! Let me know the book that you would like to start with or maybe tell me about the one you have already read and it left you speechless or in this case dumbstruck. Cheers!