Emily-Jane Brain checks out stuff to fill the gaps in your bookshelf and places to while away your time online
TITLE: Lois on the Loose AUTHOR: Lois Pryce
I’m meant to be writing this issue’s ‘Fab Trips’ column, but instead, I’ve got my nose stuck in Lois on the Loose again (shhh! Don’t tell Alun). Maybe it’s the well-measured tongue-in-cheek humour and sense of fun which suck you into Pryce’s adventures.
Or maybe it’s her unassuming style; the humanness which reminds the reader she’s just an average gal on a motorcycle, doing what she loves. Either way Lois on the Loose is hard to put down and definitely aggravates itchy-feet syndrome. The book follows Pryce on her first solo long-distance motorcycle adventure through the Americas. From the early planning stages (‘so excited I couldn’t sleep!’) to bear encounters and a night spent in a Mexican brothel, Pryce recounts every moment of life on the road with refreshing honesty and the kind of self-effacing witticism that’s sure to raise a smile. £8.99 from ww.loisontheloose.com
TITLE: Riding with the Beast AUTHOR: Ian Mutch
What would you do if, several months into a relationship, you discovered that your girlfriend had turned into a Grizzly bear? This situation may sound all too familiar to some, but motorcycle journo and MAG founder member Ian Mutch lived the experience tooth and claw when he took his ursine pillion to Wales aboard a BMW R100RS. It was the winter of 1991 (the year the Wye froze) and their destination was an ice-bound caravan in the Wye Valley. (Suddenly the extended bear metaphor becomes a little more understandable, no?)
This trip was followed by one to Glastonbury and then a two-month overlander to Israel via France, Italy and Greece on a Harley-Davidson. The ‘Beast’ went with Mutch on both occasions and by all accounts he barely made it back alive. Add some colourful characters by the names of Sam the Prophet, David the Cynic and Darcy the Donkey, whom they meet in Jerusalem, and you’ve got a surreal motorcycle adventure of biblical proportions. £6.99 from www.mutchmotorcyclebooks.com
TITLE: Motorcycle Touring Bible AUTHOR: Fred Rau
A comprehensive guide to motorcycle touring, it’s a bit novel in its approach, with each chapter being introduced by a ‘parable’ from author Rau’s own catalogue of biking experience – a nice touch, helping to make what’s essentially a reference book feel a bit more like bedtime reading. From choosing the right bike for you, to planning the trip and packing the right kind of gear, Rau addresses every aspect of touring in easy-to manage chunks and inspirational photos. A great resource for first-time tourers, the only short fall being that some advice applies more to American ABRs. There are plenty of great universal tips, however, and enough info for us Brits to fill in the gaps where necessary. £17.99 from www.motorbooks.com
TITLE: The University of Grave Roads AUTHOR: Rene Cormier
If you love people as much as places and believe that it’s the folks you meet who make the journey, then this book would be a set text in your school of travel thought. University follows Canadian author Cormier on a five-year (it was meant to be three, but who’s counting?) RTW voyage of discovery on a 1986 BMW R100 GSPD. Even running out of money half way doesn’t deter Cormier from his 41-country 95,000-mile route as he submerges himself in the culture of every place he visits at every opportunity he gets, from hanging out with the Himba in Namibia to talking hockey with border guards in the Pamir and watching the equinox with thousands of pilgrims in Teotihuacán, Mexico. The book was awarded bronze in the Travel Essay category at the 2010 Independent Publisher Book Award and it’s not hard to see why. $56 (£35) www.universityofgravelroads.com
For all things Ted. Join Mr Simon online for ride news and updates on his current whereabouts, and pics from his latest adventures. Here you can read extracts from Simon’s books, including highlights from his time in Kenya, Egypt, Australia, Bali, Sudan and Colombia, and order copies and DVDs too. The site’s updated sporadically, but it’s worth keeping an eye out for new travel tales and useful links from the man himself.