Review: Bonneville Go or Bust

In the incredibly hot summer of 2012, Zoë Cano of England, started out on a dream of a lifetime to ride a Triumph Bonneville across America from Boston to Los Angeles. It was four years in the planning. Last year, I interviewed her about her travels, and now the dream has continued with the publishing of her book Bonneville Go or Bust, published by Road Dog Publications.

Before the book, and only reading her blog, I was very impressed with her adventure. That’s what prompted the first interview. Now, having read the book from cover to cover, I am in awe. Zoë Cano is a wonderful writer and she spins the tale of her travels as only a talented writer can do.

We have tried to conduct another interview, but schedules and a five-hour international difference in time have kept that at bay. So, I wanted to get this review out. You will want to buy a copy of her book, or maybe give a copy to a friend.

With the publication of her book, Zoë Cano caught the attention of the motorcycling community including Triumph Motorcycles. She has been busy making appearances in Europe at places like the famous Ace Café, and recently, Triumph of America brought her to the USA for an appearance at the Barber Museum Vintage Days and also AIMExpo. Yes, she has been a very busy lady, and you can keep up with her activities and book signing events on her blog.

It sure seems like a dream come true, and it all began with that ride across America—her dream ride, the one that took her four years of planning. I’m not sure she expected all of this success and attention.

Zoë takes us on a journey from Boston where she picks up a rental Triumph Bonneville—like the one she owns back in England—and travels a route of back roads and busy interstates staying at out of the way places and visiting the real America of local communities. What is most amazing is that she spent four years planning her route, and she kept to that schedule almost perfectly. As I read about the places she stayed and ate, I found myself saying, “I’d like to go there.”

Zoë Cano is not a stranger to the United States having a few friends scattered across the country. She certainly makes friends easily, and even meets a few road angels along the way. It’s a fascinating read, one that will make it hard to put the book down. Involved with equestrian events in Europe, and riding two wheels, she finds a lot of common ground in America with cowboys and bikers, all who find her journey fascinating and lend a hand on a few occasions. Upon reaching Los Angeles, she turns in her rental Bonneville and flies home with the reality of a concluded journey that she wished would continue. And as a reader, so do I.

As I was preparing to write this review, I showed this book to my Mom, who looked at the cover, thumbed through the pages, asked me about it, and then said, “When you’re done reading it, I’d like to read it. It looks interesting.” THAT from my 86-year-old mother who absolutely forbade me to own a motorcycle when I was in high school.

The book is very well written. It’s a page turner, and you’ll have a tough time putting it down, wanting to read about the next stage of her journey. It is much more than a motorcycle travelogue, it is a travelogue of a dream come true with encounters with other riders, people, cowboys, horses, museums, great places to stay, and restaurants. It could be a travel guide for crossing the country.

The unexpected bonus of the book is the appendix, complete with details about the motorcycle, gear she carried, costs of her travels, and a list of her lodging accommodations and eateries. The extra bonus in the appendix is her “Essential Music for the American Adventure,” which could easily be anybody’s list of travel music, and it has me humming “Take it Easy” by Jackson Browne as I write this review!

Thank you, Zoë, for your wonderful book. I think this one will be a classic, maybe even reaching the same status as that other Triumph rider in the 1970s, Ted Simon, who rode his Triumph around the world.

Thanks for reading. I’ll see you out on the highway.

Brent

P.S. I bought my first motorcycle after graduating from high school. Only recently did I learn of my mother’s youthful motorcycling adventures. Smile

A Conversation with Alison DeLapp

After riding through the National Parks of the northwest, and then riding as far north in Alaska as possible, Alison DeLapp decided that her next big adventure was to ride south as far as possible, Terra del Fuego, the southern most point of South America.

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Her motorcycle adventure took about four and a half months from her start in California. She found other adventurers to ride with along the way, but spent 25 days riding by herself.

She describes her travels and how she prepared for her adventure.

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Here is our conversation:

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You can read more about Alison’s travels on her web site, Alison’s Wanderland.

Thanks for listening.

See you on the highway.

Brent

 

 

 

 

A Conversation with Liz Jansen

Book: Women, Motorcycles and the Road to EmpowermentLiz Jansen started riding motorcycles when she was a kid, and grew up molded into the norms of society. But, leading up to 2003, she became dissatisfied with the direction her life was taking, and decided to make some changes. In 2003, she took a two-month long odyssey to think and reflect on what her life should be. It’s no wonder that motorcycling played a big role in her decisions.

Today, Liz is a published author, speaker, and coach. She offers workshops and retreats. She writes on her web site, “I help people who are considering change, dealing with change or going through life transitions to create the life they want.”

I reviewed her book about six months ago, and it is a fascinating read, not so much about motorcycling, but about the efforts of women to find empowerment. This book could be about backpacking, or long-distance bicycling, or wilderness trekking. It’s main focus is finding empowerment and self discovery.

Liz Jansen

 

 

Liz conducts seminars and retreats, and recently started producing webinars, including “Getting Started with Solo Travel” and “Fear Busting.” In January, she will be presenting a seminar on solo travel and the International Motorcycle Show in Toronto. It will be the same presentation given each day of the show. In late January, she will offer a premium webinar on the same subjects. She says the winter months are perfect for planning those summer travels.

And of course, she plans to get in a few of her own adventures this year, destinations yet to be determined, but has a few ideas.

Liz and I had wanted to do this interview quite some time ago, when the first book review was produced. We finally managed to connect using Skype. Our conversation was recorded December 3, 2012.

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You can learn more about Liz at her web site, www.LizJansen.com.

Thanks for listening. See you on the highway.

Brent

A conversation with Sam Manicom

Into Africa by Sam ManicomSam Manicom had only been riding motorcycles for three months when he started out to ride around the world on his BMW motorcycle. His lack of riding experience and riding skills might be considered by some to be foolhardy, but it sure provided the fuel for misadventures and a really good read. He wrote and published his first installment of the adventure, Into Africa, and then the subsequent installments, Under Asian Skies, Distant Suns and Tortillas to Totems.

Into Africa begins with a story from the middle of his African adventure, an accident in Tanzania that includes loss of limb, police, jail, fear, African courts, and the incredible generosity of strangers, and fear. Did I mention fear? Sam craftily lays out the scenario and action, and the only way to describe the printed word is “it’s a page turner.” You will not be able to put the book down, or in the case of the new audio release, stop listening to Sam tell his story.

Sam says he only had two concerns, fears actually, in setting out on an around-the-world motorcycle adventure, having an accident and ending up in jail somewhere. He experienced those fears and survived to tell his stories.

Sam Manicom

Encouraged by readers and fans, Sam was pressed to produce one of his books in an audio book format, and the recently released Into Africa audio book is now available. Printed copies of the books are available directly from Sam’s web site or from Aerostich if you live in North America. Visit the web site for details, www.Sam-Manicom.com. You can listen to sample of the audio book. All of the e-books are available in Kindle format from Amazon.

With the release of the audio book, Sam and I had chatted for a couple of months about an interview. His travels to Spain and my own schedule hindered a conversation until recently.

With Sam in Great Britain, and I in the USA, we decided to “chat” using Skype, and I recorded the conversation. The audio is incredible. It sounds like we’re sitting in the same room rather than thousands of miles apart.

Here is our conversation, recorded November 8, 2012.

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Thanks for listening. See you on the highway.

Brent