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.


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

Testing the Anakee 3 motorcycle tire Part 1

I am ready for a new rear tire on the V-Strom, but decided to wait until Spring. That turned out to be a fortunate decision.

A couple of weeks ago, Glen from Sport Tour called to say their Michelin rep is looking for someone who could write a review for a new motorcycle tire they have developed for the adventure bike market—like the V-Strom. Would I be interested in testing a set of tires? Tell me more, I said. What are the conditions?


Turns out, Michelin is looking for an honest and fair review of this new tire, and so I agreed to write a review and also produce a couple of You Tube videos.

In that first phone conversation, Glen said, “They look different.” Yes. They are quite different looking from the typical adventure tire. But, that seems to be part of Michelin’s research and design. Most adventure bike miles are on paved roads, so it appears there is a sport tire component to the design. The deep tread appears to be for the unpaved roads, and the interesting part of the tread are those little bevels and wedge cuts. Michelin says the tire is designed to release mud and gravel and give the tire more bite in the dirt. Interesting. This could truly be an adventure.

After agreeing to write the reviews, the tires were mounted on the wheels, and I installed them on the bike.

Here’s Part 1 of the video review:

Testing Michelin’s new Anakee 3 motorcycle tire


After producing that video, I had the opportunity to take the bike out for a few more miles. I purposefully chose a couple of local roads that have a twisting, up/down hill component with an off camber surface. I wanted to see how these tires were going to grip, and attempt to compare them to tires I am comfortable with—the Metzeler Tourance.

I was quite surprised. These tires have a very good trip on the twisties. I found myself leaning through the curves at a higher than my usual pace. And, the bike just tracked where it was pointed. Secondly, and this one is very hard to quantify, I think these tires are actually quieter on the road than the Tourance.

Granted, this is just a first impression, but it is a very positive one. The real test of these tires is yet to come, and how many miles will I get out of them. The Michelin rep wants them tested “all the way to the end.”

Look for more review of these tires in the upcoming riding season.

See you on the highway.