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 Zoe Cano, London

blogger-image--200477656Here in the USA, many adventure motorcyclists dream of riding outside the country, riding to some far away place, or going around the world. Of course, there are those here who believe there is more than enough to see in the USA in a lifetime.

Last year, I followed the Tweets and posts of Bonneville Adventure and found it very interesting that one rider’s goal was to ride across America on a motorcycle.

Zoe Cano, of London, England, had a dream—to return to the United States and see the country by motorcycle. Her bucket list item became an obsession, making choices, establishing priorities, and planning for four years to make it a reality. In the summer of 2012, she packed her bags, flew to the states, picked up a Triumph Bonneville T100, and started out across the country on a ride of a lifetime.

Along the way, she hit all the towns and places she planned, met friends along the way, found adventure, hung out with cowboys, and breathed in the greatness of the countryside and out of the way places.

Upon reaching her destination, she turned in her Bonneville, and flew back to her home in London, where she is working on a book about fulfilling one’s dreams.

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Here’s our conversation:

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You can read about her adventures on her web site, Bonneville Adventure.

Thanks for listening.

See you on the highway.

Brent

Which motorcycle would you prefer?

Which motorcycle would you prefer to own, ride and maintain?

A Triumph Bonneville T100 with a solo seat?

 

Triumph Bonneville T100 Black

Or a Moto Guzzi V7 Stone, due out in late 2012 as  2013 model?

V7_stone_007

I flip flop back and forth like a wishy-washy politician! Smile

Which one would you want … and why? Leave a comment.

See you on the highway. (probably on my V-Strom)

Brent

Kicking more tires, riding season is upon us

It has to be the springtime atmosphere. I was out on the motorcycle on Saturday, and riding is on my mind, which of course has me thinking and looking … AGAIN. I’ve spent too much time looking and dreaming. Of course, that may be the fun of it, or it could be obsessive compulsive disorder or maybe adult attention deficit disorder. Whatever.

Triumph Tiger 800 XC

The last time I told my wife I was going to buy a new helmet, I came home with a Trek 7300. “Honey, look! I bought a new helmet and they threw in a bicycle!” To this day, I don’t think she believed all of that story. Not that there is a hint or relationship between buying a new helmet and a new bike, but I just ordered a new motorcycle helmet. My main and rational excuse: the old one leaks around the face shield in the rain. I’ve wanted a white helmet for some time, so white it is, and I’ve said repeatedly for the past two years, my next bike is going to be white. It’s a fashion statement.

Here’s a bike in white: Triumph Tiger 800 XC. Is this just California Dreaming? It’s like the girl next door. You’ve been around her for a while, and just now noticing her.

See you on the highway.

Brent

Kicking some more motorcycle tires

I think it might be unreasonable to own two adventure motorcycles. Which one would I ride? No, I think something completely different is in order.

I have looked at the Triumph Bonnevilles and Scramblers for a long time. Perhaps they remind me of my youth. Maybe it’s just the old school nostalgia. For some reason, I keep coming back to them as a potential second bike. So I went to Joe’s Cycle in Dayton to throw a leg over a classic motorcycle.

There was one Bonneville T100 on the floor in a black and grey paint scheme. The other Bonnevilles were an SE and a standard—these do not have quite the appointments of the T100. They have cast wheels with a 17” wheel on the front. The T100 has a lot more chrome and wire-spoke wheels with a 19” wheel in front. The T100 looks nice, and there is also a cranberry and white paint scheme.

Also available is the Jet Black T100, and it’s not quite as much chrome. If you have not used the Create My Triumph feature on the Triumph Motorcycles web site, you are in for a treat. You can change the colors and add options or accessories to see exactly what your motorcycle will look like. Here is my fantasy:

Bonneville T100 Black

I know. You’re looking at that Triumph Bonneville T100 with a solo seat and asking, “Where is the passenger gonna sit?” My response is, “What passenger?” Smile Does that look cool or what? I can dream, can’t I?

See you on the highway.

Brent