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

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.


You can learn more about Liz at her web site,

Thanks for listening. See you on the highway.


Women, Motorcycles and the Road to Empowerment

A Book Review

You would think that with a title like Women, Motorcycles and the Road to Empowerment, this book is only for women, but it is far from that. Author Liz Jansen has given us a good read that is part memoir and part anthology of women who have found motorcycling as a tool for confidence building.

Throughout the 10 chapters of the book, Jansen tells us a portion of her life story, and how motorcycling changed things for her, building her confidence, empowering her to move forward, and finding a career. She also provides the stories of 50 women who likewise are motorcyclists—some having ridden all their life and a few only taking up the sport recently.

One of my favorite stories was Audrey Alexandre, age 78, who began riding in 1947 and quit riding in 2003—that’s 56 years of motorcycling! Women were supposed to ride on the back, not take command of the motorcycle in the 1940s. After describing how she would ride in her dad’s sidecar, she wanted her own motorcycle in high school—her dad excited about it and her mother quite angry. “The freedom got me hooked. The wind is in your face and away you go. My first bike was from the Canadian Army, a 1942 45 cubic inch Harley. … My last bike was a ‘93 turquoise Heritage and I had ‘the wind beneath my wings’ airbrushed on.”

Other stories like Juanita Losch-Finlan who rides a motorcycle with a sidecar so she can take the family, and Andrea Tillmann who is a flight instructor, give us great stories about motorcycling—how they came to it and what it means. Ordinary women whose stories are just as compelling as some of the better known women motorcyclists like Carla King, Tigra Tsujikawa, Stefy Bau and Genevieve Schmitt, and not to take away from any of the others.

There are stories of tours, riding in the dirt, motocross, breaking speed records at the Bonneville Salt Flats, accidents and crashes. Every story is compelling and comes with a lesson learned.

Here is what I found most intriguing. Even though this book focuses on motorcycling and empowerment, it is much more than that. It could be about cars, or airplanes, or bicycles, or horses, or backpacking or whatever. It’s about how individuals found a passion, and in that development of skills and experience, found truly meaningful life lessons that carried them forward past bad relationships, broken careers, and hard times. That passion solidified good relationships and found common ground for families to build upon.

Here’s another thing: This book is not just for the women. Men, you will learn quite a bit and be inspired too.

Liz Jansen is an entrepreneur, adventurer, writer, and rider extraordinaire.

She creates motorcycle experiences that instill a sense of adventure, freedom and community while traveling the transformative road to personal and professional leadership. Liz has worked with individuals, corporate clients, manufacturers, retailers and the public sector.

You can contact Liz through her web site

See you on the highway.