Our selection of motorcycle travel literature
The current conditions are still not optimal for motorbike riding (that’s quite an understatement). And some of you may have dropped their license plates for the winter season. So many of you might start to feel a weird sensation in the right wrist and become eager to go for a ride out!
Also, to help you wait, and after we presented you our selection of the best motorcycle movies (here), we prepared you a small selection of some reference books on travel literature (and motorbike riding).selection-literature-travel-motorbike
This is not an exhaustive list, but certainly our favorites. Books that take us on a journey, through the pen of their author. Books that do good and that open up perspectives, in a somewhat gloomy period (another understatement). And in the end, they especially allow us to travel, without moving from our sofa. So we hope you like this selection and, above all, enjoy reading them.
Ride on !
Jupiter’s travels, Ted Simon
“I was aiming for total independence and wanted to travel as Linvingston or Christopher Columbus did, as if anything could happen, nothing was predictable. It was going to be the trip of my life, the one that millions of people dream of and never take, and I wanted to live up to those dreams. ”
This is what the author has to say about it . “It’s a story of travel and adventure in every dimension and most of those who have traveled the world after reading it haven’t even considered ever getting on a motorcycle. […] It was not a very vague idea or wish, rather a strong conviction. I knew the instant that this desire occurred to me that it would come true and how I would achieve it. But I couldn’t say why I immediately thought of the motorcycle. I didn’t own one, I didn’t even have the license. ”
It shows you a little what the guy is made of. He started off in 1973, riding a Triumph Tiger Hundred 500 (that started to lose oil the minute he left the factory), and traveled finally 125,000km, crossing 46 countries, through Africa (from north to south), Latin America then North, New Zealand, Australia, South-East Asia, Central Asia and Eastern Europe.
The Way of the World, Nicolas Bouvier
So yes, Nicolas Bouvier was not a biker and began his journey with his friend, Thierry Verney, behind the wheel of the Fiat Topolino. BUT Nicolas Bouvier is a writer, photographer and traveler from Switzerland (Romand) and traveled in the 1950s, in an era when your insurance/road-assistance did not come to rescue you in the event of a breakdown, and even less in these corners of the world (Afghanistan, Pakistan, etc.). The author, 24yo at the time of the first road-trip, introduces us to the world of that time and describes his adventures, made up of encounters, mutual aid, and discoveries, all without ever making a value judgment. In short, this book has become one of the classics of travel literature, and with good reason. In short, a book that all adventurers or people who love the great outdoors should read.
And I followed the wind, Anne-France Dautheville
Anne-France Dautheville took part, in the early 1970s, in the Raid Orion, between Paris and Isfahan, then continued her journey to Afghanistan and then Pakistan. Out of a total of 92 at the start, only 4 (!!) motorcyclists will cross the finish line. She then discovered a passion for motorcycles, the pleasure of traveling the roads, according to her encounters.
On her return to Paris, some badmouthed her and said that she received assistance and that is why she crossed the finish line. Stung in her pride, and to prove them wrong, she decided to undertake around-the-world roadtrip, on a little Kawasaki 100cc (because of its light build). She rode out through Canada and Alaska, Japan, India, Pakistan, etc. In short, this story will show you what wood this girl is made of! And frankly, we say hats off! And for anyone who thinks that a woman has nothing to do on a motorcycle, you might as well reconsider your judgment!
Girl on a motorcycle
This book, based on the story of Anne-France Dautheville, about which we spoke to you just before, should awaken the instinct of biker-adventurer of our youngest female… and male readers. We do not discriminate! Indeed, in this 52-page book, beautifully illustrated, our future bikers will follow the narrator on her solo round the world trip, carried out in the 70s. In addition, they will learn to change a wheel, make a fire, prepare all the equipment for such an epic journey … In short, it is a superb gift idea to arouse vocations! It is also translated into German (das Mädchen auf dem Motorrad) and French (La fille a moto). More info on the publisher’s website (here)
Two wheels South, A motorcycle adventure from New York to Ushuaia, Matias Corea
Sometimes we need life to give us a good slap in the face, to question ourselves and take a 180 degree turn, to get out of a life that is only half fulfilling.
It is the death of his sister Soledad, mowed down by a sudden illness, that will push Matias onto the road, taking his friend Joel with him along the way. Riding two Bavarian mounts from the 80s – an R80 GS and an R80 ST – they will reach Ushuaia, starting off their journey in Brooklyn. A long descent, of more than 30,000km throughout Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Colombia, Peru, Chile, etc., made of encounters, discoveries but also hassles: administrative hassles at customs, punctures and an accident that will not prevent them from completing their odyssey. In short, a beautiful book, with more than 300 photos, and above all a very informative section on the preparation of the bikes and the equipment to take on such a journey (camping gear, spare parts, tools, etc.).
Berezina, Sylvain Tesson
Sylvain Tesson, writer and adventurer of modern times, has made many trips on two wheels: India, Cambodia, Latin America, etc. He is one of those insatiable travelers for whom, the end of the day and the setting up of the bivouac, represents the greatest punishment. He has written many books about his adventures, and we can’t tell you which one is our favorite. However, this one (Berezina) lends itself well to the present period. Literally (given the current Weather) and figuratively (since we still cannot see the end of this pandemic)!
In 2012, the author embarked on Ural sidecars on an epic journey to commemorate the bicentenary of the retreat from Russia. It takes the same route at the same time of the year. And you might as well say that with such cold, it is in your interest to layer up clothes so as not to lose a finger or freeze your nuts.
In short, with his unique style, his choice of words always right, Tesson recounts with precision what was the exhausting daily life of the grumblers of the Grande Armée. Note that nearly 45,000 of them died in absolutely appalling conditions. In short, it is by reading this story, going back and forth between history and this extraordinary journey that the expression “this is the Bérézina” will take on its full meaning.
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values, Robert Maynard Pirsig
Robert Pirsig is first and foremost a symbol of tenacity, since he will eventually find a publisher willing to publish his autobiography after having faced … 121 refusals !!
An exceptional man, a writer and a philospher, and equally exceptionally intelligent (170 of IQ), Robert narrates his ride, with his son, across North America, from Minneapolis to San Francisco. Two on their motorbike, discovering the American roads where they bump into alternately Newton or Kerouac, but also repair sometime a carburetor, sometimes a piston. In short, this story, which brings philosophers and thinkers into the discussion, is above all a meditation on the meaning of life and on the relationship of man to modernity.
The motorcycle diaries, Ernesto Guevara
We were telling you about this initiatory journey, undertaken by “Che”, in our selection of films on motorcycles (here). However, in order to stick as close as possible to the spirit of its author, what better way than to read the book? In short, this 10’000km road-trip, on a Norton 500, called La Poderosa (the Mighty one) will last nearly nine months and will take the Che through Latin America, where it will be faced with social misery and injustices. This formative odyssey will greatly influence his life choices and guide him in his Marxist revolution. In short, another must read.
Ride out! Motorcycle Roadtrips and Adventures
To return to a little more lighthearted book, this beautiful 272-pages book, and richly illustrated, offers nearly 28 destinations around the world, which should allow you to combine pleasure on two wheels with discovery, wonder and thirst for wide open spaces. From the Silk Road, into the arid Californian desert, through the wild forests of Tasmania, to the passes of northern Italy, this book should give you inspiration for your next trip. Or help you to day dream a little while waiting for the next travel. Note that each itinerary is accompanied by a map as well as practical information and detailed advice on the journey. Available on the publisher’s online shop (here).