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New motorcycle book reveals how to build an adventure

Mar 1, 2022

‘The Moment Collectors’ features the daring adventures of 20 bike riders T he great thing about motorcycling is that even in the depths of winter - when your bike might well be laid up for the duration - there’s always a way to indulge your passion. Many two-wheeler fans dream the winter months away by watching online films - there are hundreds of them - documenting other riders’ adventures in exotic locations. Better still is to read about them and conjure up your own - mental - images. And motorcycle adventure books don’t come a lot better than when they spring from the keyboard of Sam Manicom. Sam - who once set off on a one-year bike trip that turned into an eight-year, 200,000 mile motorcycle odyssey across 55 countries - knows more about adventure motorcycling than most. Now a full-time self-style motorcycle adventurer, writer and public speaker, Sam has written four books describing that marathon journey, and continues to enjoy fresh, two-wheeled voyages of discovery to this day. His latest book - The Moment Collectors - takes a different path, however. Described as a ‘celebration of motorcycle overlanding’, it gives 20 authors a platform to share their own recollections of great journeys, including the highs and lows, the challenges, and the outcomes. Solo Included in this anthology are some of the best-known motorcycle adventurists in the business, including Claire Elsdon who, after seven years as a City stockbroker, embarked on a radical journey of discovery by getting on her motorcycle and riding solo from London, to Capetown, South Africa. Sam Manicom in Norway / Handout In her chapter ‘The Unthinkable Happens’, Claire recalls riding her Suzuki DRZ 400 the length of Africa, having remarkable encounters with strangers who became friends. Transformed by her experiences, she went on to establish a community-based organisation in Tanzania called MJ Piki (‘brave motorcycling woman’), training local women to ride motorcycles, empowering them to earn incomes by serving their communities. In ‘Far From Home’, writer Geoff Hill - who has ridden an Enfield from Delhi to Belfast, Triumphs from Chile to Alaska, and a BMW around the world - remembers what he describes as the ‘happiest moment of my motorcycling life’. We won’t spoil the story here but his evocative words - accident descriptions apart - would make even non-motorcyclists want to don a helmet, saddle up, and roar off. Elsewhere in this enjoyable, horizon-expanding book, Spencer James Conway and Cathy Nel venture colourfully - memorably - through South America on a Yamaha Tenere 660Z, Shirley Hardy-Rix and Brian Rix traverse Russia and Asia, while Lisa Morris writes engagingly about riding through North America. Murder Other authors include Mark Donham on South America, Tiffany Coates on ‘murder’ in Kyrgyzstan and Christian Brix - who previously completed a 30,000-miles trip across Africa and Asia by bike - on Europe. Sam himself also writes about riding through Europe - possibly one of his less far-flung, but nevertheless fascinating, rides. Reflecting on The Moment Collectors, Sam observes: “It’s a fact that you don’t have to be a special type of person to travel the long road. You do need to be yourself - an individual - and to allow your curiosity and senses to lead you. Exploring the world on the back of a motorcycle is an excellent ambition.” For those, perhaps, who feel inspired to collect their own moments on two wheels, the book ends with a surprising - but useful - section of adverts from approved companies specialising in adventure riding (including, I’m glad to say, a recommendation for my own machine of choice, a BMW R1250 GS). This is followed by what is surely a challenge to all those armchair travellers: nothing less than a detailed, useful directory of links and contacts to put your own motorcycle trip together. The Moment Collectors is published by Adventure Motorcycle Travel Books, at £13.99. Mapping the way - new range of road maps for motorists from the AA Ask any seasoned adventurer and they’ll tell you that sav-nav alone - no matter how good - is a poor substitute for studying a map. At least at some point on your journey. How else do you build up a mental image of where you’re going - or where you’ve gone? Handout The AA - long known for its wide range of frequently updated road atlases - has published its latest haul, for 2022, including atlases for Britain and France, Easy Read editions, and a hardback road atlas featuring plans of 100 cities, towns and ports. The 2022 range features a variety of formats for different users, including an A5 version designed to be kept in a glovebox, large scale A3 formats for closer detail, editions with district mapping for the largest cities in the UK or France, and hardback and leather-bound 35th edition of the Great Britain Road Atlas. I never venture out without a ‘proper’ map, my go-to version in the car being the spiral bound (easier to keep open) ‘AA’s Big Easy Read Britain’ (£14.99), with a scale of 2.5 miles to one inch (great for exploring back roads), and with a decent long-route planner map at the front. British atlases in the AA range contain key features to help users explore, listing the top 300 AA-inspected caravan and camping sites in the UK, National Trust and English Heritage sites, tourist attractions, wider minor roads, crematoriums and other hard-to-find places.

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