I to admit that I am a bit of a junkie for any book describing international adventures on motorcycle. Ever since 1st stumbling onto “A Long Way Round” with Ewan and Charley a few years ago, I can’t seem to get enough of this stuff.
However, The University of Gravel Roads goes beyond many of the typical stories of adventure motorcycle travel. As Rene writes about his 4-yr, 95,000 mile trip and its challenges of the road (or lack thereof), I was pulled into the trip, sharing the rider’s worries and fears; feeling great relief when the border guards or locals didn’t take him hostage or throw him in jail.
This is a great tale of courage and resourcefulness, by a guy who was essentially solo around the world on a limited budget and undefined challenges of weather, governmental roadblocks (real and administrative), mechanical issues, and just about anything else you could think of on such a trip. I couldn’t help but empathize with the feelings of regret about initially inviting a companion, then realizing that much of the romance of the trip began to ebb with the burden of dealing with someone else’s needs in such a rugged and uncertain undertaking.
I found myself absorbed in the sometimes clunky, journalistic portrayal of the adventure and the personal challenges; but all with a sense of adventure from a guy who seems to be an adventurer 1st and a writer second. Great photos and overall great read. If you have any inclination to this type of journey, get a copy if you can find one and settle in for an armchair adventure that I am sure you will enjoy. Think it is about $35-$40 on Amazon or directly from the book’s web site (above).