Adventure Motorcyclist by Dr Gregory W Frazier.
I saw this book mentioned on Ride in Asia forum so picked it up on kindle and basically read it in a few long sessions on my flights and layovers during the 30 hour journey from Townsville to Warsaw. (and a warning this is a negative review)
Dr Frazier has ridden around the world 6 times and written many books. I was expecting a lot but was mildly disappointed.
Filled with many chapters each of which are self contained short articles I hoped for something like the excellent Motorcycle Messengers books or The Moment Collectors which are filled with interesting and positive stories about motorcycling.
What you get is mostly Dr Frazier having a whine about other adventure riders he has ridden with. Like a well known Australian motorcycle writer who bangs on about machismo and says you’re not a real motorcyclist if you don’t ride every day Dr Frazier dislikes people whom are not professional adventure riders like his business card apparently says he is.
He dislikes people who use a GPS or smartphone or technology in general. Paper maps are fine to look at stationary I think but try finding what exit ramp to take on a busy expressway in Asia with them and you will soon realise the value of having a GPS or smartphone.
Naturally he is one of these people who perhaps out of jealousy takes a swipe at The Long Way Round series. Regardless the actors had support to ride (it is after all a reality tv show) it turned out their show motivated more people to do some moto travelling than any macho chest beating by you know who or this book. Both of which I find demotivating.
For someone who has ridden a million miles he oddly mentions very little about the places he went. A chapter about Philippines pipped my interest until I saw he chose a poor destination there to ride and never talked about any of the other nice riding that country offers.
Some of his opinions I agree with. ADV motorcycling has become a scene with people who compete to load the most luggage and girls who post photos of fake motorcycle travel on Instagram. But these are just small percentage. Social media is full of shitbirds who call themselves digital creators begging you to like and subscribe. Pay no attention. I think the ADV scene is good thing. Lots more people now riding for fun and exploring rather than riding the local scratching road dangerously fast on sports bikes as was all the rage in the 90’s. And Dr Frazier at least points out you do not need a so called ADV bike to go off on an adventure.
I don’t think you have to do anything a certain way to have a adventure ride. You don’t need to be hardcore. You don’t need to camp. You don’t need to ride gravel to have an adventure – go ride SE Asia and you will find plenty of risk on tarmac. An adventure can be different things to different people so there is no rules or right or wrong just people with their expert opinions. But opinions are like assholes – everybody has one.
Dr Frazier says there is no place for emotion when having an adventure ride and takes another swipe at the actors in Long Way Round. Frankly that is bullshit. If riding a motorcycle around a foreign country and seeing new amazing things was not such an emotional thing I would not do it and nor would I even ride a motorcycle if it was not an emotional thing. Four wheels move the body, Two wheels move the soul.
Oh dear, I think I better wrap this up as it has turned into a whine – just like the book ha-ha. Try instead Riding Towards Me which I am reading now and will do a book review once finished. It’s a pretty good yarn so far.