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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.


  1. Good shit kicking….er investigative reporting. Thanks for the tip, won’t be reading this anytime soon.
    Agreed about Ewen and Charlie. Probably helped more people onto bikes than anyone else in recent years. I still enjoyed it although I haven’t watched the other 2 series they did. I did try with the second but as soon as I saw the wife wanted in I knew this wasn’t going to be good and stopped watching.

    • Hi Steve,

      No.2 was not as good but No.3 is well worth watching for the superb photography. Really makes me want to see Chile and Argentina, which I hope to do in couple years.

  2. LOL! I for one very much enjoy your sometimes acerbic reviews.

    “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.”

    I find this tendency surprisingly common in travel writers, bloggers and vloggers. You would think that considering the significant investment of time, money and effort it takes to travel that people would bother to do some proper research into the places they were visiting and how to make the most of their time there. This kind of thing was excusable back in the 80s before the internet but is purely down to laziness or stupidity these days with all the resources we have online. I get the impression Warren that your trips are well planned.

    • Hi Tim,

      Yes I know some riders like to go with no plan. Not sure that was the case in this instance. I like exploring too. In some countries I find that works better than others.
      When I am not off on a ride I am reading about other peoples rides and making routes for rides. Half the fun is the research, travelling virtually until it is time to go for real.

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