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Bonjour! Is this Italy? - A Hapless Biker's Guide to Europe [Illustrated] [Paperback]

Kevin Turner
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
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Book Description

15 May 2012
Following his dismissal from a job he never should have had, the author packs a tent, some snacks, and a suit, and sets out on a two-wheeled adventure across Europe. With no idea where he's going, and only two very large and confusing maps to rely on, he heads out to prove that planning and forethought are the very antithesis of a motorcycle adventure. Is This Italy? offers a unique and often hilarious insight into the challenges and excitement afforded by a lone motorcycle journey though Europe. In his quest to escape the frantic nature of London life, Kevin Turner heads south across France, crossing the Alps into Italy, and onto Rome, before returning via Germany - and the treacherous Nurburgring - in the hope of rendezvousing with the beautiful Nina. Throughout, the author provides valuable advice to those considering a similar journey, noting the best and most scenic routes, where to stay, and what to see. This is interspersed with a raft of comic anecdotes that demonstrate exactly what NOT to do when lost on a motorbike in Europe.

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Frequently Bought Together

Bonjour! Is this Italy? - A Hapless Biker's Guide to Europe + Bikers' Britain: Great Motorbike Rides (AA) + Uneasy Rider: Travels Through a Mid-Life Crisis
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Product details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Veloce Publishing Ltd (15 May 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1845843991
  • ISBN-13: 978-1845843991
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 14.5 x 20.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 176,653 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Kevin Turner (www.haplessbiker.com) is an author and journalist with a passion for motorbikes and travel. He has ridden far and wide, writing about his experiences for various publications. His first book, Bonjour! Is This Italy? A Hapless Biker's Guide to Europe chronicles his month-long trip across France, Italy, Germany and a few other countries he stumbled into, largely on account of his inability to navigate.

Kevin's second book, From Crystal Palace to Red Square - A Hapless Biker's Road to Russia, is due out June 2014 and follows the author on a three-week, 6,000 mile adventure from London, to the fjords of Norway and across to Moscow. Then back through Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Germany, to the familiarity of Western petrol stations and hassle-free borders.

"Terrifying Estonian women; crazy Russian truckers; incontinent drunks; and...elk! From Crystal Palace to Red Square - part marathon, part sprint, but an ordeal in the finest sense of the word."

Bonjour! Is This Italy? has been described separately as "one of the funniest books I've read in a long time" (webBikeWorld); "a witty, humorous travel log" (Inter-Bike); "a highly recommended book that will keep you gripped this summer" (Burton Mail); and "an amusing story that should be an inspiration to others" (www.motorbike-search-engine.co.uk.)

Kevin currently rides a Kawasaki ZX636 and a KTM LC4 (rarely at the same time).

You can follow Kevin on twitter @haplessbiker; or Facebook /haplessbiker; or visit: http://www.haplessbiker.com/

Product Description

Review

As the author Kevin Turner admits at the beginning of this soft-bound book, he should never have tried to make his living as a Financial Journalist. I can't comment on his skills in analysing the markets etc., but I can on his skill as a writer of a witty, humorous travel log and that is brilliant! From the beginning Turner had me smiling as he detailed his demise from the aforementioned job, which almost forced him to get on his motorbike and ride through Europe in search of the 'beautiful Nina'. No it is not a story about romance, or for that matter a carefully planned detailed trip round Europe in search of himself, or the meaning of life, more a spur of the moment trip that results in a many incidents and tales, which the aforementioned planning would have easily eliminated. Nor is it a trip involving a purpose built or adapted adventure bike, but a mundane Suzuki SV 650 with luggage and tent strapped across it. As a result it is easy to empathise with the author on many levels. It is basically a book about the challenges faced by a lone motorcyclist on his journey through Europe. He charts his route south across France, crossing the Alps into Italy, and onto Rome, before returning via Germany and the treacherous Nürburgring circuit. It is not overly motorbike orientated, but you can still find some valuable advice if you are considering a similar journey with advice on scenic routes, where to stay, and what to see etc. Also some of the comic anecdotes illustrate what not to do when lost on a motorbike in Europe hence the title. Published by Veloce it is well laid out and contains numerous photographs illustrating the story and route throughout its 144 pages, along with a lot of laughs. Well worth adding to the reading list, especially if you are unhappy with your job and fancy a break, or just a good laugh making it well worth the £12.99 cover. --inter-bike.co.uk

'From the first page to the last, this book gripped me… A highly recommended book that will keep you gripped this summer on the beach or a long haul flight.' --Burton Mail

Here at Visordown HQ we're bombarded with (well, we get one or two a year -Ed) stories from budding writers who've just returned from their once-in·a-lifetime adventure. Usually to far flung destinations like The Alps, or, if they're really intrepid; Norway. Now although these adventures are clearly enough to inspire the adventurer to put pen to paper, usually the result is a bland what-I-did-on-my- holidays monologue that makes you realise that cramming yourself onto a tube train everyday and sitting in an office full of boring [people] is probably a better reality than the adventure you've always promised. Not this book. Bonjour! Is This Italy Is based around one of life's biggest cliches: man in dull job seeks to escape the reailty of life and find enlightenment and adventure abroad. Author Kevin Turner, a former financial journalist, pens this witty and self-deprecating tale of mishap, confusion and a girl. There's always a girl. Save yourself the inevitable loneliness, mind-numbing boredom and piles that are often part and parcel of a cross-continent 'adventure' and adopt Kevin's adventure instead. --Visor Down

Finally available in the U.S. (released today, June 29, 2012) is one of the funniest books I've read in a long time. Bonjour! Is This Italy? by Kevin Turner was first released in the UK in May of 2012 to wide acclaim. It's basically the (very funn) story of a British slacker who lost his job and decided on pretty much a whim to tour Europe. But this isn't your typical dry, "do this, do that" touring guide by someone obsessed with covering all the details. Kevin Turner is like the rest of us (some of us, anyway) -- that is, unprepared, a bit foolish, highly optimistic and with a great sense of humor. --webbikeworld.com

Review An --motorbikesearchengine.co.uk

If you like a dash of fun and hilarity with your travel, this is one for you ... It is an entertaining, nay gripping, tale which paints a wonderful picture of not only discovering part of Europe but becoming absorbed in the discovery. The best compliment I can pay Kevin is to say that the next time he and the bike head off, I want to go with them! --Shropshire Magazine

About the Author

Since passing his motorbike test nearly ten years ago, Kevin Turner has ridden far and wide across the UK and Europe, writing about his experiences for various websites and publications, including the industry-leading Motorcycle News. Past trips have taken Kevin from the Alps to the Pyrenees, from Rome to the beaches of Normandy... although most conclude with a few laps of the Nurburgring, to which he is hopelessly addicted. A professional journalist, Kevin also writes regular review features, covering motorcycles, equipment, events, and kit. A spirit of adventure (and occasional recklessness), coupled with much self-deprecating humour, pervades his writing.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I finished this book in a little over a day and thoroughly enjoyed it.

You do not need to be a biker to enjoy this book. So well written and humerous ("You can be my wing man anytime"), love it.

My only disapointment was that the author did not travel further so there would be more book to read.

Another added bonus is the book is really well illustrated. You really do feel like you were riding along side the author, experiencing the trials and tribulations along the way.

Highly recommended.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ciao! Is this France ? 31 July 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Just finished reading this book and whilst I haven't read many travel books it knocks the socks off anything Bill Bryson has done.

I've only travelled a bit and the closest I've come to a motorbike is nearly being run over by one when I was young but the author is adept is explaining things in laymans terms so you don't get lost/bored with technical details of either bikes/motorsport or Europe/travel.

He has a superb writing style with great, short, snappy paragraphs and the book is littered with funny anecdotes which really put you in the picture and which you can relate to. His passion for motorsport and travel really shines though but (as I've mentioned above) you don't need to be overly knowledgale in either to follow this great road trip.

This was recommended to me and I would recommend this to you also.

A real page Turner !
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just Do It! 7 Jan 2013
By Scotty
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Great! no real planning, no back up team, no big adventure bike, no sat-nav, just a guy on tour with his everyday bike...and it's the same bike as mine! Well written, engaging and shows us all that we can just get up and do it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
Fab book! I borrowed this off my hubby on holiday, as a last resort, with nothing left to read. I love travel but have no interest in motorbikes. Would definately reccomend even to non bikers! If your fed up of pretentious travel literature this is the book for you. It had me hooked; it is a refreshingly honest, witty, account that has you wanting to grab a motorbike & a ferry ticket. It flits between Kevins journey & his very amusing anecdotes, keeping the reader interested. His description of childhood Grand Prix adventures & pilgrimage to the Ferrari garage had me transfixed which is pretty impressive considering I have very little interest in motorsport. Hope there's a sequel!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars European motorbike journey 13 Aug 2012
By Titian
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A journey across some European countries, this account is written as seen through the eyes (helmet) of someone who on decided at short notice & without preparation to travel into Europe. As you can imagine, travelling like this provides an insight into what can happen when deciding to do something without actually knowing where you are going or what is going to happen each day.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Queasy rider on the road to Rouen. 2 Aug 2012
Format:Paperback
I'm not into travel and, much as I like motorbikes, the thought of pages of prose describing the wind in your hair, the sound of the bike and the eventual self discovery made me reluctant to read this. But, as it was recommended by a friend, I thought I'd give it a go.

I'm glad I started this book. It is as much a dry travelogue as Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is a Haynes manual. There are no prescribed routes, no lists of sites or copy and paste wikipedia for each town, there's no philosophical staring into middle distance and no motorcycle minutia!

Finding himself jobless Turner makes a plan to take his bike to Europe and that seems to be all the plan he had! Arriving in France he decides to ride away from the sea and from then on we drift south to the Med, across to Italy and meander back up. Throughout the book are Turners own photos which illustrate the story nicely.

There are flashes of Dean Moriarty and Dr Duke in Turners traveler, but more often than not he's stumbled his way into a new campsite or different country (or cold war jet fighter!) and seems to as amazed as us that he hasn't been arrested, broken down or eaten by a wild animal yet.

His easy, conversational, style is addictive and you'll learn about the places he visits and some of the tings to expect if you go there yourself as you read.

You will be laughing with, rooting for and wincing with Turner throughout.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars one for the more average dreamer 27 Dec 2012
Format:Paperback
Happy with purchase. Found story interesting, a bit more obtainable than some adventure riding books. Only gripe if pushed was the magazine format of book took wee bit of getting used to.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars superb! 24 Dec 2012
Format:Paperback
An amazing read, cannot fault it.
The only book I've managed to read front to back since Rhoald Dahl -The Twitts!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Motorcycle touring inspiration.
I bought this as it sounded like a fun read and something I want to do. It's not overly informative to a potential bike traveller but this helps keep it light. Read more
Published 6 days ago by Mr R K Booth
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book, Great Author
I really enjoyed reading this book. Myself and my Dad have a trip planned next year and this book has proven a valuable learning tool. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Chris
4.0 out of 5 stars good biker fun
A great light hearted description of a shorter trip around Europe, full of life and fun. Will wet your appetite for more extended trips to the continent. Read more
Published 2 months ago by m g murphy
2.0 out of 5 stars Not impressed
A young man's journal of his month long holiday from the UK to continental Europe aboard his Suzuki 650. Read more
Published 5 months ago by S. SMITH
4.0 out of 5 stars Easy, quick reading.
I met the author in Germany on his way back from his 2nd bike tour to Russia. Just a chance meeting at a petrol station near the Dutch border. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Jackofswords
5.0 out of 5 stars Bonjour, is this Italy.
Was recomended too by Amazon and bought it on the kindle last night. Ended up reading it in one sitting! Read more
Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars very enjoyable read
This book is funny, informative and entertaining, a good read for anyone who likes to get out and about in Europe - really enjoyed it
Published 8 months ago by digital dawn
4.0 out of 5 stars Very funny
Needs to be read. Then just go and do it yourself. Really enjoyed the story telling and potted historical snip it's.
Published 9 months ago by G. Parry
5.0 out of 5 stars A delightful trip through Europe with a great sense of humor!
Any motorcycle enthusiast who dreams of riding down the road with no itinerary will love this book! Kevin's descriptive style will transport you to each of the quaint small... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Lisa
4.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable read, informative and entertaining in parts
What I liked: Lots of information about the route, with simple but effective maps of each step of the way, and many photos illustrating the text. Read more
Published 11 months ago by UK Gold
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