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Overland to India: An 8400 Mile Adventure on a 55-year-old Motorcycle Paperback – 30 Nov 2008

19 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 234 pages
  • Publisher: Rixon Groove (30 Nov. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0956116809
  • ISBN-13: 978-0956116802
  • Product Dimensions: 14.9 x 21.2 x 1.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 220,090 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

A total of 8,400 miles from Manchester, UK to Chennai, India, in just under seven weeks. A challenge for most vehicles, but on an antiquated 1953 Royal Enfield .... "Your bike belongs in a museum, not on the road," was how one doubter tried to discourage Gordon from undertaking this journey. Despite intense heat in excess of 40C, a crash in the Baluchistan desert and some of the worst roads and driving standards on the planet, Gordon's old Bullet did indeed make it triumphantly to Chennai. In his new book, Gordon describes in detail the restoration of his motorcycle and the build up to departure, the larger-than-life characters he met and the many challenges he faced. He also recounts the more personal highs and lows of life on the road. Above all, Overland To India is a heartwarming book that illustrates human kindness and hospitality and encourages other riders to take their own motorcycles on a long-distance journey.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By J. Coyle on 3 Feb. 2009
Format: Paperback
What I really liked about Overland to India was the sheer determination of the rider. No film crews or support teams for Gordon May - just one man and his beloved classic motorcycle, a 1953 Royal Enfield. It was a very brave endeavour.

The description of how he conceived the idea and how he prepared for this trip of a lifetime is a great template for anyone wanting to achieve a goal, travel-wise or not, and I would recommend Overland to India on that basis in addition to it being a travel book.

Gordon's love of his Bullet motorcycle shone through too; he often thanks it throughout the book for getting him to his various destinations along the often gruelling 8,400 mile route and I liked reading about his running repairs. I doubt I'd have been so calm or practical or met disaster with humour, even if I was driving a top end BMW! I think these descriptions and how he catalogues daily life on the road will be of great interest and use to other motorcyclists. I also loved reading about Gordon's friendship with Andy Berry, who Gordon describes as, "the best engine builder and tuner of Royal Enfields". As a woman it was wonderful for me to have this insight into how men relate to each other.

I enjoyed following his unusual epic journey on the map provided at the front of the book and I felt his joy, his euphoria, at being out on the open road. I also felt his exhaustion. When Gordon suffered a crash I could almost feel those bruises and his fear following an attempted highway robbery. The sharp photographs brought the story to life too.

What was also really striking was the generosity, friendliness and humility of many of the people he met along the way, who Gordon describes with real warmth. Humbling to read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 24 Mar. 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book is written in a daily diary format but still manages to capture the essence of the journey in a book-like manner. It is well written and the diary format is not at all tedious to read (unlike Mondo Enduro). Although it was hotels all the way, riding a 55 year old british motorcycle is in my opinion definately the hard way to travel, even if the engine did have uprated parts, so the spirit of adventure was definately there. A very enjoyable book.

The only problem I had with the book, was literally the book. Everytime I turned the page, the page fell out. Still, it made it easy to start from where I had left off.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By E. Buygum on 6 Dec. 2012
Format: Paperback
I was prompted to write this after reading the two star review because I enjoyed this book enormously and admire the author for completing the trip and yet, ironically, I quite agree with some of the views expressed in the "Disappointing" contribution.

The extended preparation period described portends a slightly worrying lack of self reliance; mournful regret at being separated from loved ones left me with only one thought: "man up or don't go". And yes, the problem resolution methodology left a lot to be desired. But, you know what, that's why I liked this book enough to order a second copy when I lost the first: it's simply very honest.

This isn't written by Nick Sanders or a man with Castrol 20W-50 running through his veins, it's written by someone who set out to complete an audacious journey and succeeded and as such it's inspiring.

If you have never found yourself clinging to the hope that your bike might just make it despite the warning lights, if you remain entirely logical in strange and demanding situations, if you have never embarked on a venture and thought, part way through "what the hell am I doing this for?", then this might not be the book for you. If you like bikes and sometimes feel the adventure has been leached out of life, my guess is you will enjoy this a lot.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By roadrunner on 8 Jan. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
i really enjoyed this book. how one man restored an old enfield then embarked on a journey overland back to the factory in india where enfield's are still being built. a trip not without problems as the bike needed regular maintenance to keep it going.recommended reading for any biker!!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Dood on 25 Jun. 2012
Format: Paperback
Totally loved this book- Bought from the man himself at a bike fair- he encouraged me in my motorcycling endeavours. I really enjoyed reading it, have since passed my bike test and though I will probably not follow in his more distant footsteps, am getting luggage sorted for trips away on the bike :-)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Scotty on 6 Mar. 2012
Format: Paperback
One of the better travel books I have read - as other reviewers have said, no big support teams or camera crews, just one guy and his Enfield heading for India, and all the adventures of the road. I am always pleasantly surprised by how kind strangers can be to travellers and, as happens here, this is often in countries which we hear such awful things about. This is well written and a great read!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Great Circle on 21 Aug. 2012
Format: Paperback
A brilliant book. I have a Royal Enfield 500 Bullet, If only I was 25 years younger and fewer responsibilities! This book is inspirational. Gordon May includes all the detail of the preparation for the journey and the fascinating situations that he finds himself in along the way.
This book is on a par with Ted Simon's "Jupiter's Travels" and is the sort of book that can be reread regularly!
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