19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
FASCINATING, 18 July 2010
Simon Gandolfi's Old Man On A Bike is a classic in every sense of the word, and it is one of the world's great motorcycle road trips. The story line in a nutshell is that Gandolfi (a Brit in his 70s) went to Mexico, bought a single-cylinder, 125cc Honda delivery bike, and pointed it south. "South" as in Tierra Del Fuego, the southernmost tip of South America.
I've read every book of this genre, and none is in the same league as Gandolfi's. Old Man On A Bike combines first-class writing, captivating story-telling, the excitement of a long distance motorcycle trip, ground-level input on how others outside the US-UK alliance view world events (without Gandolfi injecting his own views), and most significantly, the realization that we can age without losing our enthusiasm for life or our sense of adventure. The title's implied oxymoronism may attract readers, and Gandolfi describes himself as an old man, but Old Man On A Bike shows that he is not old at all. His excitement about being alive and out in the world, his curiosity, his willingness to take on what others might not, and his de facto youth are invigorating.
Gandolfi writes in the present tense, which takes the reader into every scene to experience the food, the accommodations, the people, the road, the weather, the fear, the excitement, and the rest of his wonderful journey. His positive experiences refute misinformed warnings about corrupt border guards and officials in a delightful manner, and provide an overall "feel good" experience. I've written a few books myself, I've traveled internationally by motorcycle, and (as mentioned above) I've read all of the motorcycle travel stories. The only one that comes close to being as good as Gandolfi's is Dave Barr's Riding the Edge (Barr is a double-amputee who rode a beat-up old Harley around the world), but I believe Old Man On A Bike is an even better read than Barr's inspiring story. Trust me on this...Gandolfi's book is more than just a road trip...it is wonderful story about staying young and living large.