on 7 July 2008
If you want to get an honest feeling of what riding a bike is like for normal people, not superhuman daredevils, this is the book for you. His insight into the countries he visits, the people he meets, teaches you more than any travel guide or history book. Since getting this I havent been able to put it down. He is selfish, dumb at times, ignorant, all the things real people are and this book reflects its.
For those of us who will never snort cocaine with a prostitute in South America this is good way of finding out what it feels like and more importantly how you end up in that state in the first place.
Sit back, enjoy and start questioning your own priorities.
Have fun and keep drifting
on 1 August 2008
If you've read Dan's writings in Bike magazine, you'll know how "colourful" it can be. If you enjoyed his writing enough to be thinking of buying this book then you, like me, forgive him for offending (everyone eventually!) and probably admire his honesty.
I'd have given this book five stars but for two things - the subjects of the warnings in my review title:
1. If you've read Dan in Bike magazine - you've read the book. I'll be getting rid of the mags (one day) but the book will remain and be read more than once!
2. You may not want your teenage kids reading it. They may (?!) learn things you'd rather they didn't and they might like the sound of them.
However, warnings aside, a great read from an inspiring character.
Dan, if you;re reading this - keep riding and writing till you find what you're looking for. Then write about that too :-)
on 28 August 2008
'These Are The Days That Must Happen To You' chronicles two epic bike journeys undertaken by journalist/thinker/hellraiser Dan Walsh: firstly a trip the length of the African continent to Cape Town and a second journey from Canada down to Buenos Aires in South America. Although much of the book's content has previously appeared in Bike magazine, this shouldn't stop you buying this fantastic book.
For those of us that harbour dreams of The Big Bike Trip, Dan is an inspiration. He stopped dreaming and got on and did it. And how. The writing often manages to be incredibly moving and yet laugh out loud funy on the same page. We follow the author in his journeys through incredible landscapes, break-downs, run-ins with the law, run-ins with border guards and encounters in countless bars across the continents.
Buy this book.
on 15 December 2008
As somebody who has done the same trip through Africa and actually toured on one occasion with the author, I just wanted to add my bit.
Dan has a unique style of writing that a lot of people find refreshing and a few won't get.. (It couldn't be any other way.) And, yes, Dan does drink and smoke a lot... I endorse all of the other reviews here - they are all correct!
It won't win any literary awards and is not competing with the likes of Jupiter's Travels. This is not a philosophical tome. It is Dan living life his way and recounting the experience in his own unique style of writing. I have read many other travellers' tales and there is nothing comparable.
I could write a similar tale without any embellishment, so what we have here is a genuine memoir wrapped in a unique style which, in itself, is very refreshing.
on 27 April 2009
If your a biker with a yen to drop it all and ride the world and cannot be bothered with all the Long Way stuff, here is the guide book. Places to see, how not to service your bike, but how to live every minute of the trip. If you like bikes, North and South America and Africa, looked at from an adoring stance you will love this book. It is a collection of articles from Bike magazine and its ia treasure trove of delights and will make you cross at the stupidity and laugh out loud at the joy of finding places and people that make travel worth the effort. Its not a how to do it book, more this is how I did it and this is what it felt like. Dan Walsh really hit all the highs and lows of this kind of undertaking, from losing his girlfriends and breaking his bike to finding new people and like minded friends all round the world. You dont need a sophisticated bike and back up, you need a simple single BMW and an urge to go.
Buy it for the biker you want to be.
on 3 February 2013
I found the road less traveled like so many before me, led there by an actor and his Obi-Wannabe, watching as Ewan & Charley blazed across the globe, across my Sky. I longed to be them, to ride where they rode, what they rode. At least give me a famous friend, and a BMW budget, and I'll do it, I'll be that guy.
Then I learned of the Vince, and how E&C had studied under him, then turned away to the darkside, the commercial side. How their ways had troubled the Vince and his followers and ripples had spread across the overland, spreading out from the HUBB. They were not followers of the way, those two, make that three, men alone with their fixers out of shot. They were wusses, they paid, they were paid, why weren't we paid?
How I poured over the HUBB, learning of the true way, a way without BM, absorbing everything they could give me through their TFT windows. Somewhere along the road I bought a bike, not a big one, no big budget for me, no licence either, I ride on the L's for the 'ell of it. The road less travelled is mine, the B-road for my B-movie, because only pussies take the motorways, only tossers ride big. 125cc is mine baby, all mine.
Ted Simon drew me in, but spat me out, I couldn't relate to his work, maybe he's too sophisticated for me, maybe his road is too different, his past and mine too far apart to relate. One day I know I'll come to him, he is the Father, the Vince the Son. And then I caught the whispers, hushed tones, you've not ridden till you've read Walsh. Walsh is the one, seek him out, he is the Spirit, no-one comes to the Father except through him. Pay his reassuringly expensive price. READ HIS WORDS.
So I am. Right now, reading. His words, his short staccato. Sentences. Are you there Mr Walsh, you Hemingway for the noughties as you. Ride round the world, in my. Head? Or is this Shatner? Speak Spock. Tell. Me. Let me boldly go where so many have gone, but let me go in print, in drink, in the comfort of my armchair, so that I may know. The way, the truth.
Walsh I hate you, I love your book.
on 31 August 2010
Until ordering this book I had never heard of Dan Walsh, but I do own a bike and am contemplating doing a trip. Dan recounts his two trips, one from the UK to South Africa and the other from Canada to South America in the form of a journal, or maybe they are a compilation of the actual monthly articles he subscribed to his employers at Bike magazine? His descriptive prose are Manchester scally meets Raymond Chandler, with a grittier edge. And he certainly seems to have found the South American road trip equivalent world inhabited by Philip Marlowe.
Self effacing, honest and hedonistic, Dan's eye catches and projects exactly what it's like to travel by motorcycle between the countries he visits. He is no motorcycle geek and doesn't do preparation and is surprisingly disorganised, but that makes for a much better story, as the scrapes he gets into are invariably the most amusing parts of the book.
Such is the authors love of a cold beer and a ciggy, that at one time I thought I was reading a travelogue of his jouney visiting the Irish Pubs of South America, not that it was any less amusing for it. A good read but not for the prim and proper.
on 9 December 2011
Teaches the world that a packing list for a long weekend in Malaga is sooo irrelevant when our intrepid hero sets off across the Sahara with '5 packets of Marlboro, three litres of coke (warm), three baguettes (stale), and a tub of Nutella'..
I've read this book 3 times.. everytime I love it.. and wish I could put Tesco's home delivery, a subscription to Bike.. and the detrius of 'Middle Class Dad' with scrummy wife and gorgeous kids behind me for an adventure like Dan's..
on 5 October 2010
Over the past 20 years I have read dozens of bike adventure stories, and as a fellow motorcycle adventurer, Dan tells it like it really is, out there on the road, you can experience all of lifes emotions in seconds, nothing has been dressed up for the reader, if Dans in a black mood it comes across in the narative and so it should, as these are the moments you look back on in years to come, they are the memories the challenges that are overcome and what define an adventure. I loved the way he stripped away the facard of a country and could sum it up in a few sentences, His self depricating view seems to be very much the British way, and I think that`s what readers can identify with.