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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a journey through africa on 2 wheels.
A very good read from Alan Whelan. Could have done with a few photos to illustrate his journey!
This book is a recommended read for anyone with an interest in travel, motorcycling and an insight to the lives of the African people in the countries on the West coast of that continent.
I put this book up there with Jupiters Travels, Theses are the days that must...
Published on 14 July 2011 by roadrunner

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good idea, bad execution and dull writing
I bought this book because I'm into Africa, travel and bikes - seemed like a no-brainer. Mr Whelan embarks on a very long and hard trip with little preparation other than some "Tea Encounters", and knows near nothing about his bike and how to repair it, apparently hasn't read anything about the countries he's visiting, his sense of orientation is very limited and his...
Published 22 months ago by Rolando


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good idea, bad execution and dull writing, 9 May 2013
I bought this book because I'm into Africa, travel and bikes - seemed like a no-brainer. Mr Whelan embarks on a very long and hard trip with little preparation other than some "Tea Encounters", and knows near nothing about his bike and how to repair it, apparently hasn't read anything about the countries he's visiting, his sense of orientation is very limited and his riding skills are very poor. Therefore, he spent about half the book complaining and moaning as he fells off his bike, his old and inadequate bike breaks, he doesn't find the way and the locals don't help him as he'd like to (jeez, he doesn't even speak french). At first it was funny but at the tenth time it isn't funny anymore. This stuff also leads to very awkward situations.

As he doesn't know much about the countries he goes through, large parts of the book are spent describing the dirty roads and the villages, complaining about the weather and moaning about how nothing seems to work in African countries -surprise!

When you read a book about Africa you expect some insight into each country (as Theroux or Bryson would do), but Mr. Whelan never says anything about the countries he goes through, no information, analysis, political situation, no history or good critic whatsoever. This means the book becomes very dull at times and the hundreds of setbacks he suffers because of lack of preparation make the read hard and slow and boring. Finally, the rough critic he makes of Namibia (without really knowing anything about the country) and the sense of anti climax as he reaches Cape Town meant I was happy to finish the book.

On the upper side, it has a couple of funny moments, and apparently Mr. Whelan enjoyed himself. Shame I didn't.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a journey through africa on 2 wheels., 14 July 2011
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A very good read from Alan Whelan. Could have done with a few photos to illustrate his journey!
This book is a recommended read for anyone with an interest in travel, motorcycling and an insight to the lives of the African people in the countries on the West coast of that continent.
I put this book up there with Jupiters Travels, Theses are the days that must happen to you, and Old man on a bike.
Forget about the so called travels of Boorman and McGregor, this is a book about an ordinary guy who had the balls to travel solo thru Africa to Cape Town.
After reading this book you feel as though you have travelled every mile in his company!
The journey is not without it's problems, the searing heat, lack of water, dodgy hotels, some dodgy people, trying to ride thru the desert and deeply rutted muddy roads without coming off- a few times the bike ended up on the deck- not surprisingly!
But like a true Brit he overcame these mishaps- including knackering the clutch up a couple of times, and the usual damage sustained when riding thru god awful terrain!
BUY IT AND ENJOY- A REALLY VERY GOOD READ!!!
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Annoying and best avoided, 28 Oct. 2010
Am I the only person who found this guy arrogant and intensely annoying? His trip through Africa is one disaster to another. It seems that the idea was thought up in a pub and then carried through without any basic planning or realisation that maybe not everyone else in the world shares or has even heard about the English idiosyncrasy of drinking tea.

The culmination of this is an awkward exchange with a poor local who has no idea of the custom and wastes money indulging this weird Westerner in a custom he doesn't understand. It would have been much better to have drunk the local `Brew'; be that tea, coffee, beer etc

Also, the fact that he chose an inappropriate motorcycle, was completely hopeless when a problem arose, didn't complete his journey (he flew a significant part of the way), moaned the whole way about customs and did not seem to know anything about the countries he planned to cross or anything about fixing his bike irritated me to the point where I was glad I had finished.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What we all dream of but don't dare do, 17 Aug. 2012
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This review is from: African Brew Ha-Ha: A Motorcycle Quest from Lancashire to Cape Town (Kindle Edition)
I've read reams of tales about adventure biking, but never one like this. It's so well written that when you finish it, you want to brush off the red dust and wash your bike. I was ready to jump on my GS and drive to the ferry when I finished it. The book made me feel that I'd been with Alan on his journey. On the cold dark winter nights where I live in Norway, I know I'll be picking this off the shelf and escaping to the enigma that is Africa together with Alan again. Excellent.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars If I wanted a sermon, I'd go to church, 11 Jun. 2010
I enjoyed the book, as I am a keen motorcycle myself, and lived and worked in South Africa for over a year, then travelled through Africa and back to the UK, so had had great empathy for him. The book was very entertaining for the most part, however towards the end it became sermon-like, so much so that I gave up and just skipped through the last pages. For three quarters of the book it was exciting, funny, and engaging, but towards the end it fell a little flat and his arrival in Cape Town was a great disappointment. His criticism of Namibia really turned me off.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Triumph by motorcycle and a triumph by spirit..., 13 Nov. 2010
A year ago an email landed in my inbox from a fellow Lancashire-man and author, asking if I'd be willing to address a `Business breakfast club' of which he was a prominent member. I hesitated a little until I learnt of his identity and the incredible quest - for that is what it was - that he'd been on: his name was Alan Whelan. I gave my talk and the two of us hit it off straightaway, exchanging literary tips and tales of adventure whenever our paths crossed at book signings and fairs. But it is only now that I've finally read Alan's superb book that I can fully appreciate the immense journey that he has been on, and in my eyes at least, his book registers as one of the great stories of the human spirit.

Mile by gruelling mile, inch by agonising inch, and with scalding beads of stinging sweat and scorching dust, Alan leads us on a journey into the darkest night and brightest sunrise of a turbulent, magical and grimly chaotic country - Africa. And we are with him for every throaty blip of the throttle as he takes us ever deeper into what began as an innocent adventure, but became, at times, a struggle for survival and sanity. On his mega-miles journey Alan is forced to call upon every ounce of streetwise calm, gunpoint diplomacy and daring dash that a man could possibly posses; he has to contend with corrupt border officials intent on extracting bribes and feral `citizen patrols' on deserted Nigerian back-roads intent on securing cash at the point of a machete.

But as the torturous miles clock up and the breaks, bruises and falls begin to take their toll, he finds an inner strength that he never knew he had. Alan's cheerful, fatalistic acceptance of his circumstances, and his spirited fight-back against them, draws out the best in the locals and he attracts memorable mentors, wise guides and generous souls just when he needs them. Indeed, it is these unforgettable and instantly likeable `kindred spirits' that give the book its heartfelt glow and bittersweet, touching aftertaste. To know that such people exist in such harsh and unforgiving struggles, gives one hope for humanity and Africa itself. Even more so than the stunning landscapes that Alan portrays, it is the likes of the young Cameroonian Tabot, who guides Alan to safety through mud-stricken death-trap roads, and the bear-like protector Serge, who tenderly nurses Alan back to health when he falls foul of them, who are the true stars of African Brew Ha Ha.

This is a wonderful book that is written from hard-won and well-lived experience; I cannot recommend it highly enough, I am proud and privileged to call Alan a friend, and it has been a joy to share in his wonderful story. I salute the African Brew Ha Ha.

Steven McLaughlin,
Author of Squaddie: A Soldier's Story,
Mainstream Publishing
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5.0 out of 5 stars African Brew Ha Ha, 3 Feb. 2011
Who in their right mind would travel from Lanashire to Cape Town just to search out the ultimate cuppa? More so on a Triumph motorcycle, unaided and via Africa's notorious western route? Alan Whelan did just that and I have to congratulate him for not only an extremely well written account but also for retaining the strength and fortitude to see it through. I was absorbed into the whole thing especially when he was dragging the bulky Triumph through deep muddy gullies...I felt knackered! The frustrations of having to deal with so called officialdom as each border crossing became a game of chance. But most of all to learn of the warmth of the African people who with very little were willing to share what they did have with a total stranger. Whenever the author faced the impossible there was always somebody to offer much needed help and assistance. He took these people to his heart and gained so much from it. Alan's heartfelt feelings for these much derided people come over so well. Ewan Mcgregor and Charlie Boardman did the "Long way down" but they not only took the less troublesome eastern route but also had full back up, this man took the harder route and was travelling on his own. A daunting task for any man, I take my helmet off to him. An excellent read that any would be adventure motorcyclist will enjoy.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 14 April 2010
A brilliant book. Maybe not everyone's cup of tea, but if you have any interest in travel, motorbike riding, Africa, social commentary on people and culture, or tea, (of course) then this is a must have book.

Very well written with a dry and, at times, wicked sense of humour Alan Whelan has captured the adventure of taking on all Africa can throw at anyone crazy enough to ride a Triumph motorbike through the deserts and jungles. All for a cup of tea.

Highly recommended!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Africa - A continent of Surprises, so it would seem !, 12 May 2010
By 
Pheeew !! And I thought the Wall of death on a Motorbike was a challenge......

Call it a `Quest', call it an `Adventure', I felt as if I was riding pillion every mile of that 14,000 `or so' it took from Lancashire to Cape Town (When you read it you will know what I mean).

An inspiring and thought provoking read which will make you think out loud about the overwhelming friendliness, generosity and fellowship from complete strangers that Alan Whelan encountered from on a trip filled much adversity and challenge.

A fantastic read from start to finish which is superbly written, very easy to read and very difficult to put down..........I just wish I could spend a couple of hours with the author over a pint or two to ask the questions which you will also ponder when you read this great book.

Up there with Bryson & Maconie......A True Gem
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5.0 out of 5 stars African Brew Ha Ha is a ripping adventure, 15 Sept. 2010
Once I got into this book (African Brew Ha Ha) I couldn't put it down and I read the last half in one hit. I am a seasoned traveller and motorcyclist but I could taste the mud and feel his pain - and his emotions became mine. Well written, this is an adventure with a novel theme (tea). Alan Whelen faced real dangers and mountainous obstacles with incredible courage (mind you, he managed to get into situations where he didn't have much choice) as well as challenges that, at the time, he probably would have sold his soul to avoid. Unfortunately, there were no takers so he just had to go on and, in the Spirit of True British Motorcycling, he made it through. In my opinion, this book could sit on the same shelf as Jupiter's Travels and hold up its head with pride.
As one of the other reviews says, you feel like you are on the pillion all the way...
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