Customer Review

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mondo A -Go -Go, 2 Dec. 2006
This review is from: Mondo Enduro: The Ultimate Adventure on Two Wheels - 44,000 Miles in 400 Days (Paperback)
In 1994, seven pals decide down the pub (where else?) to motorcycle around the world by the longest route possible. Before departure, not one of them has ever repaired a punctured tyre. They fail to get sponsorship, travel insurance, and most of their travel visas. Even a cursory glance at the map suggests that in Eastern Siberia the road is blocked by 400 miles of impassable swamp. When they ask a BBC journalist about Georgia, they are told - categorically - 'they will not last five minutes'.

Over the next year and a bit the bikers log their daily observations, gleefully recounting in classic British tradition every small discomfort, crash and humiliation to befall their fellow travellers. With little money to spare, wit and improvisation are the order of the day: lost bike documents are forged in Istanbul, gambling debts paid with fake watches, Russian traffic cops placated with a drunken shooting competition. They are attacked by skin eating insects, harried by border guards, swept away by floods, and in once case, nearly killed by an African lorry. Sleeping in barns or under the stars, the shocking state of personal hygiene scuppers (almost) every encounter with the opposite sex.

The triumphs more than make up for this. The former Soviet Union, South America and Africa come across like an infinite, awe inspiring biker's playground. They didn't know it at the time, but one of the lads actually meets his future wife on the road. While fear has become the national psychosis in today's post 9/11 world, these unassuming journeymen prove that if you greet the world with a joke and a smile, the world in the shape of Serbian farmers, Saudi businessmen and Kalahari bushmen almost always respond with humbling kindness and hospitality. Largely written for their own amusement, Mondo Enduro is nevertheless one of the cheeriest, most bracing celebrations of cultural difference, friendship, and the open road I think I have ever read. Brilliant.
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Reviewer

C. Payne
(REAL NAME)   

Location: London, England

Top Reviewer Ranking: 6,200,720