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A smashing, clich‚-free global adventure as Ted Simon, the Magellan of the Motorcycle, circles the world on a four-year, two-wheeled solo jaunt, determined to see it all despite fear at every turn. To wheel through so many nations over strange and often torn roads, to negotiate roadless deserts, was indeed cause for fear. But he did it; and clocked 63,000 miles, returning a changed man and prey, at last, to a new fear--rootlessness, a sense of coming apart. Subsidized by the London Sunday Times and with one book already published (The Chequered Year, about Grand Prix racing), Simon gets a completely unmodified motorcycle from Britain's Triumph factory in late 1973 and leaves England for France. His first leg takes him to Italy, Sicily, and Tunis. Arabic is sheer gibberish to him as he crosses Libya and worries that he won't be allowed into Egypt. But he is and follows the Nile to Wadi Halfa and the Sudan where he finds himself crossing hundreds of miles of hard desert in the midday heat, and running out of gas in the trackless wastes. No road! But he meets many friendly Sudanese, who ask him to address their students. Then it's on to unfriendly Ethiopia where poverty has hardened every face. And down through the jungles of Kenya, the elephant-filled plains of Tanzania to Johannesburg and Cape Town and the very tip of Africa--and rapturous, lightning-filled euphoria. By boat to northern Brazil, down through Rio to Uruguay, over to Chile and up the east coast to Mexico and Southern California. . . by boat to Australia, all over India (meeting Sai Baba) where he rises above fear of death. . . through the Mideast and back to France. . . then to the Triumph factory--in triumph. Jails, graft, border guards, breakdowns, good people--and a love affair. A vicarious whirlwind for armchair sloths.

Pub Date: Feb. 8th, 1979
Publisher: Doubleday