Ted Simon has a lot to answer for. He is the man who wrote the bible that inspired more bikers to saddle on up and head on out than any other. In the process he also spawned a genre of bike touring books that follow a similar theme... 'Life's a bitch, I'm going to learn to ride and go on an overseas motorcycle tour to banish my demons'.
Pre-dominantly written by dysfunctional middle aged men my toes tend to curl at the thought of reading yet another badly written stylised tome of self indulgence but try as I may, the mention of the two words 'motorcycle' and 'travel' has me beavering to page one.
Mike Carter comes across as a semi-dysfunctional middle aged guy who follows the above script. The difference with Uneasy Rider is that he can string his words together and make them interesting, funny and thought provoking. Essentially this is a book about a guy who's marriage has just broken down and on the premise of a drunken promise ends up covering 19,950 miles through 27 European countries over the course of 6 months.
Carter tells his tale well, though on times he crosses the line in his quest to connect, or appeal, to certain section of readers. In particular I can only imagine how a female Norwegian bar owner feels about having the location of her business highlighted in amongst the all the steamy details of their encounter. Discretion is not the word that springs to mind when reading this book.
Overall I liked Uneasy Rider (well, I made it to the end) though I'm not sure about the man. Carter tries too hard to convince the reader that he's a 'been there done it' kind of guy though he does this in self depreciating manner which is a little unconvincing. Despite the upbeat writing style there is an undercurrent throughout of a sad, lonely man looking for his place in life and that, if nothing else, places a very human face to this book.
NB – Mike Carters travels were serialised in a weekly column in the Observer last year and, I must confess, I thoroughly enjoyed those edited extracts.
Well written, easy to read and recommended.
Title; Uneasy Rider
Author; Mike Carter
Published By; Ebury Press
Price; £7.99 paperback