With my initial opening of the new edition of AMH I found myself immediately transported to another place. Not some foreign land, full of mystery and intrigue, but to a grubby student flat in Bedford nearly twenty years ago, because leafing through the pages re-ignited all that wide-eyed enthusiasm for adventure bike travel that I first experienced when I held the earliest Compass Star edition of the Adventure Motorbiking Handbook in my hands.
TrailBlazer publishes this, the 6th edition, and Chris Scott has managed to pull it off yet again, producing something which could have been as dull as dishwater, but which is in fact a real page-turner. Sub-headed ‘A Route & Planning Guide’ everything is included here: preparing the bike, arguments for soft or hard luggage, how to maintain the machine and your body when on the road, how to ship, and how to cross borders, all the paperwork necessary and of course large sections on route planning itself.
The ‘country outlines’ manage to encapsulate an incredible amount of information in only a few pages – whether fuel is available once over the border, whether camping is a possibility, where you’ll get a visa…
Box-outs are full of extra, easily digestible info, from how to be streetwise, to communally drinking vodka in Russia.
With the advent of the internet there are all sorts of ideas on how to use the new technology to your advantage, which makes the whole volume thicker than before, but there’s so much more inside, the Tales from the Saddle section at the end is actually slimmer. Of course publications like Overland exist now so that those hungry for travel stories are satiated, but the selection of short articles that Chris has chosen to include are excellent. There’s everything from the nail-biting extremism of Tony Pettie’s bridge crossings in Siberia, to Carla King’s delightful debunking of myths surrounding Morocco.
This is one of those must have books, not least because, like me, if you had an older edition, you’ve worn it out. The only omission Chris Scott seems to have made, is mention of the Aprilia Pegaso… Umm… Get your copy here and see if he’s right!
Review by Paddy Tyson
384pp 16 colour images and loads of B&W ones.
Published by Trailblazer £15.99