‘Long Way Back’ by Charley Boorman

In February 2016 Charley Boorman had just become an ‘ambassador’ for Triumph and was in Portugal at the launch of a Tiger Explorer XC. On the edge of town and about to unleash the beast into the countryside, a car turned left in front of him.

This is not just the story of his recovery from some very nasty injuries, it’s an autobiography, a time to reflect on a whirlwind period of his life since the release and huge commercial success of Long Way Round, the series of his RTW ride with Ewan McGregor.

Love it or hate it, Long Way Round had a profound impact on the world of motorcycle travel and contributed hugely to the fact that every bike manufacturer now offers ‘adventure’ models and you can choose between hundreds of different panniers, crashbars and auxiliary lights.

Bikes are one constant in Charley’s life, so what he has achieved since his trip with Ewan is perhaps an ideal, but there are consequences, be that in the Sahara while competing on the ‘Dakar’, or on a crisp bright morning in Portugal. But the recovery is packed with humour, like taking the automatic car for a drive when one leg almost works and then losing his parking space and wheelchair…

This is an easy to read exposé of the man. It’s honest and a terrific personal insight, although the descriptions of his injuries are perhaps just a little too graphic. It’s easy to see an onscreen character and forget they are a person with fears and families. It’s good to have a reminder and I enjoyed all of this, from the early days of his life when his dad bought a rambling pile in Ireland at auction, inadvertently providing Charley with the world’s best playground.

ISBN: 978-0749577018
Paperback 320pp £13.99
Published by Automobile Association (1 May 2017)

Review by Paddy Tyson