‘Rebirth’ by Mark Holmes

It’s not uncommon for a book to be subtitled ‘…around the world on a…’ and this one is indeed like that. In this case it’s ‘…the world’s largest motorcycle’ but everything else about this book breaks the mould.

This certainly is a very personal journey, as it also says on the cover. It seemed the most natural thing in the world for Mark Holmes to climb aboard his bike (a 2300cc Triumph Rocket X that he and his wife had used for many trips to Europe) when things in life took a turn for the worse. In the space of a few short weeks he had lost his wife and best friend to cancer, lost a business he’d run for years, and lost all of his income. But he still had his bike.

To Ireland, then France and eastwards, the text does take some time to establish context; this is a very personal journey after all. He needs to grieve and consider what may happen next in his life. He needs to make decisions about where he should live – he always thought he might try a different country – and there is a lot of time for thought when you are inside a helmet. However, he did not expect what happened in France, nor realise how it would impact on every part of the journey. Or be the reason that his RTW ride involved more than a dozen flights and even more personal anguish with his family.

You may think this book starts slowly, but everything in those early months is important. By the time he reaches Turkey, and certainly Iran, the pace has been increased and there is a lot less of the detail and daily routine. His heart, attitude and mind is opening though, and his ability to engage people in conversation is admirable. This is never going to be a story about battling through swamps or up rocky goat-tracks, as he’s hauling one of the world’s heaviest road bikes and wearing black leathers while he does it. Instead it’s a story of change, loss and very new love, from a man who learns how to smile. There’s transformation through travel. And there’s football…

His ideal route to Australia is repeatedly altered due mainly to visa and admin problems caused by the speed of his initial departure. His route up the Americas is altered by the new draconian legislation passed by President Trump meaning his 8-day transit of Iran made him persona non grata even though he’d visited the US countless times and done millions of dollars of business there in previous years. It meant more freighting to fly his bike into Vancouver.

Rebirth is well written and flows nicely. One or two thoughts are recounted too often, but when you consider the situation at the start, and the incredible outcome, it’s not a bit wonder. I won’t spoil it for you. Read it to find out!

ISBN: 978-109-33538-60
210 pages some B&W images throughout. (£12.99)
Published by author (2019)