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16th Augusat 2004 2004

Juptier's Travels - From AmazonJuptier's Travels by Ted Simon

Some books never leave your ownership even though they are worse for wear and have been read too many times until pages are falling out and fading yellow. One such book for me is the classic motorcycle travel book, Jupiter's Travels.

If you have ever thought about riding around the world on a motorcycle then this book will enthral you with Ted Simon's journey of 63,000 miles in four years across 54 countries.

At 46 years old his fascinating journey starts in 1973 on a Triumph Tiger with no riding experience, and we find out how many times you need to rebuild a Triumph to make it around the world. Written towards the end of the British bike industry, this book is a historical gem and a social masterpiece.

Anarchy's well-thumbed copy... complete with reading-gogglesThis is a book that not only is an interesting motorcycle read but appeals to readers interested in the many textures of humanity. It touches deeply into the soul and paints vibrant images of beautiful places and bloated corpses. Held prisoner as a spy at one point, Ted's story is intense and it is a miracle he survives the journey. This is far more than a travel book, it is a journey to the centre of his soul and we are privileged to be able to ride pillion.

Today there is such suffering in Sudan, and the people of Sudan desperately need our help. Ted Simon wrote on the subject in 1973; 'My feeling for the Sudanese was one of total admiration. Never had I met such unmotivated generosity, such a capacity for imbuing the simplest life with a touch of splendour. I had felt it straight away in Atbara. In the tea houses there it had been rare for me to pay, though I had tried. When it was time to settle I would find that someone had paid my bill and left before me. Only after I would remember the quiet greeting from a stranger on his way out. Or the proprietor would refuse my piaster. They were small amounts, but they added great value to the tea and made it rich.'

If you're planning to read just one book this year then I can heartily recommend Jupiter's travels, it is a book of many levels.

Reviewed by Anarchy

Jupiter's Travels by Ted Simon

  • Published by Penguin, ISBN 0140054103
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