Thursday, 6 September 2012

ME AND MY CAR/MOTORCYCLE #5

This month we have Kevin Turner from London with his Suzuki SV650s. Kevin is the author of Veloce's book Bonjour! Is this Italy? – A hapless biker's guide to Europe which has recently picked up some excellent reviews. Please keep your entries coming in to prize@veloce.co.uk, and you never know, it could be YOU in this space next month!

A couple of years ago I managed to get sacked from a thoroughly dreadful job in financial journalism. With time to kill and a new Suzuki SV650s parked outside I decided to strap a tent to the back of the bike, pack some belongings and head off into the unknown (unknown to me that is; I’ll concede that mainland Europe may not hold quite the same mystique for most people). In a nutshell, I rode around for a bit, got quite lost then came home and wrote a book about it all.

Bonjour! Is this Italy? is essentially my guide to life on the road if you're a completely unprepared biker with no experience of such things. I didn't do too much homework before I left London; I didn't pack the things you're meant to pack (first-aid kit, puncture repair goo, decent maps) and I didn't know where I was going. I figured I'd let the journey unravel as I went along; hell, surely that's the point of a trip like this? To this day I don't know if I was right in that assumption, or whether I ruined a perfectly good holiday through laziness and stupidity.

I'd like to think my haphazard approach to touring captured the true essence of motorcycling; the freedom, the Easy Rider charm of life on the road; but it's also true that when every piece of clothing you own is drenched, it's dark and your tent has taken on the defining properties of a pond, those same notions of 'freedom' and 'escape' tend to sour a little. At such times I sought only the 'freedom' of opening a nice bottle of wine and watching Top Gear in a centrally heated house.

When I finally returned to the UK, after a month-long trip that had taken me through France, Italy, Austria, Belgium and Germany – where I had my first experience of the Nürburgring – I wasn’t sure I’d done enough to merit writing about my journey. But it’s surprising how much you learn about yourself, other people and your bike when you set off with no expectations, and become reliant on the kindness of strangers. Bonjour! Is this Italy? isn’t about an epic road trip — I’ve described it elsewhere as more Wind in the Willows than Long Way Round — but a story about a journey that anyone with a bike and a little free time can undertake. I make no apologies for that, and I hope very much that you enjoy it all the same.
Kevin Turner, London.



Independent reviews

'I can't comment on (Turner's) skills in analysing the markets etc., but I can on his skill as a writer of a witty, humorous travel log and that is brilliant! From the beginning Turner has me smiling ... Well worth adding to the reading list ...' – inter-bike.co.uk

'Witty and self-deprecating tale of mishap ... Save yourself the inevitable loneliness, mind-numbing boredom and piles that are often part and parcel of a cross-continent 'adventure' and adopt Kevin's adventure instead.' – visordown.com

'Finally available in the US is one of the funniest books I've read in a long time. Bonjour! Is this Italy? by Kevin Turner was first released in the UK in May of 2012 to wide acclaim. It's basically the (very funny) story of a British slacker who lost his job and decided on pretty much a whim to tour Europe. But this isn't your typical dry, "do this, do that" touring guide by someone obsessed with covering all the details. Kevin Turner is like the rest of us (some of us, anyway) -- that is, unprepared, a bit foolish, highly optimistic and with a great sense of humor.' – webbikeworld.com

'From the first page to the last, this book gripped me... A highly recommended book that will keep you gripped this summer on the beach or a long haul flight.' – Burton Mail


Do you have an unusual car/motorcycle with a story to tell?
We want to see it! Send photos & description to prize@veloce.co.uk
We will pick one a month, and any we feature will win an Essential Buyer's Guide (worth £9.99 / $19.95) of your choice.
Click below to browse the whole series.

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