Monday, June 23, 2008

Tankful Review

Seeing as I referred to this book in my previous post, here's a review I wrote back in 2000...

A Tankful of Time by Michael P Fong
(Raffles SNP Singapore, 2000)

When it comes to travelling around the world by motorcycle plenty of people dream, but few actually do it. Even fewer take the time to record their adventures, and have their memoirs published in book form.

In 1995 Michael Fong left his advertising job in Singapore, and together with his wife Sonya set off on a BMW R100 (nicknamed Baby Quek) on the trip of a lifetime. Over the next two years they covered 70,000 kms, three continents and 30 countries. As you’d expect with this kind of epic journey, Mike and Sonya visit some amazing places along the road less travelled.

The exotic countries visited pale in comparison to the colourful people they encounter along the way, both locals and fellow travellers. From an Iranian with a Vincent Black Shadow hidden in his garage, to flaming donuts performed by a Triumph riding German, to dodgy desert dealings with Triads... Michael and Sonya meet characters as varied as the countries they pass through. What never fails to impress is the friendliness and camaraderie they are shown by fellow bikers wherever they go.

If nothing else, this book is comprehensive. Not only are there biographies, photographs, map and technical details on setting up the BMW but there’s a glossary as well! The author’s attention to detail is incredible, and at times a little overdone, though he does inject a degree of personal reflection and also includes extracts from his wife’s diary as well. The book is in dire need of some careful editing and contains many spelling and grammatical mistakes, though this doesn’t detract from its readability.

For the bulk of us, who’ll never undertake a trip like this, A Tankful of Time is the next best thing, and for those who may be planning a similar trip it could serve as a valuable resource.
As far as I know this book isn’t available for general release in Australia. I bought my copy in Singapore, but I’m sure it could be sourced directly through the publisher.

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