If you're impressed by adventure, this book is fabulous. It's a great read because it's incredibly honest. Charley and Ewan fulfill a dream with this trip and they are aware of it through out, even when it seemed impossible to continue. It's a great ride.
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After reading this book I was gungho to buy a bike and set off on an adventure of my own.Then I remembered I haven't owned or rode a bike for 20 years so I settled for reading this book which took me to places most people only dream of seeing.The diary style in which it was written was the only way the authors could take the reader with them on this tremendous journey.I am in the process of reading Long Way Down and it is already making me long for the open road and a good friend to enjoy it with.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
118 of 125 people found the following review helpful
For what it is... it is a great read.March 9 2005
- Published on Amazon.com
I normally do not bother writing opinions. You dont know me, my outlook, or how I relate to you.. so what is my opinion worth?
But after reading the slew of negative reviews I was enticed to add my .02. This 'review' will actually be more of a scathing critique of previous feedback than a true review of the book (which I do own and read), but the book review is in there.
If a person does any amount of online research, such as reading the description of this book before buying it, you will realize it is two fairly well known people taking a trip across a vast distance. Just this fact would inform most intelligent people that an A-List actor and a well-to-do buddy (d-list actor?) would not be loading up 2 mopeds and heading into the wilds without some support.
People get hung up on the description of around the world.
They said 'AROUND THE WORLD",
- not 'touching every continent',
- not 'around the world by equator
- not 'around the world by your definition.
They said they went around the world and they did. They took a route across the Northern Hemisphere that allowed them, with the exception of oceans, to travel by land around the world. They even made the choice to arrive farther west to the US than they needed to. They also chose not to stay strictly to the rail system from Eastern Russia through Manchuria.
You also need to accept they will have some sort of support, and accepting they will have some level of support, it was refreshing to see that it was really only 2 Chase vehicles and a Camera-Man also on a bike. The chase vehicles were not super-duper mega prepped uber-vehicles, they were pretty much off the shelf SUVs that also proved their worth in the environment that these travellers undertook. If anyone has watched even one or two episodes of the current crop of reality automotive shows (overhaulin, biker build off, monster garage, american chopper, etc.) on TV, you will notice that those single 1 hour shows have WAY more technical support that these two guys had. They have a bazillion cameras, chase vehicles, and often a helicopter to boot.... all in the US, on pavement, sometimes when it rains, but often they trailer them when it gets to that point.
So give these two guys some props. Amatuers with little true MC experience, 2 chase vehicles, and a camera man.
People complain about sponsored vehicles. Petty.
Sure, they are rich, but rich does not always = willing to throw my own money down when someone else will pay. Otherwise they would = poor. Would any poster here choose to NOT accept corporate sponsorship?
ANYONE, would accept free rides over some they had to pay for themselves. They just had the clout to get it done. And while they wanted KTM, BMW was nice enough to pony up.
People get tired of the whining in the book...
I found it refreshing. they did not excerpt only the glossy, happy go lucky, make me appear loveable to promote my marketability, parts. They presented themselves as they were; uncomfortable, tired, haggard, testy, and a wee-bit irritable at times. They presented themselves as people, not glamour queens.
(an aside.. while I hate the show, I like that Paris Hilton and Nicole Ricthey are willing to try something embarrassing in "The Simple Life"... they certainly dont need the money either)
And I guess lastly in terms of critiques, people keep commenting they thought it was going to be like (insert name of previous marathon adventure MC stories here). Well, it wasn't. I/We appreciate that you did not find it to be like what you thought it might be, but that is not the fault of the book. that is YOUR fault for making an incorrect assumption. Dont reduce your rating on the book because you were wrong.
ok.. so what do I think?
- I think it was a great, fun, read.
- It was not a grass roots book, but as another responder listed there are a number of other resources online and in print that I will chase down now that my adventure interest is piqued.
- It was not perfectly written, but that lends some credibility to the fact that it is 'their' story, not some market media mock-up to enhance their saleability.
- I am looking to get back into local touring and BMW did a good thing in risking their reputation with their bikes. I'll be considering them a lot harder despite their extra cost.
- I can not wait for the American DVD release.. I ALMOST am willing to order the UK version, but not quite.
* If you like reading about people taking on a challenge that 99% of the rest of the riders in the world would never even attempt, let alone accomplish (even with support), then pick up the book and enjoy their adventure.
* If you are a true 1%'r who will scoff at their nice new bikes, their support, and their complaining, then please save your money for your own adventure and come back to link to YOUR adventure so we can all read it as well.
(side note.... RoadRunner Magazine [ [...] ] is running a great storyline in their magazine about a couple who are solo'ing (supportless) around the southern hemisphere. It is also a great story to keep up on.)
32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
Read the book and saw the showDec 1 2004
- Published on Amazon.com
I saw the first episode of the Bravo series and immediately fell in love. Not only beacuse it's Ewan (and Charlie kinda grew on me too), but because what it's really about is the friendship between these two wonderful men. The bumps along the way serve only to strengthen their brotherly love for each other.
The joys and hardships along their path really help them to understand how small our world is and how similar we all are as humans. We all care about our children, a roof over our heads and a good meal, no matter where you are in the world. The times when they visit the Unicef centers just break your heart and make you want to sign your next paycheck over to this great orginazation. The BMW website says Ewan auctioned off his bike for 85,000 pounds for Unicef and a couple other charities. I know I'll be sending them what I can.
On a similar note, I got a response to an email I sent the production company and was told they will be releasing the DVD in the US & Canada around January along with the soundtrack CD. The title song from the show is apparently by Stereophonics (I've been unable to find which album it's on) and will be on the soundtrack. I cannot wait!!
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Long Way RoundMay 20 2005
- Published on Amazon.com
I had to drop my car off to get the brakes fixed and I suddenly wished I could ride my cycle around town while I waited. I couldn't do that because my bike was still in the garage a few towns away. I walked down to get a book and a coffee to pass the time. I strolled through a local book store and was pretty convinced I wouldn't find anything I liked. I saw a new release in the travel section and saw the two BMW bikes and a couple of guys standing beside them. The guy on the right looked familiar. I frowned when I saw it was McGregor because I didn't even know he liked bikes. I immediately picked it up and turned it over. A couple of actors on an "adventure?" I smirked. "This should be a fun read," I mumbled sarcastically.
I picked it up and grabbed a coffee.
I was laughing outloud by the first dozen pages. When Boorman describes him doing a wheelie in front of his dad and his father's reaction after the wall . . . man, that was hilarious . . . because everyone's been in a humbling situation like that at least once in their life.
So what if they are actors? I'm sure all these 1 & 2 star reviewers would get a bad review themselves if they were held accountable for some of their own petty complaints. I bet you it wasn't on the back of a bike in Russia!
I couldn't put the book down. In fact, there were three days at work I was a zombie because I wanted to see where the two rode into next . . . and kept reading into the wee hours of the night.
I've taken cycle trips and spent 12 hours straight on the back of a bike. I love being so stiff and numb from riding that you groan when you lift your leg and get off. I love the cloud of dust when you slap your weathered and wrinkled leathers.
I'm only half-way through this book and I felt like I should drop a line to let others know it's pretty damn good. I like seeing the story from both of their perspectives too. I find it really wierd some of the people who read it were suprised the actors were whining. Huh??? Didn't they have a clue Ewan and Charlie might complain when they realized the authors were in fact, actors? Man, there's a shocker! I find myself wanting to rant and rave about the bad reviews because they are complaining about everything they should have realized they'd get when they bought a book about 2 actors taking on a trip around the world. One complaint was they didn't see every country. The book wasn't titled, "Every country." Long Way Round was the title of an episode Ewan did on ER so I'm assuming that's where the title came from. The title wasn't intended to boast about encircled every square inch of the globe! Argh! These complaints . . . it's like someone shooting themselves in the foot and then complaining about the pain!
Oh well, everyone is entitled to their own opinion . . . and I guess I should have realized there would be bad reviews mixed in with the good . . . kinda like people who bought a book about two actors, should have realized they might act like, gee, a couple of actors.
*Throws up hands in disgust*
I have a Yamaha V-Max, and ol' max and I have been on some road trips together. Reading this book has been an utter delight and I applaud Ewan and Charley for it and their decision to share the "adventure." Support crew or not, it's still an adventure by a couple of guys on motorcycles. Hell, I watch that kinda stuff on discovery channel all the time. Never once have I wanted to complain about the cameras that were there.
Reading it makes me think of heading out west with my brother one fourth of July, sitting above the shimmering heat of the highway and squinting against the dry wind, aching in every joint, and loving every moment of it. I'm gonna hand this book to my brother and have him read it when I'm done. If I could, I'd hand a copy to a lot of people, but I can't . . . so I hope this review helps.
Hey Ewan & Charlie, if you ever want to ride in the U.S. again, come to Wisconsin . . . I'll ride with ya.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Imperfect, but enjoyableJune 16 2005
- Published on Amazon.com
I bought this book mainly because of the similarities to Michael Palin's travel books (famous Brit travels the world with a film crew), which I love, and also because I am a sucker for anything on adventure travel. I won't say that I was thrilled with the book, but I wasn't exactly dissappointed either. The writing can be cringingly amatuerish, but the scope and interest of the undertaking is almost enough to make up for it. And you certainly can't fault the writers for their hontesty; in spite of their less-than-adept prose talents (or perhaps because of them) you get a definite feel for them as people, the good and the bad. And they did see some pretty awesome stuff. Overall, I wouldn't put this book in the pantheon of great travel writings, but I will say that if you are susceptable to a bit of wanderlust, it will certainly get you in the mood to hit the road.
14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Cautionary TaleJan. 25 2005
- Published on Amazon.com
This is word-to-the-wise about compromise wrapped up in the clothes of a motorcycle travelogue. It's a great idea-McGregor gets an itch to ride around the world with his friend and fellow actor, Charley Boorman. Just the two of them on the open road, travelling incognito, meeting the locals, etc.
Unfortunately, like most dreams, this one didn't survive contact with the real world. Financial and professional contraints meant that the trip had to be planned and executed in an unrealistically small amount of time. They decided to pitch the trip as a potential television show in order to get financing and planning resources. This was probably neccesary in order to make the trip happen, but it drastically changed the nature of the journey.
Instead of two blokes on the road together, now the journey was two blokes and a cameraman with a large support crew behind them and fixers at every border to ease the problems with dealing with the locals, not to mention quite a bit of publicity preceding the blokes, so that "meeting the locals" oftentimes meant "media event." What evolves, then is that the book is less the story of this larkish journey than of the tension between the original vision of the trip and the reality of it.
Everyone gets on each other's nerves, of course. It doesn't help that the planning was extremely amateurish. It quickly becomes clear that the fixers and support crew were an blessing-they'd never have made it without them. McGregor and Boorman know quite a bit about riding bikes, but almost nothing about fixing them. Since both actors need to get back to work, they really don't have the time to linger in the places they're visiting. Their cross-continent journey is really more of a race, and a gruelling endurance race at that.
The authors alternate telling the tale, and their voices are distinct and their writing clear. You never really forget that you're reading the words of a couple of celebrities, but then again, most of us wouldn't have picked up the book without the famous names on the cover. Ewan, in particular, mentions his films on many occassions. He's an actor, sure, and that's what he knows, but it does make him seem less a "bloke" and more a "star."
I think it's fascinating and really refreshing that a couple of actors would take the time off for an adventure like this, even if the original vision of it was very little like the reality. It's a huge risk, both physically and career-wise, for these gentlemen, and I respect that enormously. My biggest gripe, I suppose, is that they didn't seem to have very much fun doing it. Between the compromises and the hard work work (often a result of naive planning), they seem to have had a very unpleasant time of it. It's an impressive accomplishment, biking around the world, even with a support crew and fixers and all, but I just wish they're been a little more joy in it.