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The University of Gravel Roads: Global Lessons From a Four-Year Motorcycle Adventure [Paperback]

Rene Cormier
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 40.00
Price: CDN$ 25.08 & FREE Shipping. Details
You Save: CDN$ 14.92 (37%)
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Book Description

Jan. 1 2011

At the end of a great day of riding and exploring, have you ever wanted nothing more than to fall asleep, exhausted from new experiences, only to wake up the next day and do it all again? And again? And again?

Join the adventure as 33-year-old Rene Cormier politely removes himself from the working world that surrounds him and cashes in what few possessions he has to finance a three-yearlong motorcycle journey around the world. Never one to let excessive planning get in the way of a good ride, Rene runs out of money half way through the tour and ultimately takes five years to cover his 41-country, 154,000-kilometre (95,000-mile) route. Written with equal measure of cultural insight and travel logistics, this light travelogue brings you alongside Rene as he pulls off the ride of a lifetime, doing it the old-fashioned way; no sponsors, no support vehicles, and no idea about what he is going to learn along the way.


Frequently Bought Together

The University of Gravel Roads: Global Lessons From a Four-Year Motorcycle Adventure + Building the Ultimate Adventure Motorcycle: The Essential Guide to Preparing a Bike for the Journey of a Lifetime + Adventure Motorcycling Handbook, 6th: Worldwide Motorcycling Route & Planning Guide
Price For All Three: CDN$ 66.14

Some of these items ship sooner than the others.


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Product Description

About the Author

At 33 years old, Rene Cormier cashed in his physical world to finance a five-year around the world motorcycle tour. The travelogue of that ride, The University of Gravel Roads won the Bronze medal in the 2010 Independent Book Publishers awards. It is his first book. Rene and his South African wife Colette split their time between Alberta, Canada and guiding motorcycle tours in southern Africa.


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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars University? Jan. 8 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A wonderful read. It's my bedtime read to start my dreams off right. However, as a 'university' I was hoping for more specific information on how to prepare for border crossings and more detail on how and what resources are available in each country he passed through. Endnotes and references at the end of each chapter and at the back would be a worthwhile revision.
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5.0 out of 5 stars After Africa Feb. 2 2014
Format:Paperback
Five stars for a different approach, this is not a how to manual, its not the usual obsessive account of "look at me, I'm so proud of what I've done". It tells a good story in a beautiful format picture book, lots of personal insight into how it affected his relationships. Most like about it is.. why we travel. Travel is to understand different peoples, not change them. It is also not a contest to reach a certain amount of kilometers.
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4.0 out of 5 stars gravel roads Jan. 14 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Hubby loves it. He's always reading about other riders ad their blogs. Now he can have a book that he can take with him when no wifi
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great RTW travel book Jan. 12 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Well-written ode to a journey enjoyed. Rene lets us share his journey while we also get to know a little about him, as well. Tells of some of the varying characters one meets along the road, and the adventures experienced. A good read, with some helpful insights to those who are planning to follow in his motorcycle tracks.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.9 out of 5 stars  35 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Total Inspiration July 11 2011
By Sardog1 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Rene did a fantastic job of detailing his adventure around the globe. It is refreshing to see someone with meager means pull something like this off. His "support crew" were the friends he met along the way. No chase vehicle, no camera crew, no drama, just a man and his machine exploring the world. Everyone dreams of chucking it all and living the life of a Nomad, but few have the tenacity to make their dreams come true. Rene did this and more. Even if you are not into dual sport motorcycling, The University of Gravel Roads is an entertaining read. I envy Rene and thank him for sharing an exciting portion of his life with us. Because of him, I too will be setting out on my own adventure, while on a much smaller scale, it will still be an adventure!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Get It and Get Inspired!! July 8 2011
By Daniel Pedersen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Are you an aspiring adventure motorcycle traveller that wants to see how a mere mortal tackles the world?? Did you love Charlie and Ewan's adventure but thought the support team was ridiculous??? If so then this is a great read and a killer coffee table conversation piece to boot. Rene is a great guy that I have now had the chance to meet on two separate occasions. He is the kind of guy you say to yourself after meeting him "wow nice guy" and that's what you will say after flipping through his book as well. It's a down to earth globe trot without all the hype. Great photos, excellent adventure and real life on the road. You won't be disappointed.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ever think about riding around the world? July 8 2011
By Dan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
If the thought of riding around the world has ever crossed your mind you should read this book. It is an amazing story about one man's pursuit of his dream, the obstacles he had to overcome and most importantly, the rewards he realized. Apart from sharing technical and logistical information for would be global adventure riders, Mr. Cormier shares great insight, knowingly or not, into the psychological and emotional makeup required to make such a dream happen and get the most out of it. Entertaining reading with lots of photos of places many of us will only dream of seeing.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read but.... July 7 2011
By G. Neal - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I mainly echo the reviews of others. On the whole the book is a great read and I was very impressed with Renee trip and ability to tell his story and the pictures within the book are amazing. The only negative is that I found beyond half way through, the pace of the writing increases, the detail diminishes leaving me feeling that the latter part of the trip was rushed a little in it's writing. It just seemed to come to an end very abruptly which spoiled the book slightly for me which is a shame as I was really getting engrossed in this amazing trip.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed the lessons! April 22 2014
By Don Childrey - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
After listening to a presentation the author gave at a BMW motorcycle dealership in Raleigh, NC, I bought a copy of this book from his wife Collette and had Rene sign it. His 90 minute talk, with big-screen powerpoint slides, covered many of the details in the book, jokes and all. As a result, reading the book was less a process of discovery than one of remembering him talking about his trip. Both experiences were enjoyable, but my first journey through the story was understandably a little more exciting.

Readers often have wildly different expectations for travel writing, especially when motorcycles are involved. The University of Gravel Roads is not a book about the act of riding, riding skills, or the machine he was riding on, although those are obviously a part of Rene’s story. I tend to enjoy the descriptions of the locations as much as anything else. The book provided those descriptions for me, both in writing as well as with inspiring pictures. I would have preferred if the pictures had made better use of the large format pages, but perhaps my expectations are skewed because I first saw many of them on a 6 foot screen.

It’s ironic that the book’s most inspiring pictures for me were taken in the early part of Rene’s journey when he was unfortunately shooting at a lower resolution. No matter. The pictures succeeded in giving me a glimpse of the beautiful mountains of South America. The open spaces of Mongolia were also fascinating to me and clearly left an impression on Rene.

I can empathize with Rene’s preference for slow travel to better get to know and enjoy the places he visited. Most trips I’ve taken seem too rushed when they are over. I want to travel slowly and soak in the experience. It’s a great example to see that Rene was able to do that.

Most adventurous journeys end too soon, whether you’re living them or reading about them, and this story was no different. I agree with some reviewers that the the writing seems to have rushed by the later years of his journey. Rene did attempt to explain that within the book as he described his own personal transformations during the trip.

Early in the book Rene shared his feeling that not all stories need to be told. But he had a change of heart after he realized how much the stories of others had helped him prepare for and throughout his own trip. As readers, we can choose to feel disappointed that more of his five and a half year trip didn’t get squeezed into the book. Or we can choose to take it as a challenge to get out and experience our own journeys and transformations. Rene does tell the reader to do just that, whether it’s just for a day or a weekend. It’s important to just start.

I do not have the same motorcycle or world travel experience as Rene, so I found this peek into those possibilities to be entertaining and inspiring. I have motorcycle camped on a trip from the east coast to Colorado, where this story began. I do plan to one day attempt a ride to Alaska, which was the second part of his story. Beyond that, who knows how far the similarities will go? I’ve learned from The University of Gravel Roads that I can go as far as I want to.
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