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Fransen, Tim (ed), An Anthology Of Early British Motorcycle Travel Literature (Grays: Essex-Dakar Books, 2009).

Production and commercial sale of the first motorcycle by Hilderbrand & Wolfmüller began in 1894. As other motorcycles became widely available people hit the proverbial road and began communicating their adventurous journeys in book form. As a result a new travel sub-genre was established known as motorcycle travel literature.

This volume contains three fascinating British examples – Captain W. H. L. Watson’s Adventures of a Despatch Rider (1915), Lady Warren’s Through Algeria & Tunisia on a Motor-bicycle (1922) and C. K. Shepherd’s Across America by Motor-Cycle (1922).

Between these covers are engaging tales of spectacular breakdowns and cultural misunderstandings, humorous exploits and human connections. They teach us that when we travel on two wheels, journeys are transformed into adventures.

This affordable book was produced for adventure motorcyclists and scholars of Motorcycle Studies who may find valuable insights and pointers in the accounts of pioneering British motorcyclists. It is also hoped that it will afford pleasure to a wider readership.

Additionally this publication follows a social enterprise model employed in a previous motorcycle travel project entitled Essex-Dakar with all profits helping support notable causes, in this case, Riders for Health.


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Studies in Travel Writing (journal)
Centre for Travel Writing Studies (Nottingham Trent University)

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