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The University of Gravel Roads: lobal Lessons from a Four-Year Motorcycle Adventure Paperback – January 1, 2011

4.9 out of 5 stars 38 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: RENEDIAN ADVENTURES LTD (January 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0981337112
  • ISBN-13: 978-0981337111
  • Product Dimensions: 10.9 x 0.3 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #972,746 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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.
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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.
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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.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a good book to read because of its balanced approach.It is not all about dangers and difficulties but neither is it only about smooth riding into the sunset. I can see that the coffee table format allowed for those marvellous panoramic photos and the only downside for me was that it was a bit awkward reading it in bed. To cover a 3 to 4 year trip in a book would be a challenge and hence this format was good to get the highlights in and give a realistic taste of what is involved in undertaking such a venture. I thought it a pity the author didn't explore Brazil as he was there. Though I do get it and understand as a very frugal traveller with limited resources a decision had to be made to return home for a year to earn more money. By the way and as an aside the Anzob tunnel in Tajikistan has not improved.
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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.
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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!
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