by Lois Pryce
360 pages, $15.00
Arrow Books, copyright 2007
by Sev Pearman
I suspect all of us have had brain-sucking jobs that siphon our very soul. Who hasn’t coped by daydreaming of telling the boss to stick it, then riding off on your motorcycle? Meet Lois Pryce, who did just that.
Lois on the Loose is her story. At age 29, the author quits her cube-farm job at the BBC in London. Ignoring the doom-sayers, she buys a 225cc Yamaha Serow trail bike and ships it to Alaska. With only her fiery red hair and a bottomless well of optimism, she sets out on her quest to ride to Tierra del Fuego. Solo.
We live in a world in which riders endlessly debate over which are the best $1,500 aluminum saddlebags. For many of us, a simple ride to the coffee shop now requires a GPS, intercom with integrated cell phone, HID driving lights and armored laptop carrier. Ms. Pryce shuns all this and simply rides. Beyond simple tools, she carries only maps, a compass and cash.
By anyone’s account, the author is under-prepared for this adventure. Her mechanical skills are basic. Her command of the Spanish language consists of the words for “cheese” and “caution” Along the way, she encounters bears, biting insects and crooked cops. Her riotous account of a night spent in a Mexican brothel had me laughing out loud.
Along the way, she learns how to deftly handle corrupt officials and banditos alike. She learns to do all her maintenance but “a complete engine rebuild.” Best of all, she discovers that she is a bit of a writer.
And what a writer! Ms. Pryce writes in a light, positive tone that is the antithesis of too many “Extreme Adventure” writers. Bears are not “wrestled;” they are observed. Latin American roads are not “battled,” they are traversed, all in good time.
I read the UK paperback version, which is loaded with British colloquialisms. A diluted American version is available for the less-adventurous reader. Stick with Ms. Pryce’s version for the full experience. Lois Pryce deals with the challenges and triumphs of life on two wheels with a sense of humor, simple joy and wonderment. Riders and readers alike will love Lois on the Loose: four-out-of-four cylinders.
Verdict: ADV Rider: No GPS. No cell phone. No laptop.
Girrrl Rider: Ditch the zero then ride your ride!
Capt. Mileage: This ain’t no Poker Run.
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