by Sev Pearman
Would you ride to a foreign country confident in you ability to “go with the flow?” How about a trip to the tip of South America and back on an enduro bike? Could you depart on this 8-month, 25,000-mile odyssey just weeks after the 9/11 terrorist attacks?
Author Glen Heggstad departs California on October 1, 2001 intent on riding to Ushuaia and back. The self-proclaimed Striking Viking chooses to depart as planned, believing that if he packs it in, it will be a victory for fear and terrorism.
Mr. Heggstad is a one-time Hell’s Angel and judo instructor. He is both an accomplished rider and experienced world traveler. Despite his background it was impossible for him to prepare for what would befall him in the mountains of Columbia.
The author frankly and honestly shares his abduction by the ELN, a left-wing guerrilla faction. Held for ransom, Mr. Heggstad describes in gritty, brutal detail how he is forced at gunpoint to endure endless forced marches, sleep deprivation and mock executions. His motorcycle and gear gone, he chooses to survive, supplementing his rice and water with insects.
You feel his resolve, and respect his plan that will likely result in his own death. He makes his escape with a combination of planning, luck, and help from home. Amazingly, and against the wishes of the American Government, he chooses to continue his journey.
Even more inspiring is how Mr. Heggstad does not become bitter about his captivity. He writes, “My weapon for revenge turns out to be the healing sword of compassion. There is no choice but to let it go. I know that I still love Columbia and all its people – yes, all its people.”
This is one of the best motorcycling books I have ever read. Two Wheels Through Terror burns up the carretera with four out of four cylinders.
Curmudgeon – No Ugly American, Heggstad is the anti-Dave Barr.
ADVRider dork – Less typing. More riding.
Gringo – Sympathetic view of South American cultures.
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