Tracy Farr

Tracy Farr was born in Fort Worth, Texas, and grew up around the Dallas/Fort Worth area.


After graduating from college with a degree in music education, he taught for two years then joined the military. Tracy spent five years in the Air Force serving as a photojournalist and editor of a weekly Air Force newspaper. At the end of his enlistment, he returned to civilian life and teaching.


Tracy is an avid motorcyclist, musician, artist, and storyteller.


He is married and has three children—and some cats.

Paul van Hooff

 
 

THE AUTHORS

 

A. P. Atkinson

A. P. Atkinson, known as Jack to his friends for some inexplicable reason, was born in London in the latter part of the twentieth century. The majority consensus is that this was probably a bad move on his part.
Coming from a family of motorcyclists, he had an early interest in things with a wheel at each end. His father was an engineer and his uncle was renown for drunken bar fights and riding too fast, in no particular order. They encouraged him with a box of parts and the promise that there was a bike in there somewhere. There mostly was, and he built his first motorcycle at the age of sixteen and has built many more since; some even worked.
Several engineering disasters later, and a few drunken bar fights, he fostered a passion for not crashing through hedges while riding sports-bikes at speeds upon which the law frowns.
His other passion is writing, for which he discovered he had a little talent, at least more talent than he displayed at not crashing through hedges. At the age of eleven he grumbled to a friend about the quality of a story he had read. His friend challenged him to do better, which set him on a lifelong quest to live the life of an impoverished writer.
After creating a number of fictional stories that awkwardly blended science-fiction with motorcycles, he gave up and decided to find somewhere to quietly drink himself to death.
When he finally decided to leave London and discover what was actually out there, it all naturally came together: motorcycles, questionable ethics, a dubious grasp of grammar, a passion for telling stories, and absolutely no clue about what he was going to do next.

 

Author of Those Two Idiots!

Ron Davis has been a rider, on and off, for about fifty years. Over that period, he’s also squeezed in a full time career teaching high school and university classes in writing, photography, and publishing while also working as a social media writer for the tourism industry in Northwest Ontario and as an associate editor and columnist for BMW Owners News. In addition, his writing has been featured by BMW Motorcycle Magazine, Volume One, Our Wisconsin, and the National Writing Project, and his essays (some about riding) can be heard regularly on Wisconsin Public Radio’s “Wisconsin Life.”

 

Author of Shiny Side Up

Ron Davis

 

Andy Benfield

Andy Benfield was born and raised in the UK but soon caught the travel bug, quitting his first proper job in an investment bank to go and live on a farm in Israel instead. He returned home to get a degree, feeling that might help sustain him overseas in future, and was off again the day he graduated. A variety of odd jobs followed, including teaching English in the Sudan, interning at the British Embassy in Spain, and most incongruously, showing people how to grow rice in rural Madagascar. A stint living in Hong Kong learning Tai Chi was followed by two years meandering around Africa, the Caribbean, and the Pacific advising small businesses on how to be more productive, while squeezing in as much adventure as possible on the weekends.


Andy eventually wound up living in India, working for a diplomatic mission, and took up riding Royal Enfield motorcycles, fast developing a love of two wheels and the open road. When he was forced to leave his bike behind and move to Ethiopia for work he took up flying instead, which he claims he had pretty much down, apart from the landing bit. Moving on to Namibia, his love of the African bush was firmly cemented as he off-roaded across some of its most remote parts, pretty much destroying an innocent two-wheel drive sedan in the process.


Asia beckoned again, and Andy wound up in Bali, where he bought a house in the jungle and resolved to settle down. But the bug wouldn’t quite leave him alone, and he ended up turning the house into a boutique hotel and moving on again, this time to Kathmandu. The joys of motorcycling through the Himalayas kept him in one place for over a year, something of a record, before he heard tell of a secret Asian gem that had lain hidden from the world for the past five decades. And that’s how he ended up in Burma and this story began.

(Andy is currently based in Singapore but may well have moved again by the time you read this.)

 

Author of Wrong Way Round

 

Jacqui Furneaux

Seven years, twenty countries, no plan.
How it started . . . 

In 1998, after bringing up a family and enjoying a lifetime career as a nurse and health visitor in the UK, I set out on a year’s journey, on my own for the first time ever, having always been someone’s daughter, little sister, or wife. I started backpacking in Thailand and explored many South East Asian countries armed only with wide-open eyes and a guide book. Six months into the trip and feeling quite the adventurous explorer, I went to Pakistan and then to Rajasthan, India, where I met a Dutchman who was travelling on an Enfield Bullet motorbike. He fired my imagination with tales of the open road.


I returned to the UK, but I found it hard to settle down, as I really liked travelling, and although at my age I really should have known better, I set off again,  this time combining my love of travel with my other passion . . . motorcycling. I’d owned various Japanese motorbikes over the years since passing my test at the age of twenty-four but had never had an Enfield!

Exchanging guide books for road maps, for my fiftieth birthday I bought a brand new 500cc Enfield Bullet in India and rode it, initially alongside the Dutchman who had suggested the idea. He was seventeen years younger than me, and I thought the adventure might last six months, at most. None of it was planned. I would not have dreamed I’d be having this chance of a lifetime when I should have been saving for my retirement. But life’s too short not to take a chance.

Author of Hit the Road, Jaq!

 

Tracy Farr

Tracy Farr was born in Fort Worth, Texas, and grew up around the Dallas/Fort Worth area.


After graduating from college with a degree in music education, he taught for two years then joined the military. Tracy spent five years in the Air Force serving as a photojournalist and editor of a weekly Air Force newspaper. At the end of his enlistment, he returned to civilian life and teaching.


Tracy is an avid motorcyclist, musician, artist, and storyteller.


He is married and has three children—and some cats.

Author of Chasing America

 

Paul Andre Jan van Hooff was born on the 19th of March 1964 in Kaduna, Nigeria, where his father was employed as a pilot at the time. He does not have any memories of his residence in Nigeria. He grew up in De Zilk, a village located by the North Sea in the Dutch province of  South Holland. He moved to Amsterdam when he turned twenty-one and remained there until his early forties. His favorite hang-out there still  is Café De Koe. He studied journalism at the School of Journalism in Utrecht from 1987 to 1991. After graduating, he kick-started his career as a press officer for the Catholic Broadcasting Association (known as the KRO in Dutch, comparable to the British BBC). He changed his career to freelance journalism after realizing that the routine of a steady job was just not for him. He developed a specialty in two niches: that of broadcasting and motor journalism.


To Paul, besides journalism, motorcycles are a way of life. Cars mean nothing to him; he never even bothered to get a car driver’s license. “In a car you’re locked up in a far too confined space, alone with your thoughts and the smell of your own farts. On a motorbike your senses are in sync with what happens around you. You are one with the landscape, with the sun, the wind, the rain and the cold. You are part of the elements.”
His first real motorbike was a  Laverda 750SF, after which several Ducatis and Moto Guzzis followed, along with different off-road bikes such as the Yamaha XT500 and the Honda XR650R, as well as the odd outing to Buell. Italian motorbikes have his preference—after all, Italians understand the power of seduction like no others.
In May 2005, Paul combined his passion for motorbikes and writing with his other basic need, travelling. He closed the “Netherlands door” behind him, shipped his faithful Moto Guzzi V7 to Alaska, and rode a three-year epic trip from Deadhorse, Alaska, to Ushuaia, at the tail end of Argentina. To fund his trip, he continued writing for several newspapers and magazines. Van Hooff lived his dream. When in Sucre, Bolivia, he met Roxana. Together they had twins: Santiago and Sebastian.


In November 2016, van Hooff slipped onto the saddle of the Moto Guzzi V7 again and rode from Amsterdam to Tokyo in what was mostly wintery weather. This still-to-be-published book will bear the title From Here to Tokyo. Paul is living in Sucre with his twins.

Author of Man in the Saddle

 

Paul van Hooff

Author and travel writer Graham Field was “born at a very early age, and independent travel begun shortly after he learned to crawl.” During obligatory but inadequate schooling he spent the majority of his time looking out of the window and escaping into his favourite daydream—the freedom of the road. Making restless dreams become a reality has been his single-minded talent.


Graham’s life of travel really started with his first motorbike, obtained way before he was old enough to have a licence. By the age of eighteen he was living in the US, working in construction, in strip clubs, and riding a 1960 Harley-Davidson. In 1990, he set off around the world with a backpack, and this was followed by challenging solo cycling trips in India and China. 


For over a quarter of a century, Graham has had three constants in his life: motorcycles, travel, and diary keeping. He appeared on a national TV game show, where he announced he would use his modest winnings to ride to Mongolia. This was when all three of his obsessions came together. On a thousand-dollar KLR 650, he rode 15,000 miles east from his home in the UK—105 days on a $7,500 budget. This journey, the people met, the challenges, and the startling contrasts of both the cultures and landscapes became the subject of his hugely popular and inspirational diary-format book, In Search of Greener Grass.


A few years later, his KLR, with the same budget, distance, and time-frame, took him to Iraq and Azerbaijan. A “eureka moment” occurred during this journey, and that epiphany became the topic of his enthralling second book, Ureka [Titled Eureka in the North American print edition.]. His third book, Different Natures, takes the reader on earlier motorcycle trips from the Alaskan Arctic Circle to southern Mexico. Delving into diaries packed with tales of naivety, and at times eyebrow-raising debauchery, the reader soon discovers that Graham’s mantra is “You never lie to your diary.”


Graham writes regularly for Overland Magazine. His articles and columns are published in British national papers and motorcycle publications in both Europe and North America. His presentations are widely regarded as some of the funniest in the genre, and in radio interviews he is well known for his passion for travel and his off-the-cuff comments, which both challenge and amuse. He makes regular contributions to Adventure Bike TV, where he was nominated as “most inspirational adventurer.” Graham has a residency on Adventure Rider Radio, alongside travel writers Brian and Shirley Hardy-Rix, Grant Johnson of Horizons Unlimited, and myself. He currently lives in Bulgaria, with a variety of iconic motorcycles, a cluster of KLRs, and some gold-digging cats.

 

—Sam Manicom

 

Sam is the author of a four-book series (Into Africa, Under Asian Skies, Distant Suns, and Tortillas to Totems) about his eight-year journey around the world by motorcycle.

 

Author of In Search of Greener Grass, Eureka, & Different Natures

Graham Field

 

It’s no surprise that Aaron created Asphalt & Dirt (www.asphaltanddirt.com). It gratified his perpetual need to answer two of his favorite questions: “I wonder where that road goes, and what’s the story here?”


Aaron is a lifelong journalist and storyteller who published his first writing at the age of twelve—a letter to the editor for his local junior high school’s clean up project. The power of the written word grabbed him and fueled Aaron’s desire to take his writing even further. He went on to obtain an undergraduate degree in journalism from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University and an MFA in screenwriting from the University of Southern California.


But a writing career is not where Aaron headed from there. Financial expediency sent him down the path of public relations and marketing. Since making that choice, he’s worked with large global companies like Microsoft, FedEx and T-Mobile, and startups to medium-sized companies launching a literal plethora of new devices and services.


Never far away, though, was an innate curiosity for what lie just beyond the next twisty or bend in the road. After a nearly twenty-five-year hiatus, he got back on a motorcycle and proceeded to rack up mile after mile exploring the freeways, highways, and backroads of the West. Several years later, he launched the website Asphalt & Dirt as a platform for telling the stories of individual riders, regardless of what or where they rode. The stories shared in Asphalt & Dirt cover the roads traveled and lives led of interesting people from all walks of life and all parts of the world.


While Aaron continues to help companies of all sizes create and improve their brand stories, he profoundly understands what it means to share the fascinating journey of the human spirit—especially of those who are intimately one with road, wherever it may take them.

 

Author of Asphalt & Dirt

 

Aaron Heinrich

Mike Fitterling was born in 1957 in northern Indiana and grew up across the state line in Niles, Michigan, graduating from Brandywine High School in 1975. Mike did a two year stint at Anderson College, in Indiana, before dropping out in 1978. In 1989, he returned to school at the University of South Florida, where he graduated in 1992 with a Bachelor in Fine Arts.


Throughout Mike’s youth, family trips hinted at the world awaiting him if he just got on the road. Starting at an early age his family made camping trips to over twenty states.
After his first stab at college, Mike tagged along with his brother on a biology and archeology excursion Anderson College had organized to Central America. Those five weeks of camping in the remotest areas of Mexico and Guatemala added the twist of adventure to his love of travelling.


As time went on, Mike was drawn to the sea, bought a small sailboat, and took off along the southeast US coast and through the Bahamas and Caribbean. He captained an excursion sailboat in the Cayman Islands for three summers and earned his US captain’s license in 1993.


Returning to the States from the Caribbean, Mike settled in central Florida, where he worked as a graphic designer. Later, he became interested in woodworking and worked semi-professionally at that craft for a period while working for Lost Classics Book Company.


When he married in 1997, Mike was working as cover designer and illustrator for Lost Classics Book Company, and later became Managing Editor. He acquired the company in 2010. Finding himself owner of a publishing company, his natural inclination was to turn to publishing books on motorcycling, and so in 2011, the Road Dog Publications imprint was started.


In 2013, Mike became Editor of Vintage Japanese Motorcycle Magazine, the official publication of the Vintage Japanese Motorcycle Club of North America, where he also currently serves on the board of directors.


Motorcycles had been a distant dream for Mike since his childhood, but bike ownership escaped him until he was in his fifties, when he discovered a 1968 Honda tucked away in a dusty corner of a relative’s shop. He extracted the motorcycle and applied himself to learning about fixing and riding them, starting a new episode in his life, which provided him a new means of adventuring. He later acquired a Suzuki Savage, then a modern Triumph Bonneville, and has since added a 200cc Honda Scrambler and a Suzuki GS550e to his garage. Everything but the Triumph have been project bikes, the GS being still largely in boxes at the time this book was published.
Mike loves long-distance riding and tries to get at least one long ride in a year. Between 2009 and the end of 2016 he has put close to 150,000 miles behind him riding in the US and Canada.
 

Author of Thoughts on the Road & Northeast by Northwest

Michael Fitterling

 

Antonia Bolingbroke-Kent—better known as Ants—is an English writer whose favourite occupation is embarking on very long journeys in unsuitable vehicles; a habit which started in 2006 when she drove a bright pink tuk tuk from Bangkok, Thailand to Brighton, England with her friend Jo. Through the trip the duo raised $75,000 for charity, set the world record for the longest ever journey by auto-rickshaw, wrote a best-selling travel book, Tuk Tuk to the Road, and won Cosmopolitan magazine’s Fun Fearless Female Award. Since then, she has ridden a Honda C90 3,000 miles around the Black Sea, organised the Mongol Derby, the longest horse race in the world, and survived an attempt to reach the Arctic Circle on an old Russian Ural with sidecar.


She writes regularly for publications such as Overland Journal (USA), Adventure Journal (USA), Ride (UK), Wanderlust (UK), The Guardian (UK) and Overland (UK). She’s also appeared on numerous radio and television shows, including the very popular UK chat show Richard & Judy and BBC Radio 4’s Excess Baggage. She has contributed chapters to anthologies including Flightless (Lonely Planet) and A Girl’s Guide to Travelling Alone, and through her blog, www.theitinerant.co.uk, was voted one of the “Top 100 travellers to follow on social media in 2014.” (Twitter: @AntsBK, Facebook: www.facebook.com/AntoniaBolingbroke-Kent).


She’s also a regular public speaker at schools, travel shows, the Royal Geographic Society, and adventure, literary, and motorcycle festivals. In between travelling and writing, she works as a freelance television producer, making travel, adventure, and history documentary programmes for the BBC, National Geographic, Channel 4, and ITV.
A Short Ride in the Jungle was published in the UK by Summersdale in April 2014 to great reviews: it has been variously described as “beautifully written…jaw-dropping…truly wonderful…exceptionally well-researched…fantastic…part travelogue, part thriller…a classic to be.”

 

Author of A Short Ride in the Jungle

Antonia Bolingbroke-Kent

 
 

Isabel Dyson

Isabel Dyson was born in Kent, England, in the 1980s and grew up in the richly historic, coastal town of Deal. The spirit of adventure was instilled in her from a young age, having grown up with two older brothers when it was still OK to play out in the street and swim in the icy waters of the English Channel.


Her taste for exploration was nourished by a television-free family home and fuelled by an early love of books, camping holidays, and relatives that were spread across the globe.
Isabel pursued her love of books and writing by later studying literature at university where she wrote for and edited the news for the student newspaper. After graduating, she moved to London without a job but soon found herself applying her skills in marketing.


While living in London, she met Byron, who matched her desire to travel with one for motorbikes. After a few years, they saved enough money to combine their passions and undertake a journey from Alaska to Argentina on an R100RS BMW, fondly named the Flying Aga. They documented their adventure in a blog before Isabel turned it into her first book on their return.


Isabel currently lives with Byron in Lincolnshire (a biker’s paradise) where they are saving again for their next journey.

 

Author of Beads in the Headlight

Zoë Cano

Zoë Cano was born in Hereford, England, in the wonderful ’60s and has had the spirit for adventure traveling from an early age. In the 1980s, needing to find work and stand on her own two feet, she moved to Paris, bought a scooter, and lived there for a decade, working in the film industry and the international events business.

 

For the next fifteen years, Zoë traveled extensively for diverse projects, taking her across the world into Europe, Asia, and the Americas. During this time, she resided in New York, and Boston. She eventually returned to England to continue working in events.

 

Zoë started rowing competitively and took the challenge to skiff the entire length of the Thames from its source in the centre of England to Greenwich. She recently crossed the Peruvian Andes on horseback. She still travels extensively, often taking her beloved Triumph Bonneville motorbike.

 

Zoë lives in West London, close to the river and never far from the next adventure.

 

Author of Bonneville Go or Bust, Southern Escapades, Chilli, Skulls & Tequila, & Hellbent for Paradise

 
 

Kirk Swanick

Kirk Swanick was born and raised in northeastern Illinois, in the northern Chicago suburb of “Mudsville”, also known as Mundelein, Illinois.

 

Kirk has been fascinated with the “infernal” combustion engine as long as he can remember, or possibly even before that. He began tinkering with things mechanical long before he should have. He cut his teeth on bicycles, which was soon followed by mini-bikes and motorcycle engines. Next came cars, then ultimately aviation (which turned into a career). Eventually he returned full circle back to motorcycles where his passion for repairing and restoring the Japanese import bikes of his youth is only eclipsed by his passion for riding them. He is also an avid black powder firearms enthusiast, shooter, and tinkerer/amateur gunsmith. He resides on a number of black powder internet forums as administrator, moderator, and advisor, as well as a number of motorcycle-based forums primarily concerned with the bikes he owns and restores. He is also a hunter, archer, reloader and unsung guitar-slinger.

 

He attended Mundelein High School and after graduation attended College of Lake County for two years until deciding he wanted to make a career of fixing things that go fast and make noise, with aviation earning top billing in that department. He attended Spartan School of Aeronautics in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and graduated from their Aviation Maintenance Technician program earning an AMT degree and receiving his Federal Aviation Administration Airframe and Powerplant license in late 1979. He received his FAA Inspection Authorization in 1984 and has kept it in constant currency since. Presently he is part-owner of Waukegan Aviation Services/Waukegan Avionics, a licensed FAA Repair Station, avionics dealership, and full-service piston aircraft maintenance and service center.

 

Kirk resides with his wife, son, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter in Waukegan, Illinois, just shy of the Wisconsin border, where he loves to spend more hours riding his motorcycles than would be considered advisable by any licensed marriage counselor.

He has taken and completed both the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) Basic Rider Course (BRC) and Experienced Rider Courses (ERC).

 

Author of A Tale of Two Dusters and Other Stories

Brent Allen

Brent “Crash” Allen grew up in the San Francisco Bay area, graduating high school in 1981, the same year he bought his first motorcycle—a 1978 Honda XL500S. Receiving his motorcycle endorsement that year, he has kept it current ever since.

 

Trained and certified as an Idaho State Motorcycle Safety Instructor in April 2003, “Crash” teaches both basic and advanced motorcycling classes. He was awarded the Shining Star award by Idaho STAR in 2004 and an Award of Merit in 2010.

“Captain Crash” is well-known in the motorcycling community, having produced the popular series of motorcycle safety videos titled “Howzit Done?” which have received over three-quarters of a million views on YouTube.

 

The author has owned sportbikes, standards, dual-sports, a motard, and now a cruiser. An equal opportunity rider—if it’s got two wheels, he’ll ride it.

 

Early on, Brent worked as a truck driver, equipment operator, light duty mechanic, pump jockey, and a freight handler. He attended college at Foothills College, Santa Monica College, and eventually Brigham Young University, where he was awarded a bachelors in Mass Communications in 2011. Brent went to work in broadcasting in the Salt Lake City area in 1986. He moved to Idaho in 1990, where he worked as a television photojournalist, production and operations manager, and producer/director. Brent has worked on nationally broadcast football and rodeo events as a camera operator since 1986.

 

In 2002, Brent was hired as a Professional Technical Educator and now teaches broadcasting to high school students. In 2005 he was voted “Teacher of the Year” by his high school teaching peers. His students have been the SkillsUSA Idaho State Champions in Television (video) Production from 2005 through 2010, SkillsUSA National Champions in Television (video) Production in 2009, and SkillsUSA Idaho State Champions in Broadcast News in 2006 and 2009.

 

Brent is also Fire Commissioner for the Nampa Fire Protection District and is proud to be helping first responders do their jobs and do them well.

 

Author of Motorcycles, Life, and… and The Elemental Motorcyclist