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According to motorcycle travel writer Clement Salvadori, we should thank his Uncle Erminio for Salvadori’s lifelong pursuit of the road less traveled. As Salvadori explains in the introduction to No Thru Road, his latest compilation of traveling stories, Italian country doctor Uncle Erminio gave an 8-year-old Salvadori his first motorcycle ride, taking him along on patient rounds aboard an old Sertum 250.
That experience lit a flame, and although it would be a few years before Salvadori would buy his first bike, by the age of 16 he was committed to life on two wheels, and has been riding regularly ever since. That’s a bit of an understatement, actually, as Salvadori has, in the intervening 50-plus years, racked up innumerable miles riding on six continents through at least 70 countries — including an around the world trip in the 1970s — in often less than hospitable conditions.
Salvadori’s travel stories have appeared in just about every motorcycle magazine produced, including Motorcycle Classics. Along with current travel articles, he shares lessons learned from the road in his popular Road Tales column in Rider magazine. An adventure rider before the category existed, Salvadori has a habit of seeking out the road less traveled. Uniquely comfortable in the saddle and apparently requiring little more than a rain suit, a good sleeping bag and a bottle of red wine to keep him happy, Salvadori is the rare traveler, reveling in the journey and rarely concerned about the destination.
It’s a disposition that’s taken him from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe and seemingly all points in between.
Like the author, this latest compilation follows its own unique path, tracking Salvadori’s rides alphabetically rather than chronologically or thematically. The result is a series of motorcycling adventures that hop around the world, jumping back and forth in time between Salvadori’s earliest tour through Europe in 1957 and a more recent expedition to the Bonneville Salt Flats, in 2010. In between are memorable rides like Kashmir in 1973, Peru in 1998, the former Soviet Union in 1988 and Tanzania in 1974.
The rides are all memorable and the story telling unforgettable, taking us to places most of us can only dream of visiting. Available through Amazon: 416 pages, $25. MC
Cover courtesy Amazon