Recommended biker read: Distant Suns

Author and biker Sam Manicom has done what many would consider the ultimate dream - he jumped on his bike with a few belongings and then spent 8 years on the road, covering some 200,000 miles.

He has previously documented his travels in the books Into Africa and Under Asian Skies, and has now released his third - Distant Suns.

Here's some background info on Sam and his travels...

I’d been riding a bike for 3 months when I started, which was pretty daft but turned the planned year into a stunning adventure. I was shot at twice, arrested three times, nearly raped in jail, had a severe dose of malaria and fractured seventeen bones crossing the desert in Namibia.

I’d only planned to take a year out of ‘real life’ but in spite of all the above adventures I had such an amazing time that I decided to keep on going for another three years. There wasn’t a good reason to stop!

In Under Asian Skies I travel by cargo ship to Australia and then after exploring Australia and New Zealand, I head up into SE Asia and across Asia. During my time in Australia, I ended up being escorted from Sydney Harbour with a man in front of me waving a red flag, I was rescued from a motorcycle accident by three Hells Angels, fell asleep on the bike in the outback, which I only just survived, and worked my way around the country.

The adventures didn’t stop there. I was rescued by a prostitute in Thailand as I lay dying from Dengue fever, was arrested in Madras by port police in the middle of a bout of the plague, got involved with people smuggling goods from India into Pakistan, and after riding three inch black ice in the mountains of Turkey I was hit by a very wobbly case of road rage.

Ted Simon said that Under Asian Skies is ‘a unique and wonderful adventure.’

Distant Suns is my latest book – the travel bug had well and truly bitten and the journey continued on for the 3 more years. Distant Suns takes the reader through Southern Africa and then across to South and Central America. This time I am travelling with a friend. I met Birgit in Under Asian Skies when she was riding a bicycle around New Zealand. I persuaded her that a bicycle with an engine was a better deal! She still isn’t totally convinced of that but soon became an avid fan of overlanding by motorcycle.

This book not only looks at some of the history, geography and legends from the countries travelled, but concentrates on people and the quirky things that happen to you when out on the road. It also looks at what happens when things go very badly wrong. At one stage I am evacuated from Chile by air ambulance, and I’m told I will never ride a motorcycle again. I’m told that I will probably be in a wheelchair for the rest of my life. Three months later we are back on the road!

One of the best pieces of reader feedback we have had is from a chap half way down Africa who’d bought Into Africa, and was inspired enough to have a go himself. He wrote to say thanks and that he was having a great time. The book was success from that point as far as I was concerned.

Who is Sam Manicom? I was born in the Belgian Congo in the last days before it became Zaire. I’ve lived off and on in the UK since I was ten years old – the UK is now my home base. I worked as a retail manager for 11 years, commencing my employment with the John Lewis Partnership in Nottingham. I have also worked as a practice manager for a firm of solicitors and have renovated semi derelict houses. I have been writing as a freelance motorcycle travel journalist since 1996. Most of my work has been published in the UK but I have also been published in South Africa, the USA and Canada. I now write full time and do talks all over the UK. I am working on my fourth book.

For more information about Sam or his books visit his website.