Twisting Throttle Australia -
by Mike Hyde
Paperback, 240 pages
HarperCollins New Zealand
Publish Date: 2007
Twisting Throttle for international purchase.
Price: $36.99NZD (Approx. $27.00USD)
Book Reviews Index | wBW
by Lori B. for webBikeWorld.com
Twisting Throttle Australia is an interesting story of a "Kiwi" (New
Zealander) motorcyclist who decided to take a 17,000 kilometer trip around
the perimeter of Australia.
Australia is certainly one of the most interesting places in the world to
visit; an island continent, it has about 21 million people on a land mass of
about 3 million square miles, but most of the inhabitants are located in the
major cities of Canberra (the capital), Brisbane, Sydney, Perth, Melbourne,
The rest of the geography is relatively uninhabited and contains some of the
most varied, interesting and different flora and fauna that can be found, so a trip around the perimeter of this great land mass would be quite an
Mike Hyde takes an interesting approach in his
narration of the trip; each chapter is a sort of a stream-of-consciousness
log that describes his thoughts during the ride, his descriptions of the
landscape, places and characters that he meets, with a special focus on his
diet and some of the more mundane aspects of long-distance motorcycle
The book's format is different than any other motorcycle travel and
adventure stories that I've read; there are many comical situations that are
described by Hyde in a style that reminds me of, say, Woody Allen taking a
I don't think this is a book that could serve as a
technical guide for duplicating the trip; rather, it serves as background
information that provides some insight into the people, he culture and the
food that can be found in the "outback".
Of course, there's Mike's character, which definitely comes through in the
text. He's an impartial observer of the passing scene, but the comedy
is that he never quite seems comfortable blending in to the customs way
outside the big cities.
I never realized that there was so much of a
cultural divide between "Kiwis" and "Aussies" (pronounced "Ozzies").
It reminds me of, say, what might happen if a born and bred Manhattan
apartment dweller was all of a sudden thrust into the wilds of North Dakota.
Hyde's journey also gives hope to armchair adventurers who have been
reluctant to take the plunge because they are unsure of their mechanical
aptitude. Other than a few minor problems, he made it on his Suzuki
V-Strom nearly without incident.
I have a feeling that Twisting Throttle Australia may not appeal to
everyone; Australia is a big place and narrating the nearly minute-by-minute
activities during a motorcycle ride through many hundreds, if not thousands,
of kilometers can sometimes become a bit tiresome.
It seemed like a
book that I could put down for a while and then pick back up to see what was
next, rather than something that can be digested all at once.
But overall, I enjoyed the adventure and Mike Hyde's dry humor. As the
press release says, "In Twisting Throttle Australia you might not learn much
about Australia, its history, attractions or geography. It's the story
of a journey and what happened...."
I take it that Hyde is planning a "Twisting Throttle America" book as a
follow-up, and it should be interesting to learn about a Kiwi's take on
grits, Hip-Hop and Middle America.
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