Motorcycle adventurer Rene Cormier brings a slideshow and talk to Chattanooga showcasing his four-year, 96,000 mile around-the-world motorcycle odyssey aboard a BMW F650.
Mr. Cormier will be stopping in Chattanooga as part of a 17-city USA speaking tour. Moon Motorsports will present Mr. Cormier and his well-used motorcycle at Pandora’s BMW Motorcycles of Chattanooga, Tuesday, April 1, 7-9 p.m. Admission is free, please RSVP to the dealership.
Mr. Cormier, who chronicled his travels in the book, The University of Gravel Roads: Global Lessons From a Four-Year Motorcycle Adventure, will read excerpts from it and welcomes fellow motorcyclists, armchair travelers, or anybody with a spirit of adventure to share their passion with like-minded enthusiasts at this gathering. A book signing will follow the presentation.
This book has won the Bronze medal in the 2010 Independent Publisher Book Awards, the 2011 DaVinci Eye Award, and was a finalist in the Eric Hoffer Prize for Short Prose and Independent Books.
Mr. Cormier started his journey to see the world from Vancouver in 2003 on a BMW F650GS motorcycle. He returned 154,000 kilometers later with Pakistani art gracing the front of his BMW and stamps from 41 countries in his passport. "And none of those small, ‘easy’ European countries, either," he jokes, pointing to his route map that includes a host of uncommon destinations such as Yemen, Iran, Tajikistan and Mongolia.
"The goal behind bringing my stories to other riders is to remind them that although there are inherent risks with any travel, we imagine them to be bigger and scarier than they actually are. I want to convince people of the overwhelming rewards of adventure travel by motorcycle."
The now 43-year old admits there were challenges during his journey. One such experience happened at an Ethiopian checkpoint where a drunken border guard, wearing only a wrap-around beach towel, insisted Mr. Cormier take a guard with him to the next town, "for safety reasons." "Drunk guards never make good travel companions," says Mr. Cormier, who proceeded to race the BMW into the safety of the desert while the towel-wrapped guard and his AK-47-wielding partner wobbled unsuccessfully after him. "They were looking for bribes," says Mr. Cormier, "and I'm too cheap for that."
Mr. Cormier undertook his world journey without sponsorship -- roughing it on a skinny budget of $25 per day. He persevered, found his future wife along the way, and he hopes his story encourages others to look rationally at the risk, and then go. As he likes to point out, "it's easier – and more fun - than you think."
Attendees 25 years or older with a valid motorcycle license are welcome to enter the draw to win a guided motorcycle trip to Africa with Mr. Cormier. He has been running fully guided and supported motorcycle tours in southern Africa since 2010 with his travel company, Renedian Adventures www.renedian.com.
The University of Gravel Roads: Global Lessons From a Four-Year Motorcycle Adventure currently enjoys a 4.5/5 star rating on Amazon and is available at book stores everywhere www.universityofgravelroads.com