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There is only one known off-road route that traverses the entire expanse of Asia. It passes through Russia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia and Siberia, linking together 12,000 miles of demanding terrain, from soaring mountains to sandy dunes, brutal rocky sections to fast steppe tracks, wide river crossings in overgrown forests to open sprawling grasslands.

Navigational, riding and survival challenges mercilessly punish the endurance and resolve of man and motorcycle, in a land that is the last great unsettled, untamed, unforgivingly wild region of the planet. Such is the isolation, it’s a place where cell phone coverage is a myth and emergency services can be several hundred miles away.

Since its creation, just two dozen motorcyclists have tackled this “Sibirsky Extreme” route and only two men have ever completed it. Given the absolute inaccessibility and the associated dangers, no solo rider has dared to risk it alone.

I would be the first.

This is the story of my Trans Asia Endeavour.

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39 Comments

  1. I’m not into motorcycles so I was unsure how much I’d get out of The Trans Asia Endeavor. Turns out its one of my favorite reads of the past several years.

    The most intriguing part for me was getting a glimpse into the psyche of a person who chooses to ride a bike to some of the most isolated places imaginable. Not in a million years could I do that. But more than just about where he rode and the people he met, you get a very clear sense of how the author came to be the person that he is (the flashbacks are MASTERFUL) and what drives him to go to Kazakstan and Siberia and Mongolia. I mean WHO GOES TO THOSE PLACES?

    I’m not saying I would ever have the nerve to do likewise, but I really liked the presentation of motivations and ideas that the author conveys in this book. Other reviews say the same, this is more than a adventure travel book.

    Fully recommend.

  2. S. Chisholm

    Great story-telling in this book, some great humor as well. A very enjoyable read. My favorite part was the section “Why?” in which the author really brings home many of the themes against the stunning Mongolian backdrop.

    Very impressed overall.

  3. Very moving book in parts. The way in which the author interweaves his past and the people in his life, into the narrative is extremely well done. He obviously has a strong character and, for what he set out to do, is actually quite brave as well. It’s not just a man on a solo motorcycle ride across cushy parts of the continent, he’s riding off-road through some frighteningly remote places of this world of ours. On the one hand I sometimes wished he was being a bit more careful, but then if he were, we wouldn’t have this great book to read!

  4. The balanced presentation of the good and the bad of overland travel is very refreshing. I’m a bit weary of hearing about the glamor side of things. This book goes into good detail over the obstacles that can be encountered at border crossings, while alone and stuck (literally!!!) in the mud, encountering roadblocks, and how it can sometimes be hard just to find a room for the night.

    Mr. Franz is very candid about when he comes up short and when he perseveres to small victory after small victory. There is also an honesty to his mental meanderings when his trip comes to an end.

    Writing is first rate, the photos are right there too. Some unreal scenery from the untouched corners of Asia.

  5. P. Lawrence

    It’s well written and for sure the trip was arduous and adventurous. It didn’t capture me as much as I’d hoped.

  6. Great read for any motorcyclists who dreams of great adventures. I liked that it wasn’t technical. The emotional aspects were highlighted, as were the mental and physical challenges of being in the complete middle of nowhere while away from loved ones.

  7. Really good book, my favorite adventure book since the great Mr. Simon’s Jupiters Travels.

    A fine read for those of us who may never dare to take such an adventure, but dream of it from the couch. And this book might just motivate me to challenge myself a bit more instead of choosing complacency.

  8. MoBetterBike

    I agree with many of the comments here. Great first book, fantastic photos, great introspection, genuine and real. While I enjoyed the entire book, the author’s struggles through Mongolia were for me the highlight. Amazing people that one meets upon one’s travels. I also felt the “Questions” format worked very well.

    A bit more description of the places might have been appreciated, but its not like the book is short. A great read, I’ve already handed it to my girlfriend.

  9. Sheryl Hayden

    I want to agree with the other comments that point out how fantastic this book is for both riders and non-riders alike. I’ve been riding for 20 years and I so enjoyed this book, so I gave it to my sister thinking that she would like it too. She was reluctant at first, she calls them donor-cycles, but she admitted that after the first few pages she was hooked. She finished it and texted me that for the first time ever, she was interested in maybe learning to ride! We’ll see if that actually happens, but the short of it is that The Trans Asia Endeavour is not just a great motorcycle book, not just a great adventure travel book… but a great book by any standard.

  10. Brian Rogers

    I will say that this book completely exceeded my expectations. First time author or not, Mr. Franz writes with the ease and professionalism of a veteran. I understand he’s been a free lance guy for many years, which explains why this is a fantastic book. It really excels at being more than the usual point-to-point trip journal, and instead delves into the personality of a guy who’s willing to go places and do things that most of us could never find the nerve to do. He comes across as modest and humble but with a great imagination. I so enjoyed learning about his past and how he seemlessly blended his memories into the events of his adventure. There are some parts of the book where he has little interaction with others, and those parts might be of less interest to some readers. Personally I found it very engaging to read how a person can happily be alone all by himself for such long periods of time.

    I was sad when I reached the end, I hope there is more to come from this writer.

  11. G. Eldridge

    Got the eBook in mid-May and its been a godsend while I’ve been recovering from surgery. While I’ve been blowing through every other ADV book out there, I’ve been savoring this one. Beautiful written with great photos, encouraging and motivational in parts, funny in other parts, touching and introspective in others.
    Others have commented on too much or too little description of places, I come down on the side of too little. But then I can never really get too much description of foreign countries that I’ll never visit.

  12. the rider called Dale

    As adventure-travel books go, this is already one of my favorites.
    Others have said the same, where it stands out is that its not just a book for people who ride. There is a lot of humor, introspection, triumph and failure. The author’s honesty about his experience is refreshing. He set out to do something difficult and pretty dangerous, but there is no trace of the egotism that seems to be everywhere in these types of books.
    I hope he travels more and writes some more, i’ll buy any book he puts out.

  13. Nona Townsend

    This is a down to earth account of a shy man who has extraordinary appetite for travel outside of normal channels.
    People who are easily offended might get their panties in a twist over certain sections, but the theme of this marvelous book is that too many of us (yes, me too) let our fears and anxieties dictate our every day lives.
    Stop being afraid. Go out and live a little.
    As a woman, I am always a bit nervous about male-authored adventure books as so many of them are filled with macho drivel. This is NOT like that at all. The respect Mr Franz has for all the people he meets is well stated and obvious (maybe except for Cujo, LOL).
    Overall I really enjoyed this.

  14. Michael King

    Excellent debut book, far better I expected from a first time author.

  15. T. Borchers

    This is a very engaging story that is much more than just a travel story or a “I rode a motorcycle” book. The themes are strong but familiar and the writing is top shelf.
    I powered through this in about 3 days, reading at every opportunity. It really held my interest throughout.
    While many of us dream of “getting away”, the tedium of international travel is on display in this book. Maybe some parts belabored that point a bit too much, but I liked learning about how difficult it can be to cross borders and how to address the problems that can arise.
    Great work, great book.

  16. William 17

    Buy. Read. Enjoy.
    There are some fantastic easter eggs in this book. Jeff Franz quietly displays his wide range of interests beyond motorcycles and you realize he’s done a lot and seen a lot and read a lot. The tone is humble and modest and self-deprecating, so unusual these days. He’s clearly passionate about life and adventure and yet seems a quiet introvert going through life, trying not to draw too much attention. Its an interesting contrast to societal trends.
    His take on fear and risk were insightful, and I liked that he encourages others to try new things and be a bit braver. This really is much more than a motorcycle travel book.

  17. Rosalyn P.

    There is nothing so attractive as a man who unashamedly loves his woman. For all the different angles and perspectives one can take from this book, Trans Asia Endeavor is a quiet clever love letter to the author’s wife. Yes there is adventure and bikes and struggles and stunning locales, but for me I really liked that he gives his wife so much credit and adoration.

  18. V.B. Keats

    Got the e-book and man, really loved it. Definitely one of my favorite travel books, had lots of inspirational parts too.
    Please travel some more and write some more, I’ll read all of your stuff.

    Vincent Keats

  19. Angela Taylor

    From the opening words I felt as if I were on this trip with the author. His feelings and thoughts seem so familiar and relatable. Mostly I enjoyed reading about the stories of meeting the Russian and Mongolian people. His admiration for them is very clear. If only we all could be like “the Hero of Mongolia”.
    Thanks for writing this book, I hope you do another trip and you write another one!!!!

  20. Some parts were a little bit slow and overdetailed for my liking. That being said when the action is rolling, it is highly entertaining. Many people don’t get how tough offroad riding can be, day after day after day after day. The struggles of the solo rider are well articulated. I recommend it.

  21. Rene Owenson

    The realities of off the beaten path travel are front and center in this account. While some parts might seem overlong, i enjoyed the detail of just HOW HARD it can be to travel alone to foreign countries. The details of how difficult it was for the author to get into Russia was particularly enlightening.
    I liked how the questions other people asked him formed the backbone of the story, very clever. The flashbacks are vital for understanding the author and his motivations.
    I’ll never attempt something like this but the appeal is obvious. Kudos to anyone who gets out there and tries it.
    By the way I don’t ride motorcycles but that didn’t matter at all. Still a great book with broader appeal than you might think.

  22. A must for riders who can imagine a trip that goes beyond the Touratech catalog.
    A must for anyone who doesn’t think they can push themselves to higher limits— you can!
    Very well written and edited, a very professional product.
    I know the author didn’t speak any of the languages in the places he went, but i still would have liked a little more on his interactions with the people he encountered.
    Overall though highly recommended.

  23. Austin from the UK

    I read the preview and then received the full ebook this past weekend. The book is not short but I locked myself in the man cave and read it until the end.

    All i can say is there are many nice nuggets of wisdom in The Trans Asia Endeavor but maybe none more better than this:

    “I’m determined to dodge the still calm of life.”

    Just beautiful.

    Also eager to get the print version.

  24. John Nunn

    I have to admit I wasn’t expecting much from this book since I never rode a motorcycle and I’m pretty much a homebody. But the missus bought it for me, and I’m glad she did.
    If you think you have to be a motorcycle person to enjoy this story, you are wrong. What its really about is a guy who finds the courage to go alone on a riding trip through the emptiest parts of Asia. You learn about his motivations and his honesty about how tough it is and that all of us can always do more than we think we can. We jsut have to challenge ourselves.
    I’ll recommend this book to not just people who like adventure but people like me who wish they could be a little more adventurous.

  25. I have always felt that Ted Simon’s Jupiters Travels as the best adventure book I’ve read. There are a few others that I also enjoy but they are usually somewhat empty.

    I think this book is as good as Ted’s. Mr. Franz does well to take a different approach to his adventure, and weaves it all together in a masterful way that combines his trip along with his past life experiences. I find it hard to believe this is his first book, such is the quality.

    I received the complete ebook just a few days ago, and could not put it down. Its no easy task to keep my attention but I think this book has so much more to offer than just a motorcycle journey. But you have to pay attention in order to see it.

    Can’t wait for my print copy.
    – Dave DePetra (DRZ Dave)

  26. Another BMW Rider

    I’m not going to say that I’ve read every adventure motorcycle book ever written, but there are few that I’ve haven’t.
    I put the Trans Asia Endeavour in my personal Top Ten.
    The creative structure, descriptive prose and honest tone are first rate.
    For a first time author this is a excellent effort.
    My criticism would be that I’d have liked a bit more detail about the places. In some sections of the book the details are superb and I can envision the locale, but in some spots a bit more of that would be appreciated.

  27. Fantastic reading. nuff said.

  28. It didn’t grab me. Not sure why. Writing is good, photos are good. I guess I wanted to read just about motorcycles.

  29. Lisa Marden

    Wonderful stories from a very exciting adventure! I was on the edge of my seat more than once as the author gets stuck in Russia, later injured, and then finds himself afraid in Kazakstan.

    There is a tangible truth and honesty to this narrative, bravery when called for, humility when necessary, gratitude to those who assist him.

    I usually go for the more girly travel stories but this one was spectacular and filled with great adventure!

  30. Roxanne Sharp

    MOstly a good read. I would have liked more history of some of the places. Good writing overall.

  31. Thumper Guy

    Inspired choice for a ride! Inspired choice for a bike!
    I appreciate that your words carry so much truth about life, risk aversion, and perseverance. I was expecting just a typical adventure-overland story type of thing, your book is so much more.
    Loved reading about the interactions between you and the people you met, even when there was no shared common language. Beautiful stuff.

  32. Aaron Williams

    OUTSTANDING preview! Very unique and so much more than a travel book. The time you spend discussing your background and your family really bring all of the trip events into light. And the sheer challenge of the route that you took were mind boggling.

  33. Really liked all of your excerpts and that motivated me to buy the book.
    The ebook preview exceeded expectations.
    Can’t wait to get the print copy.
    Agree with other comments, liked the flashbacks, reader really gets to know and understand you.
    PS – you’re a bit mad!!! =)

  34. this book has definitely been worth the wait, the advance preview was terrific. fantastic photos, clean writing,
    only suggestion I have is that you have to write another book! would like to see more from you.

  35. I don’t ride motorcycles. I don’t go to distant corners of the world. But my husband told me to read your advance ebook, and I was engaged from start to finish. Can’t believe you leave us hanging until the full book comes out!
    I loved hearing about family, your friends, your wife, your motivations.
    Mostly I enjoyed learning how you met your challenges head on.
    Thank you!

  36. This is a fantastic book from a first-time author. The advance preview was worth the wait.

    The writing is excellent, the style is unique, but mostly Mr. Franz is a very good story teller. He could make going to the store for milk an interesting tale.

  37. Laurie Savino

    Absolutely LOVED the advance preview sent out in early April. So very different from most adventure travel narratives.

  38. really enjoyed the preview. i felt the flashbacks were tremendously effective at putting your ride into perspective, esp. how your attitude towards russians evolved. great family history too. amazing talent for a first book, well done.

  39. Got the preview and couldn’t put it down. Finished it in four days, can’t wait for full release.
    I found your outlook on fear and risk to be very useful. I’m risk averse and it frustrates me when i can’t overcome it. Seeing someone else get afraid but overcome it is encouraging.
    thanks for the great read!

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