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 resolve of man and motorcycle. Such is the isolation, it’s a place where cell phone coverage is a myth and emergency services can be several hundred miles away. Yet the trials are eased by soul-enhancing encounters with the villagers and shepherds who inhabit this vast, unsettled, unforgivingly wild region of the planet.
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 ventured to risk it alone.
I would be the first. This is the story of my Trans Asia Endeavour.
eBook – $13
Print Book (Signed) – $24
I’m a bigtime outdoorsman and rider, so this book was right up my alley. That my wife, who doesn’t enjoy either of those activities, picked it up and wouldn’t put it down is a real testament to how this book can appeal to most anyone, and how the motorcycle aspect is just the backdrop to an enjoyable read of global travel.
My wife and I agree, we’d love to sit around a backyard bbq and have a beer with Mr. Franz. His expedition was extraordinary, his selfdepracation kept it light hearted, and his love of REAL adventure is obvious.
An enjoyable read with some exceptional imagery. The story builds with suspense and drama, and I was sorry to see it end. I hope Mr. Franz does another trip soon and writes another book!
Just finished and I wanted to drop you a note. I’m not the kind of person that would normally do this but felt compelled after placing it carefully on the bookshelf.
The book is a triumph – absolutely gripping, I was excited, scared and sad all in the space of 5 minutes and close to tears a couple of times.
You had a hard road, the flooding in Mongolia was staggering and you were in several (too many) dangerous spots!
The book is beautifully printed and I thrilled at your descriptions to turn the page and discover great photography of what you’d just described. Fantastic and superbly engaging. This was a real bonus.
I LOVED the way you reported on your engagements with the people you met, how you connected, how they affected you and kept the loneliness at bay.
A thrilling account and a personal triumph. Hats off to you Sir !!
Finally, and this has had the biggest impact on me, I would have stayed with The Hero for a few days! He is humbling beyond imagination. The kindness of strangers in the most difficult and dangerous situations is soul affirming.
We are indeed lucky, to have met people like this, the World has kindness even in the bleakest of places and I’m sending him love in my thoughts tonight.
Thank you Jeff, my favourite book in many years!
Let me start by saying that I have absolutely no interest in motorcycles. Let me further say that I would never have any interest in taking a trip like this or even reading about one. In short, I would never have given a book like this a 1st glance, never mind a second one in a book store.
This book was written by my friend that I had not had any contact with for several years. To say I was surprised to receive it is putting it mildly. When I received the package, I actually thought it was something from his lawyer that Jeff had bequeathed to me upon his death. When I opened the package and saw what it was, I thought, “Jeff died, and all I got was this damn book?!”
But, because it was from my friend, I thought, well, I might as well read it and see what he’s been up to lately.
Thank God I didn’t know about this trip in real time. I would have been a nervous wreck!
So, for someone who has ZERO interest in any of this – I could not put the book down. I read it in one sitting. My husband just kept providing the drink and food so I could just keep reading. All he would say is, “It must be really interesting.”.
It’s not because Jeff is my friend, it’s because of how the story was written that I was enthralled. The stories of where he went, why he went there, the people he met – Jeff sure kept his guardian angel busy – I just had to keep reading to see how it all worked out.
I know there are a lot of motorcycle enthusiasts who probably wanted to hear more motorcycle details. But for me, the motorcycle was just the vehicle to get him to the adventures.
To me, this was a trip to test himself, so his travels and the details of it was really the story. The motorcycle just played a supporting role.
I believe Jeff succeeded in this test he set out for himself, and he wrote a damn good book about it!
Now, my only question is – will Alexander Dreymon play Jeff in the movie?
I’m not a motorcyclist. They scare me. I want nothing to do with them. This book won’t ever get me on a motorcycle. I can barely ride a bicycle.
But what this book did do is inspire me to go on adventures and travels that are well within my personal means and capabilities. As the author notes, do the thing you fear and the death of fear is certain. There are some important life hints in this book, quietly stated, and for those who are honest with themselves, they should take them to heart. I plan to.
Thanks for a great book.
Adventure, like many things in life, is relative. What Jeff Franz finds exciting and challenging on his trans-Asia moto adventure would likely destroy mere mortals like me. His writing and story telling skills kept me hopelessly engaged from the moment I opened his book. Besides the amazing environments he travels thru solo, what affected me most was the people he describes in perfect detail whom he met and interacted with along his journey. My 83 year old Mother asked to read this book shortly after I had finished, and couldn’t put it down either. I may have to buy several more copies to lend out to friends…
There are two major points that I wish to make with regard to “The Trans Asia Endeavor”:
Firstly, my main reason for engaging in the activity of reading is to open up new and heretofore unknown vistas for myself. Since I am not, nor have ever been, nor will ever be a motorcyclist, the mere lure of the unknown was of interest to me. Jeff Franz succeeded in opening up a world for me that I will never experience in person. A master storyteller, he has that rare ability to relate factual events in an absolutely enthralling manner. Indeed, his skill as a writer rivals the quality of my favorite novelists. I felt as if I were transported with him (onto) “The Steppes of Central Asia” so lovingly depicted, albeit through the medium of music, by Borodin. The utter communion with the solitude, timelessness and majesty of this unspoiled part of the World, as communicated to the reader by Jeff Franz is something that can only be rivaled by a similar in-person adventure to said environs by a thoughtful person. I am deeply in his debt for having transported me (and my wife) to the Steppe.
Secondly, but infinitely more importantly, he relates story after story that is filled with what Dickens’ referred to as “the milk of human kindness”. This is a tonic, to say the least, for the soul during these times of discord; both domestically and internationally. Jeff’s book gave my personal lack of hope for the future a shot in the arm, one that many of us are in dire need of at present. Whether it be in his relating the kindnesses shown by his grandmother to those less fortunate in 1976, or the actions of the contemporary “Hero of Mongolia” et al., he reaffirms to all of us that we should be kind and helpful to each other. Those people that Jeff encountered are indeed infinitely “richer” as humans than are the affluent anywhere. These are lessons that those who live in what Americans would call “abject poverty” have not forgotten. My own mom taught me these things when I was a little boy in the 1960s: Thanks for the reminder, Jeff.
Solo guys riding for months on end are supposed to drink lots of beer and bag lots of tail. That’s what I buy moto books for, and this had none of that.
My library has almost every motorcycle travel book every written. I put the Trans Asia Endeavor in my top 3 favorites of all time.
Inspiring, emotional, well written, engaging. Even if you hate motorcycles but dream of going to faraway places, this book is for you.
There’s not much I can add that other reviews haven’t already stated. Well written, engaging narrative, humorous, self-deprecating, insightful, this book is all of those things. A very enjoyable read.
For myself, I was touched with the references to the Cold War and the impact it had on the millions of eastern Europeans. There are people nowadays who want to minimize the struggles of those who lived under puppet Soviet rule. My parents hailed from Czechoslovakia, so I too have memories of those nightmares.
Thank you Mr. Franz for this endeavor.
Bought this book locally on the bookshelves of Vromans, the worlds GREATEST independent bookstore (okay I’m biased). Followed the about the Author section to this website and felt compelled to add my review.
I’m a adventure travel nut, I’ll read just about anything that has to do with journeys to remote places. I will admit a bias against motorcycles, the appeal is lost on me. But I read the first few pages while standing in the bookstore and was instantly hooked.
For me, the best part about the Trans Asia Endeavor was its relatability. Not that I ever think for a moment that I could do this type of trip, but that the book provides a real insight into the people like Mr. Franz who attempt such things, and how fears, concerns and worries are universal. HOW we as individuals deal with such trials is what separates us.
This is a fantastically written book that now has a place of honor on my bookshelf, and I have referred it to everyone within my reading circle. Don’t let the motorcycle aspect fool you, there is so much more to this book.
Got this for Christmas and I couldn’t put this book down. The author has an envy-inspiring ability to weave a cohesive narrative and theme throughout a non-fiction book, all while getting himself into trouble and somehow getting out of it. His adventures are amazing, the people he meets are beautiful humans, and I dearly hope there is another book from this author, as his Trans Asia Endeavor is a fantastic read.
As a rider, I was hoping for more info on the mods made to the bike and the gear that was used. But no doubt, that kind of info is dull and tedious for most readers, and what makes this book such an accomplishment is that it didn’t get bogged down in those types of details. As a result, it has considerable appeal to the non-riders of the world, and if us motorcyclists are honest, we need more of that, than we need yet another book just catered to us.
On the whole, I give this four and a half stars and strongly recommend it for riders and non-riders. A well written story is a well written story, after all!
Fantastic book, excellent writing and photos.
I give it four and half stars out of five. Heartily recommend!
I don’t like motorcycles but I sure liked this book. Was given it as a gift and didn’t touch it for weeks, then tested positive and was stuck at home. Started it one morning and didn’t put it down until I finished it late that same night. You’re a heck of a storyteller when you can keep a non-rider like me interested in your adventure. Amazing job.
My husband bought this for himself, but when it arrived I picked it up and started it ahead of him. I was hooked from the opening prologue. It is a different breed of person who attempts a trip like this, and the author goes to great length to explain who he is, how he came to be, and the AMAZING support he received from his wife in his endeavor. I had to do some soul-searching to think about if I would want my man doing this type of trip.
Little else I can add to the comments already here. Get it, enjoy it, whether your a rider or not.
Five stars out of five. Loved it. Photos beautiful, writing sublime, story telling first rate. So glad I got a first edition in color!
My favorite adventure travel book ever. What more do you want me to say? =)
Please write more books.
The printed copy of the Trans Asia Endeavour arrived in the mail, nicely wrapped and carefully packaged. Just a few pages into reading it and I knew the wait had been worth it.
I give Mr. Franz a lot of credit. It would have been easy to tell a typical moto tale, but in fact, in some ways the TAE tells the story of his life. How he became the type of person who, crazy as it sounds to the rest of us, gets on a bike and purposely rides to some of the most remote regions of the world. He does it with humor and humility, never failing to point out his own shortcomings.
As always, the best parts of travel books are the encounters with people along the way. And in that regard, the narrative around the amazing people of this planet are well catalogued. Mr. Franz is an exceptional writer and story teller. I can only hope that he travels some more and keeps us entertained.
There are a couple places where the story could have been condensed, but if you stay patient with the story, that time is well spent as you’ll eventually learn.
It takes a place of honor on my bookshelf of dozens of moto travel books. Very much recommend it.
I am adding to my original review that was just of the ebook preview from several months ago. On the strength of that preview, I had decided to order the print book. One of my better decisions of the year!
Print book arrived last week. The quality is truly first rate. High stock paper, photos, all of it. But that is just the icing.
Quite possibly one of the most enjoyable books I’ve read for many, many years. Cunningly told through flashbacks and distinct themes, it almost reads more like a novel than a travel story. Exotic locales, wonderful interactions with the locals, motivations laid bare. If you’ve ever dreamed of a grand adventure, this is a book for you.
I just want to add my voice to the other reviews here. Stunning quality book, amazingly written, some quiet life lessons if you’re paying attention, set in the backdrop of some stunningly gorgeous, isolated parts of the Mother Earth. If you enjoy travel books of any sort that are so much more than skin deep travelogues, you will enjoy this book whether you’ve ever ridden a motorcycle or not.
I got the printed book and was mostly pleased with the product. I certainly enjoyed the read. Probably would have liked a more in-depth description of what mods, gear, and route was taken, but those are details that I personally like. On the whole a decent purchase.
Got my copy, signed and personalized with a nice note from the author. Couldn’t be happier with the product. I already knew the writing was top shelf, the quality of the book does not disappoint.
Received my copy of the printed book two days ago, just finished reading it. Absolutely stunning. Incredible photos, incredible writing. Excellent narrative, wonderfully woven into the story of a man alone on a motocycle. So much more than I could have hoped for. If you thought it was only about riding a bike across Asia, it really is more than that.
The nuances of the style, and professionalism on display, really are impressive. I expected the typical “I did this, then I did that” form of adventure travel book, but this really took it to a different level and place.
Yes, I highly recommend it.
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.
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.
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!
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.
It’s well written and for sure the trip was arduous and adventurous. It didn’t capture me as much as I’d hoped.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Excellent debut book, far better I expected from a first time author.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!!!!
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.
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.
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.
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.”
Also eager to get the print version.
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.
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)
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.
Fantastic reading. nuff said.
It didn’t grab me. Not sure why. Writing is good, photos are good. I guess I wanted to read just about motorcycles.
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!
MOstly a good read. I would have liked more history of some of the places. Good writing overall.
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.
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.
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!!! =)
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.
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.
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.
Absolutely LOVED the advance preview sent out in early April. So very different from most adventure travel narratives.
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.
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!