Sunday, March 9, 2014
Book Review: Tales From The Bivouac
Tales From the Bivouac is a collection of personal tales from individual racers participating in various rally-raid events around the world. Though nothing in the book or on the associated website states that the work limits itself the tales of motorcyclists, it ends up that way in the second edition of this series (which is the one reviewed here--I haven't read the first edition).
This is a wise course of action for the work. While the stories of "car" drivers could be valuable as well, no participants have to be so self sufficient and involved in every detail of their racing as a biker. This gives them a more comprehensive view of the race and what it entails and, as a benefit to the reader, first hand experience with every little breakdown and misadventure.
Covering the Australian Rally (Jason Adams on an Airhead BMW), Mexican 1000 (Doug Chapman in his first Rally Raid), Dakar (Kevin Muggleton in an event that ended far to early for his liking) and the Baja Rally (Jeremy Brown), TFTB Vol. II isn't focused on the pointy end of the competitive entries but instead on the sportsman efforts that are closer to the efforts that I or most "regular" folks would put together. Stories of rushed preparation efforts, limited budgets, redneck vehicle fixes, all night drives, and overwhelming elation at having just finishing one of these events are familiar to many.
Apart from the great stories of personal drive in the face of enormous obstacles are the wonderful photos throughout the work. Taking some of the best images from these events and printing them in full or nearly so page sized versions turns this into something worthy of being on a coffeetable. Printed in heavy stock, brilliant white paper, the work is not a hardcover but far from a cheap magazine. The love and care that the editors put into their own racing efforts as well as of being true fans of the sport is clearly shown. It could use a bit more proofing as spelling and grammar errors are more evident than they should be but that does not take away from what is at the core of Tales From the Bivouac. It is the love of rally that shines through both in the stories and in the quality of the work. TFTB brings that love front and center in beautiful images and words worthy of any Rally fan.
If you want your own copy--which I highly suggest--go here for more info and ordering instructions: http://www.tftb.org/