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Read the story? Tell others about the book and what you enjoyed. What adventure has it led you to dream of?

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It's a good read

★★★★★
5 5 1
Hi Ron Earlier this month my wife (Liz) and I were holidaying in Tasmania. We visited Richmond and looked in on a motorcycle show where we briefly met you and Lynne and admired your FN. After a short chat I bought your book and having just returned home I have now finished reading it. I greatly enjoyed reading your book: as you said, It’s a good read. As a Vintage Douglas owner (1925/26 TS and CW) I enjoy the challenge of an occasional 150 km ride, so I found your effort both humbling and inspiring and I am thankful that you and Lynne published such an interesting, insightful and easily read book. Your journey across the world on the FN may have been epic, but your personal efforts were heroic. Regards and thank you Jim Taylor

It's a fun read

★★★★★
5 5 1
Hi Ron, I am about 1/2 way thru your book and find it really interesting. I also rode from Alaska to Ushuaia and your ride make my ride look like a walk in the park. Thanks for writing the book.

Bravo!

★★★★★
5 5 1
Hi Ron and Lynne. I just wanted to tell I really enjoyed the reading and the ride all along your book. English is not my mother tongue (I live in Belgium, the land of the FN!), and despite of that, I could understand everything, (almost) every word. I read a lot of travel books, and this is one of my favorites now. I traveled on my motorcycle from Brussels to Iran 2 years ago, and when I first saw the title of your book, I immediately knew what it was about: many times, Iranian people gave me fruits while I was on the road. The difference is: I had room for watermelons!! Take care.

Great adventure

★★★★☆
4 5 1
Very gutsy trip, I can't see myself going through those places on my own! Good read and was compelling all the way through. Having been to Nepal I could well imagine the roads and conditions you faced there.

There's hope yet

★★★★★
5 5 1
What a great read, and what a gutsy effort. Ron shares a wonderful adventure with his armchair comrades and lets us all dream of the possible. His wife Lynne flits in and out of the adventure as they both do the seemingly impossible, and reminds us all that although the world might seem in strife according to our endless news cycle, it's really just human beings out there living there lives. Thanks so much.

You got me hooked

★★★★★
5 5 1
Hi Ron and Lynne. Wow, what a fantastic and challenging adventure. I must tell you I have a reputation in my family of being a 'non reader'. In fact, apparently, I have not read one book cover to cover in the almost 25 years we have been married. I heard someone on the radio recently talking a little about your book and I was interested enough from that description to Google it. When my children asked "What would you like for Christmas Dad?', I gave them the title of your book. On boxing day, I read more than half of the book! - unheard of for me. It was so good, in a way I was disappointed that I then had less than half remaining. Anyway, two more sittings and by New Year's eve, I've completed the book - first time in 25 years! Needless to say, I thought it was fantastic reading, entertaining, inspiring and a wonderfully uplifting story of the compassion and friendliness of the human race. Best wishes for good health, many more journeys and books to come. Kind regards, Gary Milburn.

No Room for Watermelons

★★★★★
5 5 1
This was a great book which I enjoyed from start to finish. I was sad to finish it. It's a story of adventure and wonderful people throughout the world in countries where led to believe otherwise. It's a reminder of the good that's out there if you take a chance on adventure. And a lovely couple to boot who I had the pleasure to meet at Motoclassica in Melbourne. Thanks for sharing.

What an incredible adventure!

★★★★★
5 5 1
Ron, you are an inspiration. Your story had me on the edge of my seat from beginning to end. You have given me the courage I needed to plan my own epic trip through South and Central America. Nothing quite as brave as yours but an adventure all the same. Thank you!

Fantastic read!

★★★★★
5 5 1
G'day Ron, just wanted to say congratulations on the book and thanks for a fantastic read- I just started on my copy. I'm 27 and my dream since I was a teenager has been to ride a motorcycle from Melbourne to Central Europe. My 1948 BSA M21 (600cc, side valve, rigid frame, girder forks) will be my companion, and I aim to leave before I turn 30. I've ridden Royal Enfields across the Himalayas, and dirt bikes across Australia, but I still feel like the world is a big place, thanks for inspiring me to keep on course. Nick.

I had tears in my eyes

★★★★★
5 5 1
I finished reading the book at 8.15 pm Sunday night. What a wonderful story and so beautifully written,I had tears in my eyes a few times. Just think what a wonderful world it would be if we could just get all those good and generous people together and oppose all the tyrants we have at present. I know there are many more good people than the ones you came across. I would love one day to sit down with you and look at all the great photos you must have and just talk about the trip, but I guess that is just wishful thinking. It was so great to meet you at the show and see Effie, it must be great to have a mate like her. Thank you so much for sharing your story, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Kind regards Terry Towers

What an extraordinary journey!

★★★★★
5 5 1
Decades before Ewan and Charlie made adventure motorcycling accessible to the broader public, for several years in the 1980’s Ron and Lynne Fellowes were living the idea, covering 200,000 km in numerous countries on a Honda Goldwing towing a trailer. Travelling on a modern motorcycle for years on end when you’re young and fit is no mean feat and is not that common an occurrence even today. To ride a 100+ year old motorcycle at the age of 68 for 8 months half way around the world to the still operating European factory where it was built could be considered unique. This book describes such an extraordinary journey of almost 15,000 km through 15 countries from Nepal to Belgium and once I started reading I couldn’t stop. As a 26 year old in New Zealand, Ron had acquired a curious incomplete shaft driven bike with a longitudinally mounted four cylinder pedal assist engine. Only later was it identified as a 498cc Fabrique Nationale made in 1910. Ron’s skills as a diesel mechanic were put to good use over the following years as he fabricated many missing parts scaled from photos and sourced other bits and pieces from wherever he could. His ingenuity in addressing the many mechanical problems he faced not only during the restoration but during his ride is marvellous. For example, he describes in a very manner-of-fact way that a bike with no gears and a minimum speed of 30km/h really needed a clutch. So he built and fitted one...easy! The book is well written, nicely paced and the reader definitely feels the trials and tribulations both Ron and Lynne faced on the journey. Although Lynne did not ride with Ron, she offered logistical and much needed emotional support throughout, meeting up with him regularly and assisting behind the scenes for various stages of the journey. What becomes very apparent from Ron’s many experiences is that such a trip on an old motorcycle requiring constant adjustment is indeed a very difficult undertaking, such that he was often more concerned for the well being of his old motorcycle than his own needs. He readily admits that such a trip would not have been possible without Lynne’s support, or without the numerous generous gestures that he experienced, whether this was using rudimentary machine shops to fabricate or fix parts or by being given food or shelter from many strangers who would not accept payment – their reasoning being that he was a guest in their country. Hence the intriguing title of the book - he was grateful to be given watermelons but where to store them on the overloaded little FN? Despite Ron at one stage being robbed, later being held at gunpoint and dealing with endless mechanical problems that may have sidelined a lesser man, his outlook remained overwhelmingly positive. I really felt his sense of anticipation and excitement as he described nearing his goal of riding into the FN factory in Herstal, Belgium; it was quite palpable. The conversation he recounts with the CEO of FN at the end of the final chapter when asked the reason for his journey is truly priceless but I won’t spoil it; it is far better to experience that yourself by reading the whole book. Ron also quotes Oliver Wendell Holmes which sums up this adventure perfectly: “Men do not stop playing because they grow old, they grow old because they stop playing”. How very apt. Even disregarding Ron’s mode of antique two wheeled transport, this book is one of the best travel adventures I have read and I can’t recommend it highly enough. The text is illustrated with colour photos followed by some fascinating logistical information of this undertaking at the rear.

What a great read!

★★★★★
5 5 1
The book is such a great read. I cried at the end when you finished Ron. I was so happy for you and all you had been through and most of all that Effie had made it all that way.

Thank you!!

★★★★★
5 5 1
I read the first half of your book on my flight last night. It is a great story of a great adventure!

Loving it!!!

★★★★★
5 5 1
Just loving the book...cant put it down...most unusual for me!!!

Enthralled!

★★★★★
5 5 1
I just had to read a few chapters as soon as I got home! I can tell that I will be enthralled until I get to the last words.

When is the next adventure?

★★★★★
5 5 1
I can’t put it down! When the usual insomnia occurred last night I decided to just read a few pages before I went back to sleep and managed to get Ron all the way to Iran! I wanted to keep going but didn’t want to finish the whole book! The flow is terrific and the writing is excellent. Almost wanted him to do something just like this again (different part of the world of course) just so I could read Book 2.

No Room For Superlatives!

★★★★★
5 5 1
Ron and his ancient motorcycle took me on a most amazing journey. So well written, my bum ached for him along the way. I now feel compelled to do ‘something’! Albeit a smaller scale something…A beautifully written and inspiring voyage across the world. An undertaking with the lot...except for dragons, there are no dragons.

Never too old for your dreams

★★★★★
5 5 1
Just finished the book. Was out of my comfort zone but really enjoyed it and it gave me more inspiration for the horse thing. Never too old for your dreams.” – from a reader of romantic novels who has shelved her horse riding aspirations for 30 odd years.

Gobsmacked!

★★★★★
5 5 1
Finished the book and really enjoyed it - noticed that each chapter had a 'hook' at the end, so that you wanted to find out what happened next. Good one! David would have loved it - and the fact that Ron finished the journey and realised his dream. I can hardly believe how he managed to keep the bike in one piece through all those miles, ups and downs, rough roads and mountains and hills. I was gob-smacked!

Great read of an amazing trip

★★★★★
5 5 1
I read it all, over the next few days as we traveled around Tassie. Congratulations it’s a great read of an amazing trip. After reading I thought I have no right to ever complain about anything ever again. We live in a very lucky life style. You had whatever god you choose looking over you both. Will tell everyone to read it.

Travelling the world by motorcycle - the hard way

★★★★★
5 5 1
This story of the incredible journey of Ron Fellowes, undertaken at the ripe old age of 68, is, to me, a wonderful testimony to the tenacity and endurance of the human spirit, On board "Effie", Ron's 1910 FN motorcycle, their journey overland from Kathmandu to Belgium is the fulfillment of a life's dream. Clearly very few days on the road were easy, with constant mechanical issues to solve, complicated by the ever present language barriers, crowds and challenges from all manner of sources. Ron's open and honest account gives us a glimpse of how difficult life must have been for motorcyclists in the early part of last century. For me this book amply demonstrates that we humans are generally driven by similar needs and desires, regardless of our culture or upbringing and will respond with kindness and respect when offered the same. Through large doses of ingenuity, luck, at times sheer bloody mindedness and a strong will to succeed, Ron and Lynne have shown me how the power of dreams can bring out the best not only in themselves but also in those whose lives they indelibly touched as Ron and Effie steadily threaded their way across our wonderful world on that amazing machine. Thoroughly enjoyed this book, thank you Ron and Lynne.

Loved it!

★★★★★
5 5 1
I just loved your book, I felt I was with you on the journey of your life and the inscription on the sculpture presented to you engraved with ' Thank you for making us dream' is so true. I feel like a boring old lady with my life. I also loved 'Men do not stop playing because they grow old. They grow old because they stop playing'. I don't think I had truly appreciated your journey Ron until I read your book, well done Ron for your truly adventurous journey and Lynne for the well written book. When I got to ( page 213) the meeting of you and Lynne on the bridge at Bernkastel, I had a glass of wine to celebrate your achievement and again in Belgian at the factory. You should be, and I know you will be, sooo proud of yourself for finally achieving your long held dream, you certainly are a man of your word.

True Pioneering Adventure

★★★★★
5 5 1
I’m reading Ron Fellowes book on my iPad / Kindle as time permits. Suprisingly well written – Highly inspiring pre-Cannonball reading, IMO. His account of crossing Pakistan/Iran with the bare minimals self contained on his Century old FN exposes me to anther level of true pioneering-endurance-Adventure riding. Inspiring indeed.

No Limits!

★★★★★
5 5 1
OMG. Couldn't put it down. A must. This has to be one of the best stories I have read to date. Beautifully illustrated and well written. Ron has taken me on a journey that very few people could only dream about, which he made it a reality. He is one amazing character with no limits or bounds. Such will to succeed. Thankyou Ron & Lynn for giving me a dream that I inspire to do in the near future.

A beautifully written book - not to be missed

★★★★★
5 5 1
I could hardly put the book down. I was so emotionally involved in the journey of driving a 100 year old bike from Kathmandu to Belgium. The days Ron rode in freezing conditions, dirt and sand in the gears, mountains roads too steep for safe travel, war zones, bandits. It was not your average overland adventure. The descriptions of some of the countries makes me want to travel there. A beautifully written book not to be missed. You are a brave soul.

Loved the read

★★★★★
5 5 1
Firstly, I will thank you so very much for getting a copy of your book to me. I loved the read, I took almost a fortnight to read it, mainly as I tend to linger over details and enjoy the journey that a book such as yours brings.

Epic Journey!

★★★★★
5 5 1
I don’t recall exactly when or even how I first discovered Ron Fellowes’ blog. It was early on. The trip was just starting and the Old Bloke on a Bike, which is both the name of the blog and Ron’s description of himself, was somewhere in India. I followed him out of India, through Pakistan, and onto Belgium. Just the route was enough to make it an epic journey and that was merely one challenging aspect of a trip few can even imagine let alone consider attempting. Start with the “old bloke”. It’s an accurate description. Ron was born and raised and is once again living in Australia so is eminently qualified to be called a bloke and, while 68 may not be horribly ancient in these days of increasing lifespans, it is enough to justify being called old. And the bike that the old bloke is on is far older. It was built in 1910 by Fabrique Nationale in Belgium. Ron acquired the bike around 1970 though what he actually acquired was a rusty frame and engine of unknown make and vintage. After identifying the motorcycle’s age and origin, Ron told its former owner “I’m riding the bike back to Belgium for its centenary”. Plans to ride a hundred year old motorcycle to a country half a world away might sound like something born in a bet at the end of a night of drinking but Ron was sober and serious. He had four decades to reconsider his boast but he never did. It became a goal and a dream as he slowly turned the Belgium basket case back into a running motorcycle. Ron didn’t make it for the centenary but it wasn’t his fault. He and wife Lynne were living in Bali at the time where a convoluted and corrupt bureaucracy made it impossible to get the paperwork for the restored motorcycle together in time. Ron adjusted his schedule by two years and he and Lynne moved back to Australia to make it work. Instead of Bali to Belgium in 2010, it would be Kathmandu to Herstal in 2012. No Room for Watermelons is the story of that 33 week 14606 kilometer trip. In one sense, Ron Fellowes makes the trip solo. Other motorcyclists may ride with him here and there for a few minutes or a few days but he and the old FN, which he calls Effie, are alone for much of the time and it is just the two of them that cover the entire route. But it doesn’t take much study to realize that the trip is very much a team effort. It is Lynne who does most of the planning and travels around on trains and buses sometimes dragging hard to find parts and supplies. And it is Lynne who, via telephone, frequently provides an outlet for a day’s frustration and injects valuable encouragement for the next day. And it is Lynne, the experienced writer, who forms blog posts, and ultimately this book, from Ron’s reports. Both names are on the book not only because both participated in telling the story but because both participated in making the story happen. It’s a story of sights and people. Yes, there are serious dangers and insane regulations along the way and crippling problems can crop up with the old motorcycle at any time. He is nearly pushed over a cliff by a truck whose driver is completely oblivious to his presence. He learns what having a gun held to your head feels like. He suffers through hours and even days of delays while incompetent and/or corrupt officials shuffle paper. It takes an uncommon amount of ingenuity and every one of the skills learned during a lifelong career as a diesel mechanic to keep Effie operating. But mixed in with that are sights like the Golden Temple of Amritsar in India, Pakistan’s Bolan Pass, or the Bam Citadel in Iran. Modern technology not only provides that invaluable, but not always reliable, link to Lynne, it enables Ron to capture images of these and many other remarkable sights along the way. The book includes over a hundred color photographs to let the reader see a little of what Ron saw. And then there are the people. Some of the people Ron sees on his trip were already known to him and their meetings were planned well before he left home. Others learn of the trip through the blog and arrange meetings via comments and email. Meeting each of these friends, both old and new, gave Ron’s morale a boost and often included a chance to relax and recover. Assistance with a repair or locating a needed part were also common contributions. These things often came from complete strangers as well and those were possibly even more appreciated. Food, fuel, and shelter were frequently shared and payment refused almost as frequently. Many times Ron could not even say thanks in any words that would be understood but smiles and hand shakes worked. Near the end of the book, Ron and Lynne make this observation: “Yes, there are bullies and thieves, but they are just as often found in boardrooms, offices and in schools as on the highways of Iran and the back roads of Turkey.”

Highly Recommended

★★★★★
5 5 1
Outstanding Book, highly recommended. One mans bloody mindedness.

I hope everyone reads this book

★★★★★
5 5 1
I've just finished and put the book down. I've cried, I've laughed, I've held my breath and I've loved every step of the journey. A great read! An amazing story! A triumph for you two and Effie. I was particularly glad the book was dedicated to Effie - that was so right. I hope everyone reads this book.

Better take a look

★★★★★
5 5 1
When riders go travelling in far off lands, they often pick a strong, capable bike. This bloke may not have. Sentimentality sometimes gets us. He may have had a bike he loved and then decided to make an epic journey on it. This journey is all the more intense because of the bike's delicacy and limited capabilities. Even our most mundane obstacle, traffic lights, never bothers us. His every day was full of nursing the machine through serious trials which we would never imagine in our wildest nightmares, and that was the good times. To me, carrying a chandelier through 50 battlefields now looks pretty attractive. Also, his particular challenge brought out something special from those alien lands that others would never experience. Better have a look at this book.

A great yarn

★★★★★
5 5 1
Dear Ron, Thanks for a great yarn! We met briefly at the Richmond Vintage Show on 19-4-15. You were kind and met my partner and I outside as we rode in that morning. If you remember we were on my R1200GS that morning. Great story/adventure! I've had a few myself but NON like that. Well bloody done. I could so appreciate your trials and tribulations with the folks you meet along the way and the old bike to maintain. I built and rode old Harleys for 30 years until I found more contemporary bikes. My first was a 1946 Knucklehead which I rebuilt 3 times and rode from coast to coast in the States when I was 21. Good times. It was so nice to meet a man like you, so warm and welcoming, and closer to my age (at 60) than some of the young guys I occasionally ride with these days! I've read many adventure stories and documentary's (as it were) and yours was tops! I find myself (as you know) wanting for more of the story and photos. Thanks again. Kind regards, Glen J Mazur

Outstanding achievement.

★★★★★
5 5 1
Just finished reading your book and loved it. I was disappointed when the adventure ended. Outstanding achievement.

Unbelievable Journey!

★★★★★
5 5 1
Great read. Unbelievable journey! What a character.

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