Critical acclaim for FBI:
> It's a good thing Mike Ferris kept a diary over the many years he has been running his tours. Nobody could remember so many funny, outrageous and downright scary stories. We would be the poorer for it if any had been forgotten. Read this book and marvel at the things that can happen on tour, and how they can be dealt with successfully. It is just as well that what happens on tour – does not stay on tour! A good-looking product, as well as a wonderful read. J Peter 'The Bear' Thoeming, Editor, Aust Motorcyclist Magazine
> Mike, so I’ve just finished the book. What can I say other than it's an honour to know you! Your struggles, your achievements were heart felt. You brought to life the tours you've travelled, the amazing people you have met and lost. Your life is richer because of it. So never stop spinning those wheels, Mike! Thank you for sharing all your adventures. Now I know why I instinctively called you my soul brother! Madder than a rattlesnake! Hell yeah!!
Would like to get another copy of the book for my sister next time we catch up, as a Xmas pressie! She is a soul sister too, done some crazy bike tours as well. Jenine Brown, rock musician, Sydney
> G’day Mike, I wonder where you are in the world -- I’m presuming you are back on the travel circuit? Well, I finally finished reading ‘Free Back Issues!’ last night and throughly enjoyed the read. There were many hearty laughs throughout the read, and a few sobering events that would give anyone food for thought.
Must say that last chapter was a doozy. Good on you for being ‘human’ and opening up like that. In a way that gave the whole book more credence. I can honestly say you write VERY well, so BIG congratulations on publishing this book. Paul is now lined up to read it and I reckon he’ll enjoy it too.
Hope life is going grand for you as it is here for us. Kerry (and Paul) Dickson, Hobart
> Free Back Issues! by Mike Ferris is not the book it initially appears. Initially, I thought it would be solely about Mike and his adventures, but it is a whole lot more. The content is as much about the people he has met, the experiences including the good, bad and ugly, the challenges of running a business and the ever-increasing amount of competition.
The book is an honest and open account, with warts and all. Some of which is not for everyone, especially if the reader is expecting a rose-coloured story about travel or is sensitive to the following topics; civil unrest, drug and alcohol abuse, war, suicide, child abduction, and paedophilia.
The style and manner in which Mike has written this book are much like having an in-person chat. It is not in chronological order. Each chapter refers to different times in random order except for the beginning in which he explains the first 12 months of conception and birth of his business Ferris Wheels. It follows the decision to leave a successful IT career whilst making the statement 'perhaps I might go and climb Mt Everest', to the final chapter describing an overview of the significant life events he has personally experienced from childhood to present.
Mike describes his initiation into riding by throwing himself in the deep end, impulsively buying a motorbike in Kathmandu with a quick lesson on how to ride before heading off to explore the Himalaya. In doing so he realised the potential of setting up Australia’s first guided motorcycle tour company. This influenced a chain of events through research, networking, and building lifelong friendships which he describes in many memorable moments, as his tours built up to include many continents around the world.
Mike narrates his experiences negotiating border crossings and international bureaucracy, at times with the assistance and lack of assistance of the various Australian embassies. Mike has relied on his ingenuity to get a tour group out of a civil conflict that had them holed up for days while the sound of gunfire could be heard outside. He also mentions a time when he and a few of his tour members 'misappropriated' the ambassador's car after an embassy dinner, only to sheepishly return it the following morning.
The book describes the variety of clients of his tour company, including a few who irritated him and those who he found to be inspirational, entertaining and quite a few to become lifelong friends. This includes many entries of his 'repeat offenders', clients who continued to return multiple times. He has watched some develop from rookie to very competent riders. He has shared in their successes and their pain during some of life’s tragedies. He dedicates a chapter discussing the simple but important skills required to successfully ride in less-than-ideal conditions.
In summary, this book is much more than a travel book. It is a fascinating and inspirational account of the people who have shared the experiences of Mike's journey through life, particularly since the birth of his touring career. For me the book rates a 4.5 out of 5 stars, it had me wanting more. Holly Field, Ulysses Club book reviewer, Melbourne
> If this was a novel it would be called a page-turning fast-moving action thriller. The amazing thing is that all these chapters are factual events! Peter Stringer, truck mechanic, Sydney
> This book is an absolute must. Highly recommend it. I can’t put it down!! Suzanne Duffy, account manager, Sydney
> On a motorcycle you are not shielded from the world as you are in a car or a bus. You are riding through it totally exposed to the smells, the tastes, the bugs, the heat, the cold, and the odd murderous truck. You’re less of a tourist and more of a participant. This is what Free Back Issues! is about.
It is written with compassion and appreciation, and in places with a certain acerbity because Mike, on his many journeys, has made the same discovery Mark Twain did… 'I have found there ain’t no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate 'em, than to travel with them'. Incredible vistas, astonishing roads, and both humbling and enrichening experiences is what great travel is all about, and when you add a variety of very human strengths and frailties to that journey… well, the journey becomes unforgettable.
If just one of Mike’s many stories encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and see some of the world while holding the handlebars of a motorcycle, then I would count that tale a success. Thing is, I consider many of the tales you’re about to read as successes. Boris Mihailovic, writer, author, podcast presenter, Singleton
> Hey Mike, just finished reading your book and I really enjoyed it, couldn’t put it down! Congratulations on the hefty work to put this all together. Next time you come north, you must please stay with us! Guy (& Kathy) Knox, airline captain, Northern NSW