Charley’s back for yet another epic adventure. Since becoming a major celebrity in the wake of travelling “Long Way Round” with Ewan McGregor, Charley’s barely stopped travelling or writing, having undertaken a number of ‘solo’ ventures since bravely venturing all the way through Africa with Ewan on “Long Way Down”.

This time around, in Charley’s latest adventure, he travels from the east coast of Canada to its west coast, from Newfoundland to Vancouver. Although he gads about on the back of his motorbike for much of the journey, the main focus is on the types of extreme experiences he enjoys on the way, from sea-fishing to mountain-climbing, from kayaking to caving. Consequently, those folk who crave more information about bike-related topics may be disappointed. In many respects, “Extreme Frontiers” is less about his passion for biking, and more about Russ Malkin’s desire to coerce Charley into a series of entertaining and genuinely exhilarating scenarios, rendering this cross-country ride a must for all adrenaline-junkies.

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Even when he’s squirming with trepidation, Charley retains his affable sense of humour, conscious that certain fears should be confronted sooner rather than later. En-route from east coast to west, he meets a hodge-podge of interesting characters, one such character being a cowgirl from the Calgary area who whips him into shape when it comes to doing what cowboys and cowgirls were born to do. Timing things perfectly, he winds up strutting into the parade ground at the world-famous Calgary Stampede with Prince William and Kate Middleton looking on from the sidelines.

Fans of “By Any Means” and “Right To The Edge” will be in their element whenever Charley takes to a different form of transport – something he evidently adores doing. It’s just a shame that the journey isn’t any longer than it is. However, given the sheer size of Canada, it’s almost impossible to see all of it in one fell swoop. As a result, Charley and Co. stick relatively tight to the border with the USA, in spite of such a border-line being pretty difficult to determine in some of the most remote areas of the country.

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With trusted producer Russ by his side for the entirety of the hair-raising journey, Charley laps up every new experience with child-like awe, revving with grin-smothered excitement as standard. Complete with colourful photos galore, the “Extreme Frontiers” book perfectly complements the TV series of the same name. What’s more, come the very end of this particular journey, Russ coyly intimates that he’s already hatched an idea for another adventure. That in mind, watch this space, for Charley could be returning to our screens before he even knows it…

(Steve Rudd)

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