Touring Tips – from those in the know…
No matter what kind of ‘adventure’ you’re planning on embarking upon – whether it will take you a day, a month or years – it’s always handy to get some advice by someone who has done it before. Motorcycle Live is usually home to adventurers, authors and enthusiasts sharing hints, tips and advice they’ve learnt from their extensive travels – so we thought we’d get a panel of them to share their thoughts and top tips!
Meet our experts
Originally starting off in the world of tech, Billy Ward (aka Billy Biketruck) has now turned his passion into his career. Exploring the world, presenting, writing and working with fellow motorcyclists such as Charley Boorman and Ross Noble.
Find out more about Billy here.
A midland born rider who took the chance to ride across the world on a 105cc Australian Postal bike (Dorothy) and in his own words ‘has been stuck telling the same old story ever since!’ Nathan now runs a tour company for people to embark on their own adventures, big or small and has even told ‘The Amazing Adventures of Dorothy’ in a children’s book.
Check out Nathan’s website here.
Nick Sanders MBE is best known for his extreme motorcycle and bicycle journeys. As a motorcyclist, Nick has ridden around the world seven times on a motorbike (once in a Guinness record of 30 days then again in 19 days). This was followed by eight rides up and down the Americas (Ushuaia to Deadhorse), once in a record 21 days 8 hours then a double transit in 46 days. His mileage so far has totalled over one million kilometres.
Find out more about Nick here.
Adventurer and author, Sam Manicom has been travelling pretty much since his first solo trip into Europe on a bicycle, aged 16. He’s best known for setting off as a motorcycling novice on what turned out to be an eight-year journey around the world. He has also travelled much of the world either hitchhiking, by bus, train, beat-up old car, sail, or as he puts it, ‘going for a long stroll’. Sam is the author of four motorcycle travel books and works full time in the world of adventure travel. He’s a keen advocate of motorcycle travel in particular and when not writing magazine articles and conducting multimedia travel presentations around the UK, mainland Europe and the USA, he’s out riding. His big trip BMW R80GS is still, at 278,000 miles, his only means of transport in the UK.
Visit Sam’s website here.
What is your top tip for embarking on a two-wheeled adventure?
Billy: “The hardest bit about embarking on your adventure is actually the leaving! Tell everyone that you’re going – so then you just have to go or you’ll look like a numpty. Make a date – do a bit of research and go.”
Nathan: “My top tip is to be ambitious but also realistic. You have to challenge yourself and stretch yourself, but don’t set yourself an impossible mission as that will only demotivate you when things don’t go to plan.”
Nick: “Don’t over complicate things, and take the absolute minimum of luggage you require. The more stuff you take the more can get lost or stolen. The luggage itself becomes a responsibility. I’ve overpacked myself, but now, if I can’t carry what I need to run an adventure in a small bag, I’ve learnt not to need it.”
Sam: “Work out what you as an individual really want out of your adventure. Don’t ignore what other people have done or are suggesting, but this is your trip. Being on a motorcycle allows you to travel as an individual, and so to tailor your trip to who you are. It might be a once in a lifetime opportunity or a change of life that you are embarking upon. Do you want to cover a lot of miles; are you heading out there for the ride? Do you want to take a look-see down all of those interesting side turnings; because you can? Do you want to ride dirt, or asphalt, or a mix? Do you want to use your wheels to duck you in and out of history, culture and dramatic scenery? Or are you most alive when you are hunting challenges? Be you! Fuel your journey with your dreams. Have all your cylinders firing from the off. It’s a freedom thing.”
What’s the one piece of advice you were given that you’ve found most useful?
Billy: “The best advice I’ve been given is that 90% of people in the world are nice! Keep this in mind when you’re riding across Africa and anxious about your security – most of it is in your head!”
Nathan: “‘If you wake up in the morning and still know it’s the one thing in life you want to do, then go off and do it. But, if you wake up with the slightest hint of doubt, then maybe it’s not the right thing after all.’ My nan said that just before I rode from Sydney to London.”
Nick: “When people talk to you, really listen. Try and see it from their point of view.”
Sam: “I wasn’t given any advice – I didn’t have any motorcyclist friends when I set off, but if I was giving me advice, with hindsight? Look after your bike as if it’s your best friend, and it’ll become exactly that.”
What do you love about riding on two wheels?
Billy: “Adventure motorcycling is bigger than its component parts. You get travel, motorcycle riding and education all wrapped up in one. You learn so much about a country by just riding through it and meeting the people. It’s so much better than a book – but when you put the two together, you’re proper informed!”
Nathan: “It’s a perfect escape from life. Just you, the road, and everything you meet along the way. Bills and everything else is behind you. whilst you’re riding forward.”
Nick: “It’s like time travel, and you do need a vehicle or machine, but motorbikes or a bicycle, they both take you to mystical lands at exactly the speed you want. You meet fascinating and interested people who make you feel safe and are kind. Then, just occasionally, you’re out in a desert, maybe alone and it’s really hot and as you look at the view, it dawns on you slowly how awesome it is to be where you are at that moment.”
Sam: “It’s the sheer freedom to explore; a motorcycle will get me to adventures in a way that no other form of transport can. Every time I start my bike I know that I am going to have a day filled with opportunities. When I head out on a motorcycle I know that all my senses are going to zing into life. I will smell, see, feel… I never feel more alive than when I am on a motorcycle; as a result, each day is really lived. Every moment is unique. The itch to ride; to experience? It’s a unique bond between all motorcycle riders. It doesn’t matter where I am in the world, I will find two-wheeled kindred spirits.”