While most people think that motorcycle adventure travel is a new thing and Ewan and Charlie were the first, then nothing could be further from the truth. Ever since starting www.offroadexplorer.com people who have travelled across the globe years ago are quietly coming out of the woodwork. The main difference being they were not nearly as well equipped as we are now and the world was a simpler place. Except during the time of the Vietnam War you could throw your leg over a bike and cross from Asia through India, Pakistan, Nepal, Iran, Iraq right through to Europe with out fear of getting shot, blown up or kidnapped.
Nowadays it’s all too easy to sit in front of the TV and soak up the news medias offering of doom and gloom that ultimately keeps people away from the road less travelled. You even see it here with BMW GS riders that ride with only road tyres where a set of knobbies will have them discovering a whole new world just over the next ridge.
If you thought that the sense of adventure on a global scale was dead then think again. A few years ago an invitation from an old buddy of mine, Guy Basile, had me on the road up to Cooroy, Queensland to check out the Horizons Unlimited Australian Annual Meeting. I drove up with three bikes, one of them the Trail Zone Suzuki DR650SE project bike so it was a bit of a promotional exercise. I’d only be there for one day but admittantly I had a hidden agenda. The rally was on at Rob Turton’s Bikers Rest camping ground at Cooroy and Rob has a legendary reputation of owning, setting up and throwing around Super Teneres so I was keen to hook up and chew the fat at length on the mighty XTZ750.
When I arrived at the Bikers Rest there were plenty of punters that had already pegged out there plot with lightweight tents and tarps with there compact stools and camp kitchens. Less than half the bikes were new and hard case panniers were adorn with stickers from countries that most travel agents don’t carry brochures for.
The idea of the weekend was to be a gathering of like-minded global motorcycle adventure riders. There had been a large marquee setup where experienced travellers would share their experiences with other travellers, most of whom were planning their first trip. It was a real community spirit with plenty of opportunity to get tips on bike setup and luggage to visas, shipping your own bike and other issues associated with international travel.
Secretly I was in awe of most people who made a choice, did the planning and went ahead and just did it. In particular, the most impressive was a young woman Danielle who travelled across Asia, Russia and Europe on an old Honda XR 250. Her tales paled my motorcycle travels into mediocrity. Riding on her own there were stretches of road with no fuel. She had no choice but to ride until the fuel ran out and wait for somebody to come along that she could barter with for fuel. Despite lots of adversity she always made it to her next destination and is planning her next adventure.
Horizons Unlimited is a global web site for adventure travellers with over 640 HU communities in over 105 countries. They’re at bit like Rotarians of adventure motorcycle in that you know that no matter where you are in the world there will be other riders that you can hook up with and share the experience. Check it out at www.horizonsunlimited.com.