It’s impossible to plan and prepare for a ride like this without the advice, help and expertise of countless individuals and organisations who have helped me turn a dream into reality. I can’t thank you enough for coming to my aid — and sometimes rescue — with all kinds of support. The following list is in alphabetical order.
To Kevin and Debs Hammond, who tailored a course to my specific needs, crammed so much wonderful hospitality in and gave me a much needed confidence boost along the way. Based in the heart of rural Norfolk, Adventure Bike Training covers everything you need to equip yourself with the skills, confidence and experience to tackle your trip of a lifetime, whether that’s a UK tour or a global ride. You can have 1-2-1 or group rider training, workshop and maintenance sessions, mapping and GPS navigation courses, and much more. Give Kevin a ring on 01485 529491, tell him what you need and he’ll devise a course to suit your requirements. Find out more at www.adventurebiketraining.co.uk
To Allyson and Alan, whose strong, lightweight and packable tool should help me get a tyre easily and safely back on the rim, without pinching the tube, after yet another flat in the back of beyond. Check out www.bajanopinch.com for more details on this custom CNC-machined beauty.
To the International marketing team in Munich (Frank, Martin, Conny, Sandra, Ralf, Svenia) for having the faith in me and truly embracing the Make Life a Ride and #spiritofgs philosophies yourselves, too. Thanks so much! To the designers and engineers for creating and producing such amazing adventure bikes, rider equipment and accessories — keep on doing great work. And to Scott G, from BMW Motorrad UK for supporting me with bikes over the years — you definitely helped keep the dream alive.
To Andi and Susi at Marmot, for supporting me with what I’m going to be wearing, sleeping in and running in, when I’m off the bike. Marmot manufactures performance clothing and equipment of the highest quality for lovers of the outdoors, mountain sports enthusiasts and extreme alpinists. Also a keen supporter of the BMW Motorrad International GS Trophy, I believe that Marmot produces some of the best outdoor clothing and equipment in the world. If you want to stay dry, warm, comfortable and stylish, then find out more at www.marmot.de
To Wayne Harrison at Motohaus.com. Thanks mate, you were right about those SW-Motech products. The hard parts are wonderfully engineered, and the drybags are real quality. The Keis heated clothing (Keisapparel.co.uk) will make a big difference in the cold stages and the Sea communication system should allow me to capture video, photos, audio, make and take calls, listen to my music and even learn Spanish while riding. How cool is that?
Thanks to Norman Birtles for his advice and help with selecting products that should make a real difference on this long journey. With over 35 years’ experience in the mail order motorcycle business, Nippy Normans offers the biggest choice of BMW accessories in the world, exclusive products not available elsewhere, with great prices, quick delivery AND worldwide shipping. Find out what you need — and what you didn’t know you needed — at www.nippynormans.com
I went to the first ever Off Road Skills course at the turn of the century and 16 years later I thought it was time for a refresher. I certainly needed it because my ambition was definitely outweighing my talent but Si Pavey and his team (Simon Hewitt, Neil Hawker, Chris Northover, Ev Davies and Linley Pavey) run a superb school down in South Wales. Whatever your level, there are progressive courses to suit and even specific workshop-based activities too, such as adventure maintenance skills and adventure travel preparation. Find out more about how to make a real difference to your riding ability at www.worldofbmw.com
I’ve written quite a few stories about Touratech founder Herbert Schwarz over the years, and it never ceases to amaze me how this guy just keeps on innovating with products for adventure travel, and inspiring others with his philosophy on life. So to be offered support, assistance, friendship and hospitality from the Touratech family means a lot to me, as I know the company is bombarded with requests. I guess the best tribute I can say is that I’m still using products that are nearly two decades old, so I’m looking forwards to upgrading a few, well worn items for my travels. If you want to browse a massive range of adventure travel solutions, the best bet is to order a free 1,500-page catalogue, which will be delivered to your door, via www.touratech.com . Otherwise, everything can be browsed and purchased online.
It’s so rare these days to find a product that is designed and manufactured in the UK but there’s a little company in Gloucestershire making these mighty fine Tutoro automatic chain oilers. I liked the fact that it fits any motorcycle; it automatically starts to oil your chain when you start to ride and automatically stops oiling your chain when you stop riding; the flow rate of oil to the chain is fully adjustable; there’s no wiring-in to the electrics necessary; and no batteries are required either. It was easy to install and should greatly extend the life of the chain and sprockets. Enough said by me, but more details are available at www.tutorochainoiler.com
And a whole host of individuals…
The list of wonderful people keeps growing and I can’t thank them enough, but special mention must go to Chris Ramsay for the website build; Dan Sager from Fabulous Biker Boys for the trust and belief; Julia Lein from Munich for coming good on your promise; JB, editor of Rust Magazine, for the commissions; Joe Stather for the kit lists, packing advice and encouragement; Barry Smythe for the spares; RBP for the letters of support; Steph Jeavons for the red wine web-chats; Faizal Sukree for the belief; Jeffrey ‘JJ’ Polnaja for the invitation to speak at the Horizons event in Indonesia; Dawn Kirman for the travel advice; Ben Kirman for the IT support; Donald for the vital components; Paul Farmer for the financials; and last but certainly not least, Frank Diepen for making a lot of things happen behind the scenes.