The Achievable Dream 5-part series - the definitive guide on DVD for planning your motorcycle adventure. Get Ready! covers planning, paperwork, medical and many other topics! "Inspirational and Awesome!" See the trailer here!
Gear Up! is a 2-DVD set, 6 hours! Which bike is right for me? How do I prepare the bike? What stuff do I need - riding gear, clothing, camping gear, first aid kit, tires, maps and GPS? What don't I need? How do I pack it all in? Lots of opinions from over 150 travellers! "This DVD will save you a fortune!"See the trailer here!
So you've done it - got inspired, planned your trip, packed your stuff and you're on the road! This section is about staying healthy, happy and secure on your motorcycle adventure. And crossing borders, war zones or oceans!
On the Road! is 5.5 hours of the tips and advice you need to cross borders, break down language barriers, overcome culture shock, ship the bike and deal with breakdowns and emergencies."Just makes me want to pack up and go!" See the trailer here!
Tire Changing!Grant demystifies the black art of Tire Changing and Repair to help you STAY on the road! "Very informative and practical." See the trailer here!
Ladies on the Loose! For the first time ever, a motorcycle travel DVD made for women, by women! These intrepid women share their tips to help you plan your own motorcycle adventure. They also answer the women-only questions, and entertain you with amazing tales from the road! Presented by Lois Pryce, veteran solo traveller through South America and Africa and author of 'Lois on the Loose', and 'Red Tape and White Knuckles.'
"It has me all fired up to go out on my own adventure!" See the trailer here!
We're not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown a hobby into a full time job and a labour of love.
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DVDs - Watch and Learn!
Horizons Unlimited presents!
Achievable Dream The definitive guide to planning your motorcycle adventure! This insanely ambitious 2-year project has produced an informative and entertaining 5-part, 18 hour DVD series. "The ultimate round the world rider's how-to DVD!" MCN UK.
Collectors Box SetAll 5 DVDs with a custom printed slip case. "The series is 'free' because the tips and advice will save much more than you spend on buying the DVD's."
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Riding an Enfield around India I stopped for fuel. I moved a few metres from the pumps before starting it and forget to fit the petrol cap dousing the engine in fuel, fortunately no fire. I also noticed the box containing the air filter had worked loose, a simple job of refitting.
I turned on the ignition to witness plumes of smoke emanating from three different places on the bike. I suspected the spilled petrol had ignited. My concern was not for the bike or creating a catastrophic fire in a petrol station, it was for my luggage which was swiftly removed from the bike.
Once the smoke had cleared I inspected the damage, the loose air box had worn away some wiring and refitting it had caused an electrical short. I was left with total destruction.
This Enfield had no fuses. The nightmare was seperating all the molten mess and reconnecting all the wires armed only with a knife and insulation tape. It worked and survived the remaining 200Km journey back to the hire company, who were very sympathetic.
If anything becomes loose on the bike check before you bolt it back on.
Alternator that doesnt work, in Northern Pakistan .....
After staying in a village between Gilgit and Chitral, ı woke up find out my alternator doesnt work... It toke me 3 days to find the necessary copper wire to fix it ... only to reach Quetta in time, where ı broke my leg ...
A friend of mine and me rode a couple of Minsks in vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.
Or map showed some interesting dirtroads in cambodia and we had to try these of course.
Away from the highway dirtroads in cambodia distance is very relative. This is mainly due to the very very low quality of roads in the jungle...
Late at night we arrived at a small town and since they had no hostels we were invited to sleep at the local temple.
During the night someone ran away with out bag with registration papers, camera, compass and other important things. We were sad and angry but what can you do? We bought all the gas in the town and all the bottle water they had as well.
More crazy roads and finally we reached the first town that was actually on the map. A distance we had estimated to take half a day took two.
Again we bought all their gas and water to keep the ever hungry minsks rolling.
On the third day at 17:40, just before sundown disaster struck. The chain on one of the bikes broke (probably due to overtightning) and we had nothing to repair/replace it with. We haden't seen anything that even looked like a bushmechanic in the last two days and even if we had found one he woulden't have parts for a minsk.
We decided to ditch the bike and try to move on two up.
The roads proved to tough to handle two up, so we took turns walking/running after the bike through the jungle.
In the middle of the darkness we suddenly saw a light.
Out of nowhere emerged a little hut where two male cambodians sat. They looked at us and we at them. No animals around and no fields so they were not farmers. No axes around (thank god) so they weren't lumberjacks.
We made them understand that we needed shelter and they were nice enough to let us have a corner and even a mosquito net.
We were a bit tense as we went to sleep.
Next day we continued through the jungle. The paths were pure chaos and we had alot of trouble communicating with the few locals we met.
Finally when we found a little lumber camp, we persuaded a local to "take us to a big road". 10 dollars and he was happy.
We did not know how long it was or anything really. The heat was oppressive to say the least and the jungle full of snakes and other crap. Panthers were a real danger there we were told later.
One and a half day later we came back to "civilization". We gave our guide the remaining minsk and he crashed it immidiatly since he didnt know how to drive with clutch. Well he spent 15 minutes trying to start it first without the engine cutting out.
Worst moment, just three weeks into my RTW trip and in Newfoundland I skid on gravel at a corner, highside and fly through the air into a ravine. I remember the boulder I hit with my shoulder, it broke my helmet.
The doctors at St Anthony did scans and stuff on my left arm that now would not work. The hand was fine but the rest of the arm was dead. They said they thought that I had torn the arm nerves out at my neck/spine. Then he said those horrible words, 'You will never ride a motorbike again.'
I spent the next few days in the hospital trying to figure out if I could buy a pick-up and drive the rest of the journey with my bike on the back. (don't ask why, you sometimes think of the daftest things in hospital) The Doctor in charge suggested I return to UK for a more detailed scan. I asked him if his diagnoses proved correct, could they fix it. he said 'No' I said 'Not much point in going back then, is there?'
Next day I returned to my campsite and set to work rebuilding the front of my bike one handed. Two days later I'm driving down the road, the fingers on my left hand work fine remember, its just that I have to put it into place with my right hand, coming towards me are two HD riders and without thinking I raise my hand a little to return their wave. The wind catches it and so now I'm riding down the road in top gear with my left arm dangling in the wind like a wet fish. I thought 'Hmm if you try and stop in top gear you're gonna fall off,' so keep riding for a few minutes trying to figure out what the hell I'm gonna do. After three or four attempts I managed to get it onto the tank by swinging my whole torso to the right. Then, like a spider I crawl it up the tank and onto the handlebars where the wind catches it and I'm back to square one. Next attempt and I finally get it back on the handgrip. Anyone else coming will just have to think I ignored them.
Next day at a campsite a dude walks up to see the bike, he's never seen a 'Funduro' and I explain the damage. 'Grip my hand.' he says, now touch your fingers to your thumb one by one.' I do so. You'll be fine in a few weeks' says he,'I'm a chiropracter and know about these things, the docters are wrong.'
He was right, nine months later I'm in Uruguay trying to figure out my next move.
That moose story reminded me of my trip up the James Bay Road in Quebec, last year. It's a bit embarrassing, but maybe entertaining. Not really a "worst case". I guess it could have gone differently, though:
I woke up terribly early; around 5:15am, and it was already light outside. I dozed in the early morning light trying to get a few more minutes of sleep, but it just wasn't going to happen. It was a pretty calm morning; I could no longer hear the waves from Lake Matagami crashing into shore, and even the forest was strangely quiet. Suddenly I was snapped to full awake by what sounded like someone walking around on gravel; strangely close to my bike. Too quiet for a bear; is a person checking out my gear? Stealing something? I coughed a bit to see what would happen. Silence. Then more sounds of something moving around on gravel; slowly getting closer to my tent. I quietly sat up inside my sleeping bag and listened for the slightest sounds - breathing, panting, anything. Surely a bear would be MUCH louder, right? Every few minutes I'd hear another sound, and each time it would be closer to my tent. I cleared my throat again. I decided there was no way I could get out of my bag and through two zipper safely if it was some nasty forest beast. Bigfoot?
"Twang!" Whatever it was had just brushed against one of the guy lines on my tent. Adrenaline was rushing through my veins now; whatever it was had to be within 3 or 4 feet of my tent; probably closer. I was now protected only by a double layer of tent fabric. I grabbed the can of bear spray and removed the safety from the trigger. If a bear suddenly tore through my tent I was going to make sure I was nicely marinate for him. Maybe I should grab the lighter and set my tent on fire, as well. More crunching gravel, and another "twang!" on the guy line. Now it's behind the tent. No way to get out from there. Several more minutes pass with only the occasional sound of crunching gravel and my breathing. Something touches the bottom of the rainfly and I consider cutting myself out of my tent with my Leatherman until I realize what it is as it crawls along the bottom of my rain fly. I am officially an idiot; it's nothing more than a small salamander. I am likely the only person to ever mistake a salamander for a bear. I can see the news report now: "Shoeless man seen running down James Bay Road in burned clothing. He appears to be crying, or blinded by pepper spray. Mumbling about a killer salamander." It must have been "hopping" or something, making the gravel crunch and hitting my guy lines. I lay back down and put the safety back under the bear spray trigger. I tell myself nobody will ever hear of this; and then consider changing "salamander" to "moose" or at least "fox". After wasting 20 minutes being terrified of a salamander, I decide it's now a good time to get out of bed and get moving; it's still before 6:00am, though.
Back in the early 90’s, I spent a lot of time on the island of Lamu, on the northeast coast of Kenya. I spent a few days on a small sailing dhow with some local friends who were shark fishermen. These guys were great and taught me a lot about the sea, and we spent a number of pleasant evenings drinking tea by a fire on the beach. They didn’t speak English but I speak some Swahili, so we could usually understand each other. I learned names of fish and all things fishing related. I am not good with languages and often have trouble remembering new words.
One beautiful Indian Ocean afternoon I grabbed a hunk of somewhat rancid meat and dove into the water to bait a shark hook on a bouy that we sailed to. As I swam out, the guys in the boat started making a commotion, pointing and yelling Pa Pa, Pa Pa. As I was a bit wary of sharks, especially with a large chunk of meat in my hand, I was relieved to hear them calling Pa Pa, as Pa Pa is the Swahili name for porpoise. My friends had earlier told me that as long as there’s porpoises around, you need not worry about sharks, as the porpoises will chase the sharks away. As I’m approaching the buoy, I see a dorsal fin glide by me that is definitely looking like the ones I’ve seen in movies like Jaws. At that very instant, as I tread water holding a lump of stinking meat watching this fin disappear below the blue water, I remembered with the utmost clarity that Pa Pa does not mean “porpoise”. Pa Pa is the local word for “shark”.
Although it took me about 3 minutes to swim out to where I saw the dorsal fin, it took me only 5 seconds to swim back to the boat after quickly hurling my stinking meat cargo as far from me as possible. No human has ever swam with the speed and determination exhibited on that afternoon, I guarantee you. Upon reaching the boat my companions and I collapsed in absolute gales of laughter as I explained my confusion. The Swahili word for porpoise is Po Po, not Pa Pa.
I can't compete with franky and the others but I did have a few senior moments on my last trip including spending four days in Finland with my watch an hour slow. Couldn't understand why the guys in the pizzeria kept telling me they closed at nine when it was only eight and why the ferry from Vaasa to Umea left an hour early - luckily I was on it having got there in plenty of time. Same trip, gave a little Danish girl I met my spare Euros as they don't take 1-2 cent coins in Finland before remembering that Denmark still uses the Kronor, not the Euro.
But dumbest was trying to work out why the wheels kept locking up as I paddled backwards out of a parking space. I stopped, looked at the rear wheel, imagined all sorts of nasty problems with the chain, maybe the gearbox, trip over, home on a breakdown truck, etc. So I reasoned if it wouldn't go backwards, it would go forwards, so I put it in first to pull away, leaning slightly to clear the parking space. The bike stopped suddenly, pitching it and me over onto the ground. Too heavy to pick up solo, I go back into the hotel to get help, feeling like an idiot. Surveying the damage, one scraped Givi pannier that no-one on eBay is going to want, one bent clutch lever, and...
...one totally knackered cable lock still wrapped around the front wheel!
Heading from the Gold Coast back to Tassie on a Honda 4. Pulled up in a picnic area for the night, Found a table with a roof over it and curled up in my sleeping bag.
Became aware of a heavy weight on my chest and in my sleep could not work out what was happening. Finally woke up, opened my eyes and was staring at the face of a large brush tail possum that was standing on my chest eyeballing me.
Have no real idea how long he was there but figure several minutes. Probably a good minute eyeballing each other before I gave him a smack up the ears and told to find his own bench.
wow man, that bear story really is a p!sser.
and as for the carabiner, so bad i couldn't read it a third time.
but i reckon even worse, the most disastrous thing you could ever do, the fattest cockup imaginable...
would be to sit at home watching the tube, or making yourself sad and lazy in some other way, venturing out only to buy the crap pushed at you through the screen(s).
but wait, maybe there's something still more abominable...
... imagine sitting around, waiting for governments, corporations, or *somebody else* to act against the avalanche of environmental disaster that is global warming. imagine being so satisfied, uncaring or misinformed, despite all the evidence we have access to through our education, as to let the planet be destroyed by greed. that would be unforgivable. and yet we're doing it.
This is enough to teach me never to be in a hurry on a bike. This is my '95 Kwak Vulcan...
Had a few errands to run, so I hopped on the bike, started her up, and began to leave. The bike was parked full lock left, which was how it stayed until I cleared the parking lot. As I straightened up, I realized that I had left the steering lock engaged....! No drop, but close enough to freak me out.
Ok, unlock the steering, make sure nobody is around, act like you meant to do it, and carry on. Got to my first destination. Hopped off the bike before killing it with the kill switch (dumb move #1), and had it in first gear like a good boy. Then I began to let go of the clutch, as I was running late. AH! BIKE LURCHING FORWARD! Practically had to one-arm the thing back up (hurt BAD, since it is a 500 lb bike DRY), killed it, and nursed my very sore left hand. Oh boy, today just isn't my day.
Still rattled I took off for the next location. Uh oh...just had to switch to reserve. Better get gas, or I'll forget. I get to the station, fill 'er up, pay and off I go again. Begin to take a casual turn to exit the station...and I hear scraping metal. Oh boy...what now?! Look down...DOH! Kickstand is still down! No crash...just stopped, put the stand up, rode home, and walked the rest of the day. Figured I had already gotten away with too much for the next few months to tempt fate.
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Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events such as this one (18 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.
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