UK 2007: Seventh Annual HU Travellers Meeting

Why Come to a Horizons Unlimited Motorcycle Travellers Meeting?

You can meet people who don't think you're crazy for wanting to ride your bike to South America or Africa or across Asia, or even around the world! Admit it, all your 'normal' friends and most of your family fears for your sanity! So, this is your opportunity to meet the people who will encourage you in that craziness, share their experiences and advice on how to do it, and maybe you'll meet them again in Mongolia or Timbuktu!

Ripley, Derbyshire, England, June 21-24, 2007

Want to know what people thought of last years Meeting? Is it worth coming to the Meeting?

"I'm so looking forward to another UK meet. My only problem is that I simply can't get to every talk I want, such is the amount of terrific presentations on offer. Each year I've been astonished at how articulate, intelligent, informative and entertaining the speakers are. I'm willing to help with anything that doesn't keep me from a talk - and my timetable will be full to bursting! Thanks Grant, Susan and all. I can't praise your Horizons highly enough." Denis Brown. More comments here.

Meeting Report here

2007 Speakers and Tech Seminars:

  • Dreaming of Jupiter
    • Special guest Ted Simon, UK - RTW x 2
      with his new book "Dreaming of Jupiter" and presentation. Get your signed copy!
  • 125cc... 21 years on, still going strong!
    • Catherine Germillac, France
      From Canada to Argentina and Australia with a 2-stroke engine
  • HUMMMM... what's that all about?! Find out from
    • Austin Vince!
  • 25.5 Years of Desert Biking,
    • Chris Scott UK - THE Sahara expert
      Chris looks back on his many Sahara rides.
  • Two women in South America
    • Sheonagh Ravensdale and Pat Thomson, UK, Honda Falcon NX400s - South America
  • Pan American Highway
    • Paul Pratt, UK, Triumph - Around the World by Triumph motor cycle, 1966-1979. Part two Japan- Korea - S.E. Asia - Indian sub continent Middle East return to Europe. Also, the world wide motor cycle scene 1960's-1970's.
  • Um Bongo! Um Bongo! Lois in the Congo,
    • Lois Pryce, on the road again
      Across Africa the tricky sticky way
  • Together on the road for a fiery five years
    • Pat and Helen, long term travellers
      We survived, while others split up. Why? How did we do it?
  • Scooters in the Sahara,
    • Dennis Robinson, UK, Honda C90
      From Bighty to Bansang (Gambia) on the mighty Honda C90
  • Sidecaring in South America
    • Andy Berwick and Maya Vermeer, UK, BMW R100GS+sidecar, Australia and South America
      Yes, we had to dig, push and pull a lot!
  • Riding in Europe, Asia, India & Australia
    • Colin & Dee Masters
      Pleasures, pitfalls and worries of long distance riding.
  • Africa, North to South,
    • Mark Kirby
      From London to Cape Town stopping, at the northern most and southern most points of Africa
  • The Achievable Dream
    • Grant and Susan Johnson, Canada, R80G/S
      Learn from Horizons Unlimited's founder and 11 year round-the-world veteran everything you need to know to ride to the next country or the next continent. Sound scary? Get the inspiration and information so YOU can hit the road! In two TWO-hour parts.
  • New Zealand
  • London to Gambia for Charity - The Stress and the Fun
    • Craig Carey-Clinch, Motorcycle Outreach
      So you've done all the planning, prepared the last detail and have set off into the wide blue yonder with enthusiasm and anticipation. But what happens when your own state of mind starts playing alarming tricks on you?
  • Panel
    • How to get someone of the opposite sex to go travelling with you - panel and discussion. Why is it so hard? What are you doing wrong - or right? All viewpoints please!
  • Women only
    • a very popular session - I'm told it's a must for the ladies, so be sure to plan on being there!
  • Yoga for Bikers
    • Tori Lang
      Save your back, and ease the aches - before they happen.
  • Roadkill Cookout
    • Phil Chaffey and Danny Taylor
      Watch and learn - how to make a firepit, skin a rabbit, pluck a pheasant, fillet a trout, cook it and eat it!
  • "The wrong way round"?
    • Tiffany Coates
      Two women, a total of two months bike riding experience between them and a desire to reach India via the cake capitals of the world. Tiffany comes clean about how she accidentally got started on her travels - this is for those who are thinking "If she can do it...then so can I."
  • Fix that flat! How to change a tire anytime, anywhere
    • Sam Davidson returns for his popular:
      'Basic Guide to changing and maintaining tyres.' How to prevent flats in the first place, and fix them when you get one. Sam's changed thousands, and will show you all the secrets to make it easy. The best tools and how to use them for tube and tubeless tires. Hand's on practical and tire changing contest for beginners to experts! Come prepared to show everyone how fast you can do it - classes for beginners and experts, and ladies!
  • Prep your bike for the long trip!
  • GPS - A beginners guide to the TomTom Rider
    • Colm O' Flaherty, UK
      How to use it, what it's good for, it's strengths and weaknesses, etc. Includes some brief background on GPS systems, and the technology behind the Rider unit itself.
  • BMW Q&A Tech session
  • Campsite Cooking Systems
    • Leslie Madge
      The pros and cons of different stoves & fuels. There will be a Competition and a couple of prizes - be sure to BRING your stove to the seminar!
  • Getting your stories published in magazines
    • Peter Henshaw, UK
      Peter is a regular contributor to a number of magazines, so come and get the skinny on how he does it in a roundtable discussion.
  • Getting the tax man to fund your trip
    • Steve Mercer
      You pay enough tax normally - I'll show you how to even the score.
  • Photo Composition for Travellers
    • Grant Johnson, Canada, RTW
      The one everyone SHOULD take, but no one does... We all want to take great photos of our trip - so why don't we? This easy seminar will transform your photos from boring to fabulous!
  • Morocco: Safe, Exciting and Inexpensive
    • Tim Cullis
      Morocco is the most exotic biking venue that's within relatively easy access of the UK and northern Europe. The roads are generally good quality and great fun, there's not much traffic, and the scenery is awe-inspiring. Accommodation and food are good value, there's a wealth of well-documented tracks (pistes) to explore, the weather is fairly predictable and it's a brilliant combination of safe, exciting and inexpensive.
  • Plan? What plan?
    • Jacqui Furneaux, UK, Enfield Bullet - Asia, SE Asia, Australia, New Zealand, South America
      How to travel and have fun whilst going with the flow.
  • RTW with Fred, Too much fun
    • Jeremy Bullard, UK, KTM Adventure 640 - RTW
      Delights and Disasters. How London to Cape Town via New York became RTW No. 1.
  • Morocco solo on a Caponard
    • Tim Whittle, UK, Aprilia Caponard - Africa, Europe
      3000 miles in 10 days solo with lots of pistes on a prepared Caponard
  • Bells Angels
  • Il est très very windy": Morocco, Easter 2007
    • Chris Bright, UK,
      1 girl, 3 guys, 1 van, 3x DRZ400e and 1 x DRZ400s. Morocco, the (B)right(Stuff) Way. Last time the bike and weather weren't up to the task. This time everything went great. Desert Pistes, Sand, Mountains. 1500 miles off-pavement.
  • Just GO, and follow your dream!
    • Mark and Joyce Groucutt, UK, BMW F650GS
      2 years of planning and preparation for UK-OZ on 2 wheels, two weeks to go, jobs gone, off on a trial run we slide it down the road. Both unfit to ride, we had a decision to make - and we departed on time and followed our dream - how did we do it!?
  • Navigating with Garmin
    • Tim Cullis, UK,
      Practical usage of Mapsource and the Garmin 2610 GPS

Charity

We raised £600.00 for Riders for Health, through the sale of raffle tickets and the generous donation of prizes from all the vendors on site and from afar. Many thanks to everyone, let's hope we can raise even more next year. And if you'd like to donate a prize, please contact Glynn below.

Travel Equipment Vendors

Michelin Tires
Ernie - Overland Solutions, custom fitting and equipment
Traveldri-Plus, motorcycle clothing and travel goodies specialists
Metal Mule, overland luggage systems
RPM Motorcycles- Sam Davidson local shop - call if you'd like anything brought to the meeting, like Sam's favourite tyre irons!
Core Racing Imports, off-road equipment specialists
Green Leopard Earplugs, custom and std earplugs, limited same day service available! Get your order in early if you're in a rush.
GlobeBusters Motorcycle Expeditions - Kevin and Julia Sanders will be there with a "UK First" preview of a new six-part television series called "The Ride - Alaska to Patagonia", that has been produced for National Geographic and documents their first group ride from the top of the world to the bottom, plus you can get info on joining them on a tour.
James Cargo Services, bike shipping around the world.

Books - get your signed copy direct from the Author!

Ted Simon (Jupiter's Travels) with his new book, 'Dreaming of Jupiter'
Paul Pratt, one of the original overlanders with signed copies of his best selling, 'World Understanding on two wheels'
Chris Scott will be in attendance with his wide range of signed travel books and DVD's
Sam Manicom, with his book 'Into Africa'
Austin Vince will have his DVD's for sale as well as his books 'Terra Circa' and 'Mondo Enduro'
Lois Pryce, new book - 'Lois on the Loose'
Simon and Georgie McCarthy 'Sorebums Rattling Around Asia'
Dennis Robinson, Scooters in the Sahara

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Meeting Report

by Lance Street, for his local AIM newsletter.
 An event report from the Horizons Unlimited motorcycle overlanders meeting at Lumb Farm, Ripley, Derbyshire June 2007.

I've been meaning to go to this for years now as I've been a keen viewer of the Horizons Unlimited web site long before the Ewan and Charlie factor put motorcycle journeys into vogue. I booked this early in Feb 2007 to guarantee my entry as the limited places fill up quickly, its popularity and numbers have been growing significantly each year. The meeting starts on a Thursday afternoon and carries on through till the following Sunday afternoon to give people more time to travel and set up camp.

This year the event happened to coincide with the dampest couple of weeks we've had all year so far (read monsoon season, the bad flooding we then experienced started the Monday after the meeting), it also fell on the same weekend as the Moto GP at Donnington and Glastonbury - so no surprise at a wet weekend then.

Main Camping area
Main camping area

After a very damp ride over to Ripley I arrived and found a reasonable spot left on the higher camp area and managed to get pitched up in a dry spell before the rain returned from its tea break. I must admit I'm not the world's keenest camper and I've not done this for a few years so with the bad weather forecast all weekend it was in at the deep end again for me. The first thing I had to do was ride up the steep wet grassy field to my spot, and we all know how good rubber tyres are on wet grass don't we! All I thought was “please don't fall over now” not with all these serious overlander types watching, I really didn't want to start off by looking a right charley. Mind you I made it ok - but Kevin Sanders didn't, he dropped his GS near the entrance, we were all sympathetic laughing and clapping as you would expect from your fellow riders.

I had a stroll round the camping areas and found a varied range of bikes about but the mainstay of the overlanding brigade appears to be the dual purpose style of machine and no they weren't all BMW GS's though they did have a healthy showing as you'd expect.

Tent Pitched and ready
Pitched and ready.

The first presentation and film show I attended was by Globebusters Kevin and Julie Sanders at 2pm. It's the pre-release showing of a forthcoming Discovery Channel TV show about their 2005 Transamerica trip, and featured the 15 people who had paid to travel with them from Prudhoe Bay in Alaska to the tip of Tierra del Fuego in South America. They covered 29,000km on the Pan American highway visiting 12 countries over 2 continents having some amazing riding adventures on the way. The quality of the filming and production is excellent and is full of great scenery, really making you feel you want to get out there with them. It certainly captures the highs and lows of adventure travelling with some great characters involved, in terms of a good story it certainly gives Long Way Round a run for its money as the drama unfolds in this pacey film. See it soon on Discovery or buy the DVD later in the year - you won't be disappointed.

The next presentation was from Colin and Dee Masters about their round the world trip and looked at the pitfalls and pleasures of long-distance riding. They had some great tips backed up with their hard won knowledge; you could certainly fill a few pages just by trying to absorb even a little from the mine of information they have. From them the main points were preparation, not just the bike but for yourself as well and don't get too hung up or stressed out sometimes you just need to go with the flow. Another good point was about clothing and gear on the bike, it rains and can be cold nearly everywhere in the world so do some practise runs to test the kit you have before setting off for real. By far the biggest problem can come from the sun in hot climates; not keeping cool and dehydration can cause serious health problems as Colin can testify to by getting heatstroke in India. They also covered aspects of shipping, carnets, health and bike insurance even down to which bank cards they ffound worked best (Visa was recommended as Maestro & Cirrus don't seem to work to well outside the EU). The main thing they got across was that whenever or wherever you go remember to enjoy it and not get obsessed with big mileages everyday or what will you actually see of the places you pass through.

Camping everywhere there's a space
More camping, anywhere there's a space.

From here it was into one of the other conference rooms to see Land of the long white cloud an evening presentation by a German couple Ingo Cordes and Claudia Sulek. They had changed jobs and re located to London managing to engineer a 4 month career break at the same time (nice if you can get it). From London they shipped the bikes out to Auckland in the North Island of New Zealand for the start of their adventure. After covering much of the North they took the crossing over to the south island spending time here before returning north again for the flight home. This was the couples 1st presentation and I have to say it was enthralling and easy to view. They're obviously very good photographers as the quality of the pictures shown were outstanding. Many parts of the South Island looked remarkably like Scotland and guess what it rains in New Zealand too!

The presentation lasted 70 minutes but the time flew past, they went from a November to March period as its mid summer then that far south of the equator. One last small fact, there's 40 million sheep in NZ-that's about 11 per person. If you didn't want to go to NZ before, after this presentation you most certainly will.
This last show of the day took me up to the Friday night so after a late supper I bedded down for the first evening my head swimming with all the images and information from the far away places I'd heard about throughout the day.

Outside the main conference buildings, loads of bikes parked.
Out side the main conference buildings.

Saturday morning came round quickly so after breakfast I had a wander through the site to look at the bikes around and talk to some of the people attending, there were some seriously loaded and well used overlanding bikes here.

Some of the overland equipment vendors.
A few of the overland equipment vendors in attendance

During the day there were various ride outs organized, some all tarmac and others for the more adventurous being a bit more gnarly. There were also breakout sessions with various topics; one was how to change tyres (not everybody's done it) including advice on ingenious ways to break beads if you're on your own in the middle of nowhere. Another was a road kill cook out, hairy bikers eat your hearts out-but roast hedgehog didn't really appeal to me that much, sorry.

The first talk I attended on the Saturday was at 12pm delivered by Peter Henshaw, freelance journalist and ex editor of Motorcycle Sport and Leisure and Motorcycle Voyager. This was about how to write articles and approach the media with a view to getting work published. I found this useful and thought it could help us with methods for pushing the group's activities through the events committee in the local press.

Michelin were one of the vendors.
Michelin were one of the vendors

The next presentation was by Grant and Susan Johnson, the organisers of the whole Horizons Unlimited community entitled "The Achievable Dream." They travelled two up over 39 countries and 5 continents during an 11 year period. The presentation was quite long though after 11 years of travelling as you can imagine they have plenty to talk about so it was split into two sessions with a break in between. They have such a wealth of accumulated travelling knowledge there didn't seem to be anything they'd never come across, their web site is a great place to start if you're looking for information about big motorcycle trips.

The Johnson's heavily modded bike.
The Johnson's heavily modded bike. 86 R80G/S

Straight after the Grants, Chris Scott author of the Adventure Motorcycling Handbook gave a talk and photo show followed by a Q&A session on his 25years of exploring and running trips into the Sahara. A great talk with plenty of light hearted heckling from the crowd; many were fellow travellers and presenters themselves.

With barely time to catch your breath the next presentation was started by Lois Pryce author of 'Lois On the loose'. She rode from London to Cape Town on a Yamaha TTR 250 and has completed many more extreme rides on a Serow 225 proving you don't need to be a man or have a big BMW to have an adventure. The room was packed and most of the women here had come to this one, I'm sure she's provided a lot of inspiration to many of the ladies and rightly so as she's an incredibly determined and resourceful lady. Incidentally her partner is Austin Vince from Terra Circa and Mondo Enduro fame himself a great character and funny as a feather thong.

Finally to round off the day the granddaddy of them all-the elder statesman of overland motorcycling in the UK, Ted Simon gave a talk. He originally completed his round the world trip in the 1970's on a Triumph at the age of 43. He then went on to write the book Jupiter's travels, this book has inspired so many people including Ewan McGregor for his Long Way Round Trip. Well it seems the wanderlust never deserts some people and at 69 years of age he set of again from 2001-2003 on a BMW to re trace the original route to see how things have changed, it would seem not always for the better from his findings.  He's just published his account of the trip called Dreaming of Jupiter, he again caught up with many of the people he met the first time around and some of these accounts were quite moving. The room was packed out and the atmosphere amazing-everybody seemed to have taken the time to attend this talk.

One thing that Ted spoke of and something that seems to be a common theme to all the travellers talking is it's the people and the situations you meet them in that really make any trip. Also as you pass through their lives you will usually leave an impression on them that as he found is seldom forgotten-so try hard to ensure it's a good one.

Ready toll overland bike
ready to roll

After Ted Simon, and into the early hours many of us stood around the huge bonfire to chew the fat, the mellow laid back atmosphere and re counts of many peoples amazing trips-a great way to finish a long day. By now I could barely keep my eyes open and gratefully crawled into my sleeping bag lulled to sleep by the strange almost frog chorus like sound of tent doors being zipped tight all over the quietening camp site.

Sunday was the last day and I was woken by the light patter of rain on the tent plus the shrill song of the local blackbirds who I firmly believe had been issued with loud hailers for the Horizons meeting, dam they were noisy. The sun eventually shone through and soon dried the tents but with dark clouds peeping menacingly over the nearby hills I struck camp getting the bike loaded before retiring to the main conference buildings on the site. There were a few more talks and shows scheduled up till lunch time, some were repeats for those who had missed them or where they'd clashed with other presentations during the weekend. After attending the last one I left at 1pm, skillfully managing to dodge all the dry areas and keep in the heavy rain showers most of the way home.

A variety of bikes showed up, including this Vincent.
A variety of bikes in attendance, including this very nicely upgraded Vincent. Note the twin discs.

What a great weekend I'd had, the weather had failed to dampen the atmosphere there and perversely I'd even enjoyed camping in the rain, how odd. The exhibitors and presenters included Ted Simon, author of Jupiter's travels, Dan Walsh from Bike magazine, Kevin and Julie Sanders of Guinness record and Globebusters fame, Sam Manicom author of Into Africa, Chris Scott author of Desert Riders and The Adventure Motorcyclists hand book, Nick Sanders, and Austin Vince of Terra Circa fame plus many more. If you're a keen tourer or interested in adventure motorcycling I would certainly recommend this event, I'll definitely be attending next year. Horizons Unlimited is now a world wide community hosted by Grant and Susan Johnson, they've organized these overlander get together's in many countries including Australia, Canada, UK, USA, Mexico, Portugal, Asia, NZ, and Argentina to date. Check out their great web site on www.horizonsunlimited.com - a warning though, you may find you're on it for hours, as there's so much information and travellers tales, plus some excellent other site links-have fun.

Remember, make love not war… or get married with kids and have the best of both worlds! Ride safe and as often as you can.

Lance Street.

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Information about the area

Ripley Information Centre, Ripley Town Hall, Market Place, Ripley DE5 3BT
Tel: 01773 841488 Fax: 01773 841487

"Denby Pottery Visitor Centre, Derby Road, Denby DE5 8NX, on B6179, south of the town, has a museum, guided factory tours and a shop of the famous Denby Pottery Open: factory tours, Mon-Thu 10:30 & 13:00, Fri 10:30; Craft room 10:00-15:30 daily. Factory shop Mon-Sat 9:00-17:00."

Midland Railway Centre, Butterley Station, DE5 3QZ , a very big collection of steam & diesel locomotives, with coaches & goods wagons as well as miniature and model train layouts. Shop, etc, Tel: 01773 570140

Wingfield Manor, South Wingfield, A610 then A6 before right to Crich and South Wingfield, ruined 15th-century mansion and tower used in the film "Jayne Eyre" and TV series "Peak Practice", Mary Queen of Scots was once imprisoned here, Tel: 01773 832060 Open: Wed-Sun Apr-Nov"

Derbyshire UK has links to everything you want to know about the area itself.

Derbyshire Curiosities - Derbyshire curiosities looks at some of the natural and man made oddities to be found in Derbyshire and the Peak District. Check out the plague cottages at Eyam and other oddities.

Derbyshire Photo Gallery for some pictures of the area.

Derbyshire Customs will acquaint you with some of the odder local practices, including Well Dressing, evidently a BIG activity in the area during the summer. Unfortunately, our event will be too late for you to participate in Royal Shrovetide Football in Ashbourne on Shrove Tuesday, which sounds like great fun! "The goal posts are 3 miles apart. It has little to do with normal football, for the game has few rules. Murder and manslaughter are barred as is the transportation of the ball by vehicle. Play after midnight is also forbidden."

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Local Hosts

Glynn Roberts is the lead organizer of this event. Thanks Glynn, you continue to do an amazing job!

If you have any questions:

with rideout registration, vendor, venue and speakers questions.

See you at a meeting this year!

Grant and Susan



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