January 16, 2007 GMT
So How Did I End Up Here?

5 Continents to cross, 29 Countries to navigate and I'm not sure how I got here. Yes I am actually; it was that train journey to Avignon in December 2005.

The screech of the TVRs brakes heralded my arrival in Avignon, December 2005. Donning my rucksack and satchel I followed the straggling line of passengers out of the station into the crisp midnight air, and onto the wide floodlit station steps. Before me was a modern concourse with majestic wrought iron gates and a wide boueivard stretching into the distant darkness. I re-read the brochure, 'The Hotel is a short distance from the Station and directly in front of you.' Forwards then. Fifteen minutes later the street lights were gone and I was standing puzzled next to a 4 meter high chain link fence at the back of a factory lot!! Back to the light, out with the map. Doh! There are TWO Stations at Avignon, one for the TVR and one for local trains. Back to the taxi rank, more fun and games and finally arriving at my Hotel to a sleepy night porter.
Lesson one, when things go wrong, stay cool, enjoy them and earn a pint out of the telling there of.
So what has this got to do with me and Two Wheeled Adventure Travel? Stay with me, all will be revealed.

I enjoyed the quirks of that holiday so much that I thought about taking another train journey in the Spring, The Trans-Siberian Express to Vladivostock sounds romantic, but you have to fly back to Moscow
'Why,' asked my friend Mike, 'don't you ship your bike there and ride back?'
'Don't be daft Mike, only a lunatic would ride that far!!'

2 DVDs later and I am a convert lunatic. Another slide show by seasoned 'Globebusters', Kevin & Julia Saunders, and I feel defeated. The cost, all that shiny new GS paintwork, the insurance, the back-up team, the planning. To console myself I browse the web and find Lois-on-the-Loose :o)
Crikey, half the age that I am, wandering off to who knows where with an old ammo box welded to the back of a well used Yamaha XT225. Lois changed my life at that moment, if she can do it on a shoestring, then so can I. Bonus!!! I find a link to Horizons Unlimited, and boy oh boy, the game is afoot.

Tomorrow : What bike and why

Posted by Derek Fairless at 06:40 PM GMT
January 17, 2007 GMT
The Bike

Which bike? One of the most vexed questions for newbie travellers, which bike?

All types and sizes at HU meeting, Ripley, 2006

It of course depends on where you are going and how. Two up needs a few more horses, whereas trail riding needs better clearance and suspension. It became clear to me, after seeing the DVD that shall not be named, that a GS on the rough is not a good option. A 600cc or 650 is adequate, and judging from the Dakar Rally reports, more than adequate for the job. I didnít want to throw my money away on a bike that didnít suit me, so before my final purchase I decided to buy a good 2nd hand BMWf650 and get some road miles under my belt.


A bike I saw on ebay caught my eye and I became the proud owner of a 10 year old Funduro. (Stupid name, but thatís corporate marketing for you!!)
One of my criteria was that I had to feel comfortable with parking it in a lay-by and walking away from it if it all became to much. Now you canít do that if youíve just spent 10 grand on a bike. I know, it sounds defeatist, but it is practical. Secondly it is older technology, so I should be able to fix most of it myself with a few basic tools if it breaks down on me somewhere remote. Anyway for £1600 I had a 10 year old bike with less than 5000 miles on the clock. Even though it had not reached its first proper service at 6000 miles, I had the history that showed regular services almost every year from new. Thank you previous owners, you did great. Compared to my 20 year old Yamaha XJ550, this bike was a dream to ride the 300 miles home. Responsive to the throttle across all the gears and a power curve that looks like a straight line graph, I felt quite safe and in full control on the motorway. Not until about the 250 mark did my bum begin to feel uncomfortable, but I found the cure for that, get better underwear. Sitting on a gusset seam for 4 hours does have its disadvantages. The next couple of weeks I put another 1000 miles on the clock, did a service with the aid of ĎThe Chain Gangsí website, and headed out for a weekend camping trip to Wales. Tip, know what way to turn the fuel tap when you start into reserve. I spent several frustrating minutes at the side of the road near Telford trying to get her started, until I got off and looked at the tap; yep it turns the opposite way to the XJ550. Oh the feeling of freedom just on a 2 day jaunt.

By a waterfall in Wales

I dropped it on a lonely road in the Welsh valleys as I pulled onto some shale to take a photo and not knowing the right way to pick it up, had to flag down a rare passing car to give me a hand. In my younger day I could pick up my heavy old BSA 650 Rocket Gold Star, but I was fitter in those days. Image my chagrin at seeing the lightly built ladies at the HU meeting a month later achieving what I couldnít. Itís all down to technique. Richard, who camped next to me at Ripley also showed me another technique and both are admirably displayed in another Richardsí blog, that of Richard Lindley. So if you donít know how, go there and find out, if you are a rider you need to know. Oh!Oh I can hear some saying under their breath; this guy hasnít got a chance, a disaster waiting to happen. Well letís just wait and see, we all have weaknesses in our knowledge but admitting that I am ignorant is not one of mine, nor is giving up. On returning from Wales I sat down and thought about it and yes the f650 was all that I wanted from a bike. A few mods required true, but basically I felt right at home with her and gave her the name ĎChristineí. So me and Christine are off to see the world, but first we got rear ended just outside Nottingham in the summer, 2 weeks before the HU Meeting I was going to in Belgium, so yet another experience, (albeit one I would prefer not to repeat) to chalk up. I was interested to note my attitude during the first moments after the crash. Pinned under my bike, trying to figure out what had just caused me to launch into space, I felt a great anger as the white van driver, yes a white van, strode towards me saying, ĎYou must have overtaken me on the inside!í If I couldíve gotten up just then there might have been fisticuffs, but he immediately retracted saying that it was all his fault. After that I was a little surprised to feel myself amused at the whole thing, I was OK, only superficial damage to the bike and raring to get back on and get to the weekends racing at Donnington. First a few ad-hoc repairs to the smashed rear light and pray that the rear wheel or frame were not bent. A few miles up the road and no juddering or pulling to one side, so I guess not. Later a dealer confirmed that all was ok. So I learned Lesson #2, If you arenít leaking body fluid and it donít hurt anywhere, relax and be glad about it.

New Boots for Christine

The hired Honda and I at the HU Belgium Meeting

Now about those Mods

Fork Gaiters to stop dirt and sand from wearing out the seals. Also from stones chipping the chrome. Job Done
Engine Crash Bars to stop damage to vital parts when going over (me and the bike) Job done. (Another ebay buy, when he found out about the ATW trip the seller said that he did 7000miles across Australia 10 years back and they were the best days of his life. Q. What tips for a newbie. A. Talk to the locals, campsites are full of tourists like you, so you will get a false impression.)
LED Lights, so no bulb worries. To Be Done
Touring Wind Shield needed. If you get to talk to Dennis Brown, ask him about his windscreen story, hilarious. TBD
New Inner Tubes. I saw a forum note somewhere that you can get heavy duty 4mm tubes. Gotta check it out and buy some. TBD
Wheel Bearings. Check and replace as required. Shouldn't need to replace, not after only 10,000 mls, but better safe than sorry. TBD
Power Take Off Socket. Some bikes have this already fitted, mine hasn't so I must fit one. TBD
Petrol Filter. There is dirty petrol out there, and not just in far flung places. TBD
Quick Release Fuel Line Couplers. Makes getting fuel for my stove and cleaning filters much easier. Also change the fuel lines foe new ones. TBD
Chain Lub Unit. I'm going to attempt to make a smaller, simpler chain lub unit. Watch this space. TBD
Radiator Hoses. 10 years old, so it makes sense to change them now. TBD
Sump Guard. The one supplied is plastic, and I'm not sure it will stand up to bashing it against the odd bolder. Also the design is poor because it is difficult to get to the sump drain plug. May either strengthan and modify or fabricate my own. I would like to see a bit of shock proofing built in, so that the full force of hard knocks doesn't get transmitted to the engine casing. TBD
Side Stand Mod. The side stand could do with a bigger foot so it doesn't sing into soft ground, and possibly something to help it grip on smooth sloping ground. I'll have to think on that one. TBD
Spare Cables. While I've got the bike in bits it makes sense to ty-wrap a spare cable along the route of the existing one, then if one breakes, hooking up the other can be done quickly at the side of the road. TBD
Radiator Screen. The Radiator looks exposed to flying stones and rocks, but it should not be difficult to make a screen up, and possibly improve the oil drain plug arrangement. TBD
Heated Grips. It gets pretty cold in the mountains so I've heard tell, so these will need to be fitted, along with Hand Shields. TBD
Cruise Control. This just slides over the throttle grip and enables you to relax your grip on those long straight prairie roads, using the palm of your hand to contol your speed. TBD
Oil Temp. Guage. Another easy fit. The f650 has a dry engine sump and the oil is held in a reservoir in front of the petrol tank. Replacing the existing filler cap with one that incorporates a temperature guage is simple. TBD
Gel Battery. A Gel Battery has better output than a standard one, and it will not spill acid onto everything if it takes a knock. I think it is also acceptable to leave them in place, but disconnected, during transit, even by air. TBD
Off Road Front Tyre. Or a semi-off road to be exact, I may be travelling on unmade roads, but I don't expect to be going anywhere where I need a full knobbly.
Off Road Rear Tyre. Having got Sam to help me change my worn out rear tyre at the HU Riply Meeting last year, in a record time of 1hr47mins :o), I don't need to change this to an off-road tyre yet. Also I would be amazed if I couldn't pick one up in Halifax,Canada during my first few days stay. No point in carting one across the pond for no reason. (BTW the tyre change time did included breaking a rusty bead and sanding down the rim to remove rust and corrosion.)
Top Box. The top box I have is neither big enough nor strong enough. I want at least 1 metal box for securing valubles. I'm not sure if I will buy one, adapt one or make one. Must ponder a bit more on that. TBD
Panier Rail. Its not worth the fidling about to make them when you can pick them up for around £100. When they are fitted I can work out the next item. TBD
Panniers. Another vexed question that creates a great deal of debate, until you commit yourself that is, and then of course your choice is the DBs. I am inclined to soft panniers as the will absorbe low speed (no speed) topples, although hard panniers can double up as seat and table. Hmmm still thinking on that one. TBD
Tank Bag. has to have a clear map pocket, although I have a small GPS I still like maps, or at least a list of towns I'm supposed to be passing through. TBD
Tool Box. I'm looking for a piece of heavy duty plastic pipe, like the stuff the use for water and gas mains. I think I know where there are some abandond pieces. Light and almost indistructable, will mount low down at front somewhere. TBD

Well thats my current Bike Preperation list, I'll put it somewhere where I can update it without causing a new entry each time. I'll let you know when I do.

Next to consider is my Camping equipment, but thats tomorrows task.

Happy Trails.

Posted by Derek Fairless at 07:06 PM GMT
January 20, 2007 GMT
Camping Equipment

Camping equipment appears to me very much a matter of 50% personal choice and 50% common sense. Obviously if Iím going down to Wales on the Spring Bank Holiday for a weekend and my tent blows away, Iím gonna be pissed off, but I seriously doubt if my life will be in danger. On the other hand if it happens in late Autumn on the Russian Steppes, hmm, I think we can all figure that one out.

Tents of all shapes and sizes

Tent. After spending a few weekends away in a small one man tent loaned to me by my son Adam, I had enough information for what was required to satisfy me as and individual. After a little more research on the climates I would encounter, (much hotter, much colder, than I expected.) I had a mental picture of what I wanted. The HU Weekend at Ripley gave me the opportunity to go and ask questions about peoples experiences with their tents, something you cannot get from books. Two comments stand out in my mind. One from Chris, desperately trying to get his laptop to work for a presentation, but still happy to give me half an ear; ĎThis tent is top of the range, mountaineering gear and cost plenty. Three years later the zips are knackered, the netting torn and a couple of anchor points dodgy. I could have bought a good cheap tent every 3 months and chucked it for the same money. Next time thatís what Iím going to do.í

I must admit I felt less embarrassed about my borrowed cheap little igloo, until everyone had left and a local scamp looked at it and said. Theyíre good those tents arenít they, weíve got one just like that but itís blue; eight quid in the Co-Op.í

At Ripley there were tents in all shapes and sizes, and watching them go up and come down was also interesting. The easiest has to be the hammock tent.

Hammock Tent. Slung between two trees in the background.

Just sling it between two trees. It is ideal for hotter climates with creepy crawlies everywhere. ĎWhat if you donít see two trees ten feet apart?í I asked thinking that there may be a single fold away mast or perhaps even using the bike somehow. ĎKeep riding until you do.í Good advice in Brazil, but not much use in the tundra.. Another unfolded like a sleepy octopus and was up in a minute or two while still more used more traditional aluminium or carbon fibre poles to stretch them into the many geodesic designs I saw there. In the end I decided that if it was to be my home for the next couple of years, one person needed a two man tent to stretch out in. This also gave the advantage that if I found a buddy, then if speed was required, we could just erect the one tent. Talking of buddies, at this time I was due to travel with my brother Norman who found himself in similar circumstances to me, but did not have a bike licence. He had booked an intensive riding course later that summer, but after a mornings theory and driving around cones, fell off in heavy traffic during his first ride out that afternoon, and sadly vowed never get on a motorcycle again. I have found rarely are you unequivocal about motorbikes, you either love them or you donít. Better to find out now that you donít than in downtown Labrador. Back to my choice; a two man tent then, quick to erect, good for both cold, wet and windy places as well as hot, dry ones. I have chosen an American design that has good undercover storage at one end for my gear, without it intruding into the living area, and a covered area at the front for my domestic needs. The only controversial thing about it, and Iím sorry about this but it appears to be true from all accounts, is the stars and stripes logo printed on the side.
tent flag.jpg
Iím going to cover that with a St.Georges flag to take away any chance of uninformed opinion taking reprisals against it in some far flung land. I donít want to come back one day and find it burnt to the ground!
The old red 'weekend tent' and the new silver ATW tent

Rock Pegs.
Like most tents mine came with thin aluminium tent pegs, fine for Englands green and pleasant land, but not in other more hostile climes. Rock Pegs are made of steel and you can get them into harder terrain where an alli peg would just hold up.

Hammer. As a hammer is also an essential part of my toolkit, it can double up to knock the pegs in with, as I donít think a mallet would give the Rock Pegs enough of a clout to get them in if the ground is that hard.

Sleeping Bag. A good 3 or 4 seasons sleeping bag has got to be a must. You can easily sleep on top of it if it gets too hot, harder to find anything to boost it up if it gets too cold. If I were buying again I would probably go for a traditional oblong one rather than the mummy style I have purchased, as there is more room to fidget about in. I have got used to finding a good sleeping position and sticking to it though.

Sleeping Bag Liner. Keeps your sleeping bag from getting smelly, as you can wash and dry it quickly in a motel room, or at a camp site when it is sunny. Available in silk or polyester/cotton mix, your choice, I like polyester/cotton myself. You can use this on its own in hot weather, or inside the sleeping bag in cold. I often use the sleeping bag as a Ďthrow overí quilt, as you can adjust the temperature that you sleep at easier

Sleeping Pad.
As important is the sleeping pad or mat. This not only makes your bones more comfortable, but stops the heat leaching out from under you. I chose a self inflating ĺ model from Artiach that rolls up really tight, but make sure you store it opened out, or it will try and curl up when you come to use it.

Camping Stool. I do like something to sit on and one of the lightweight folding stools should be ok. I may reinforce the seat though, as a couple have shown the anchor points to be vulnerable. Sometimes, {often!) I also like to rest my back against something, and have found that you can put a stake in the ground and prop your bike seat against it to make a comfortable back rest and sit on your sleeping mat.

Cooking Stove.
Light, compact and quick to get going was my brief on this one, but like most things associated with long distance motorcycle travel, there are additional factors to take into account. I therefore made good sense to me that the fuel to power it should be petrol as I could get that anywhere, whereas a gas canister or solid fuel tablets might not be available. I have made my own spirit stoves before out of a small tin can and metal bottle cap, and they work well in an emergency. I bet they will even work using vodka as a fuel, hmm might try that, but if you get in a pickle check out this photo to see how to make one in an emergency. homemade.jpg

If wood or dried dung is available an open fire makes sense, but try not to burn down half of Canada like that tourist did last year!!! Especially be aware that global warming is making some places tinder dry in the summer that are not usually so.

Cooking, drinking and eating ware.
A nesting stainless steel set is best in my opinion, but cooking a full meal is an art with only one stove. An open fire gives more opportunities to get everything to the table hot. Coddled eggs stay hotter than fried ones and you can use the hot water to make a drink or wash up with. Just boil some water set it aside and drop them in, still in their shells, for about ten minutes While on the subject of washing up, I store some gear in a Ďsandwich cool bagí and have found this makes an excellent camp water carrier and washing up bowl. It keeps water warm for hours.

Thermos Flask. Not one with a glass interior, thatís asking for trouble. A stainless steel one is much more robust and as I intend to stop about once an hour for a drink, to me it is an essential piece of kit.

Torch. The new wind up torches have come a long way in the last couple of years with LEDs instead of tungsten filament bulbs, and mine has the added advantage that you can plug other devices in, like cell phones, to give them a short charge if required.

Camp knife.
Now this is a Knife knife1.jpg

but Crocodile Dundee cutlery is not necessary, A medium size Bowie knife should be adequate. knife2.jpg
It need to be stout in order to cut through branches should you be forced to make your own bivvi. A good stout knife is a must for survival, but with all of the security and hassle surrounding them at the moment I shall purchase mine when I reach Canada. I can hear someone saying I've never needed a knife that size for survival, well I never needed a life jacket until I got washed overboard! TBO

Nappy Sacks. No Iím not incontinent yet. These are for storing waste material until I reach somewhere that I can dispose of them with consideration for those following me.
Burn, bash and bury is the old Boy Scout philosophy, but sometimes thatís not always possible. I look with sadness at the trash left behind in some remote beauty spots by uncaring travellers. trash.jpg
Try not to be one please, not only does it look unsightly, but can injure the wildlife. Even throwing a plastic coffee cup into the sea can lead to a cod or other big fish dying when, thinking itís a small fish as the upended cup bobs along the bottom with the tide, it gets lodged in its throat. Not nice. TBO

Hot Water Bottle. I have cold feet!! Any old soft drink bottle filled with hot, not boiling, water will do. It works fine.

Next on the list is Personal Gear

Posted by Derek Fairless at 02:28 PM GMT
January 25, 2007 GMT
Personal Equipment

Riding Gear
Me in the Hein Gericke gear with Christine

Riding gear is split between a Eunesco Riding Outfit for rainy climates with its zip out liner and storm-proof construction, and a Hein Gericke outfit for warmer ones. While only advertised as shower-proof, the Toureg outfit from Hein Gericke has the advantage that there are zips everywhere that allow air to pass through the outfit, and the trousers unzip to become shorts. What, two sets of motorcycle clothing!!! Yes, I donít see how you can have something light and airy that will withstand cold wet stormy days in Canada, or on the other hand, heavy storm-proof clothes that can be worn in comfort in the desert. I will just send the heavy clothes home when I get to a point that I donít need them any more. Itís not a race, if I need to hang about waiting for a Fedex delivery anytime, then thatís more time for me to relax and see the local area.
Lid, gloves and boots

Vendramini Italian riding boots of a traditional design for me, they were an absolute bitch to get on first of all, as I have a high instep. Several applications of leather treatment and perseverance and now they fit like a glove. So much so that I can walk about in them all day with no discomfort, in the summer I tend just to use a little talcum powder instead of socks, that way I keep the washing down.;o)
Two pairs of gloves. One set of leather gauntlets, again from Eunesco, and one set of soft leather short gloves. The soft gloves are for hot weather or wearing inside the others on cold days.
I like the flip up style of helmet, makes talking with people much easier. The Carberg model that I chose has an added advantage of a slide down, dark tinted, inner sun visor operated from a slider on the top of the helmet.
Not just to keep my head and neck warm on the bike, but with all the mosquitoes and black fly Iíve read about in the Canadian wilderness, I figure this could be worn around the camp in the evenings to keep the little bastards off of me. TBO
Most Important. I count underpants as part of my Riding Outfit, rather than just personal gear because I have learned the hard way that if you use just an ordinary set of boxer shorts or ĎY frontsí, not only do you get Ďsaddle soreí very quickly, but also you get a very interesting pattern of tramlines across your bum!!! I am using underwear designed with skiers in mind, because it is a wicking fabric, to translocate sweat, and also has the seams in the right places. Another advantage is that the fabric dries very quickly after washing. You can, Iím told, get seamless underwear now, but my 2 pairs of shorts and 2 pairs of longjohns are already in the bag.
Heated Waistcoat
It gets cold up in the mountains, no matter what time of year it is. Once cold it takes quite a while to get warm again and if you are cold you also donít concentrate as well on your riding. A padded waistcoat which has wires sewn in, a bit like an electric blanket, can be plugged into a power socket on the bike and keep you nice and toasty. Also available to work from rechargeable batteries, but that means remembering to charge them, and I have enough bits of electronic equipment destined to be hanging off the bike already. TBO

Personal Gear
Lightweight coat;
A thin lightweight coat, again made from modern fabric, waterproof, wicking and incorporates a bactericide and insect repellent. Worn either as a thermal layer inside the Motorcycle jacket, or as a casual coat for walking about in. The only drawback is the hood which would have been better if it was incorporated in the collar.
Lightweight Trousers.
Once more in modern fabric so that they will wash and dry quickly, but also with an insect deterrent coating. Also they unzip at the knee turning them into shorts for the warmer weather. Two pairs of trousers in one!
Shirts x4
I do not like my arms being covered, so T-shirts are my preferred option, however, due to the mozzies I will have to have at least one long sleeved shirt, I think a silk shirt I have will fill the bill quite nicely, being light and folding up very small. Only draw back is that silk creases, am I worried, nah.. The others will be in lightweight modern wicking fabric, just donít invite me to a formal dinner ;o)
Vests x3
The art of keeping warm and comfortable is to use several thin layers of clothing, rather than a few thick ones. Vests can take the place of T-shirts, sleepwear or for just slopping about in camp. Once more modern ski wear offers excellent value for money in the latest materials. In hot weather they can take the place of T-shirts under my riding gear.
Socks x3
As mentioned already, these are mainly for cold weather, or when walking about in my boots, as I find talcum powder keeps my feet comfortable in all other situations.

I like moccasins, you can feel the ground under your feet! Once had a pair with old tyres stitched on for the sole. The Woodland style of the Iroquois with a high Ďcollarí that can be tied up around your ankles are best imho if you can get them. I may have to wait until I get to Canada to obtain a pair, or if I have time make a pair of my own, itís quite easy. TBO
I have a prescription pair, plus the flip down on my helmet, should be enough.
Cameras and tripod.
I am taking 3 cameras. My main camera is a Konica-Minolta Dimarge Z5, capable of taking high definition still and video and storing it on an SD Card. The next is a Fuji Finepix 1300 to be an Ďever-readyí camera in an easy to get at location for those split second shots where the other camera would take too long to initialise. I have a micro-tripod for taking longer exposures and also the self timer ones of myself. The 3rd camera, I hope, is to be a helmet mounted video camera feeding into a media storage device mounted somewhere out of harms way. That option is still in the discussion stage however. TBO
Head Torch
For all those moments when you need both hands free and itís dark. Like cooking, repairs and going for a pee. TBO
Iíll have more to say on maps in the route section of this blog when I get to it. I like paper maps though, even if they are printouts of my own computer generated ones. I also intend to have a set of these on CD.TBO
Despite there being one on the Magellan GPS, a good compass is essential and takes up so little room as to make it a no brainer for me.
I have been lucky enough to be given a Magellan GPS unit by my friend Dave, after he upgraded. What a marvellous invention. Iíve had hours of fun plotting routes and waypoints, but Iíll tell you more about that in the ROUTES section.
Small Calculator.
I know Iím gonna get ripped off by the money changers at some border crossings, I just want to know by how much!!
Notebook and Diary. Elementry.
I want to take loads of cheap pens. They make a nice little present in poorer countries so Iím told, and donít have the stigma of money attached.
Cell Phone.
Useful in so many ways, Alarm Clock, Camera, Video Recorder, Diary, Notebook, Address book, mp3 player, oh and I also believe you can make phone calls from them, whatever next!! Have to get a new SIM Card that works in the Americas though. Iíll get that when Iím there. My existing phone takes the same SD cards as my camera, so a useful form of transferring data between equipment as it also has IR and Bluetooth. SIM TBO
USB Bluetooth Dongle.
As mentioned above useful for data transfer if the computer leads donít fit.
1001 uses, the woven nylon stuff I prefer. (Tip, for a washing line just double the line and twist it several times before tying off . Secure clothes by poking them through the twists, no need for pegs.)
Sewing Kit
Look the Army issues sewing kits to soldiers, so donít mock. Take a reel of heavy waxed cotton thread as well as the nylon yarn, if a bear decides to investigate your tent you may need to get it sewed back together, or maybe that should also refer to your own skin as well.
Iíve put these here rather than with my riding kit because I expect to be listening to my mp3 player a lot of the time. To those who say you shouldnít listen to music when riding, I say fine for a car, but with a full helmet, the wind noise, earplugs, the engine noise, you canít hear anything going on more than 3feet from the bike anyway. Also you can switch it off to talk much easier than taking your helmet off and removing earplugs. I use earplugs mainly to get to sleep in noisy camping situations.
Small Padlock.
I donít know, but everyone takes one, probably just to throw away somewhere on route.
Length of Cable.
Plastic covered metal cable for securing bike, luggage and stuff, there you go, use with padlock :o) TBO
Fire is an essential element; this is easier and quicker than rubbing two boy scouts together.
Travel Towel.
Ingenious use of modern materials. I have seen one put in a bucket of water, been wrung out and be dry enough to use immediately. Also treated with bactericide to stop them becoming smelly. TBO
Wash Kit
A bar of soap is less bulky than shower gel and lasts longer. No deodorant, itís good to sweat, use strong coal tar soap though if you are in sensitive company. I wet shave, but not like you imagine. I use an old ball deodorant bottle filled with oil, roller it on my chin and shave off, no need for water if itís in short supply. The Romans used oil before they discovered soap. A disposable razor lasts a good month this way without getting scratchy. The oil lasts about 500 shaves, you can use baby oil or any refined oil, and sun screen works just fine. This ingenious device I call the Shaverball, but so far Gillette et al have not been interested until I obtain my own patent. Toothpaste and brush, although salt is as good, and a comb. Thatís about all a man needs.
Wet Wipes
For when you canít get a wash, but since they donít rot down easily, please burn or dispose of carefully.
Toilet Paper
Flat sheets not roll. I wonder what thatís for.
Lip Gloss
er Salve I think that should be, but Liz suggested Vasoline is just as good, and can be used instead of grease on the bike if required. Good thinking Liz.
Sun Block.
With all the heavyweight motorcycle gear on, my body wonít get to tan gradually without a little help. Exposing white flesh to desert sun is not recommended. Just out of interest casual clothing comes with a sun factor rating nowadays, and in some cases itís lower than you would think. My sun-block cream is a higher factor than my khaki trousers!!
Explorers Hat.
Essential equipment according to my granddaughter Trinity, and I think I go along with that. Wide brimmed and waterproof, for when Iím not wearing my helmet. Mine has been many places with me, and although getting a bit battered I hope it will survive the journey.

Me with my Explorers Hat in Nemes, France.

Next blog will be First Aid Kit and Survival Kit

Posted by Derek Fairless at 06:17 PM GMT

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HU DVD Autumn Special!

Take 40% off Road Heroes Part 1 until October 31 only!

Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers Peter and Kay Forwood (193 countries two-up on a Harley); Dr. Greg Frazier (5 times RTW); Tiffany Coates (RTW solo female); and Rene Cormier (University of Gravel Roads).

The first in an exciting new series, Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers."Inspiring and hilarious!"

"I loved watching this DVD!"

"Lots of amazing stories and even more amazing photographs, it's great fun and very inspirational."

"Wonderful entertainment!"

Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'HEROES' on your order when you checkout.

Renedian Adventures

Renedian Adventures

What others say about HU...

"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada

"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia

"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders

contest pic

10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!

NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!

HU 2014 T-shirts now in!

Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!

What turns you on to motorcycle travel?

Global Rescue, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!

New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

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 (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.

Books & DVDs


All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.

Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!

Motorcycle Express

MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!

Story and photos copyright ©

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Editors note: We accept no responsibility for any of the above information in any way whatsoever. You are reminded to do your own research. Any commentary is strictly a personal opinion of the person supplying the information and is not to be construed as an endorsement of any kind.

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