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  #106  
Old 4 Jan 2016
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Yes one of my favourite commidains Dave Allen
Let's hope that 2016 will be a good one for all.
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  #107  
Old 4 Jan 2016
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Originally Posted by Walkabout View Post
I still contend that one can learn a lot more of the ways of the world from online blogs than from any degree course on offer anywhere in the world.
(Hans Rosling is but one case in point - he has some views, based on his research, about degree level studies).
I disagree quite strongly. Yes, there is all sorts of information out there, far more so than is packed into any higher education program. A good BSc program should however focus very much on the way an individual deals with information.

I think the responses on this thread can be quite polarised. Many lines of argument and rather fewer sources have been called upon, but there are those who seem to argue a more reasoned and gracious argument and consider the credibility of sources of information, and those who tend more to pick sources based on how closely they match their own opinions and decry the views of others. I would be surprised if someone with a higher education in a field of science took the latter approach to their arguments.
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  #108  
Old 4 Jan 2016
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An anthropological viewpoint

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Originally Posted by TheWarden View Post
Am I the only one who finds the US's concern on immigrants highly ironic?

After all it is an nation of immigrants

TBH the same applies to a lot of western nations UK included.
Here's another ------ology discussion on a range of issues that relate to your point, albeit the article deals with other, arguably related, more pressing issues.

Yet another wolf that is chewing at the skids of the sled?
https://aeon.co/essays/why-isis-has-...ing-revolution
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  #109  
Old 4 Jan 2016
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Well as I don't own either a sled or a sledge I've got nothing to fear from wolves

Not entirely sure what you are trying to achieve with posting various blogs or perpetuating an ongoing debate in this thread
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  #110  
Old 4 Jan 2016
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Just about last orders in the bar

The thread remains open and I haven't left the bar

+
That particular article addresses a number of issues raised earlier in this thread, including cross references to the National Socialist Party of Germany.

It is very much up to date being written after the recent incident in Paris, thereby dealing with some of the earlier postings about immigration.

When the bar does close, there is this thread also:
http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hub...n-2016-a-85019
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  #111  
Old 5 Jan 2016
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Originally Posted by eurasiaoverland View Post
I disagree quite strongly. Yes, there is all sorts of information out there, far more so than is packed into any higher education program. A good BSc program should however focus very much on the way an individual deals with information.

I think the responses on this thread can be quite polarised.
Your second point first: for sure, there is an amount of polarisation but that is not new to the HUBB.

Academia, UK style:-


My contention harks back to an earlier post which very briefly touched on the issues of higher education in the UK; not that such issues lie solely in the higher branch but let's stick with that for now.


As is the case for many other areas of UK life, I contend that it has been commercialised beyond the acceptable.


Degrees are for sale; not to the highest bidder but to the 50% of the UK population who are targetted to attend a UK university.
i.e expected to take up higher education for some 2-3 years of their young lives in preference to any other form of activity. Yes, 2 year degrees can be awarded last time I looked.


Even the UK employers have said, in effect, that many UK degrees are “not fit for purpose”.
(they may not have used this particular terminology if only because it has legal implications).


On the supply side, it is not permitted to fail; an academic who recommends to an exam board to fail a student is, in effect, sent away to review things, set resit exams and come up with a more acceptable result.


On the downstream “output” side the more vocal, even thinking, ex-student graduates may even speak up and complain about the outcome, particularly in their personal case – the latter to the extent that they may go to law in order to have their individual result subject to judicial review. If they do not go that far then there are myriad student advisors and the like within the university system who can advise them about making internal appeals as a bureaucratic, non-legal review.
In short, the customer of the university can stand up for what they consider to be an equitable outcome for the money that they have put into their education; what they may learn from all of this is doubtful in my opinion.


I do post as a retiree from engineering and I do accept that my original contention was deliberately meant to generate some thought and further discussion by anyone who has an interest here in the pub.
As ever, your experiences and associated views can be quite different.
To be clear, I am not saying that education has no value: Hans Rosling explains this as well as anyone.
But, students have to want to learn and the product that they wish to study needs to be fit for purpose and that has not been the case for vast swathes of the UK for quite a few years, to my personal knowledge.
In a word, there is a lack of integrity in the UK system of higher education, certainly at the time I last experienced it close up and personally involved, just over 10 years ago.


Incidentally, but not off topic, the last link that I posted to a blog (the one written by a US anthropologist who also works at French and UK universities) makes some points that are related to this topic.
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  #112  
Old 5 Jan 2016
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At the risk of contributing to a topic that has so far generated far more heat than light I certainly would agree that the UK tertiary education system has changed considerably between when I was a student in the early 70's and what my children are experiencing at the moment. It's not surprising really as such change, in the form of government encouraged liberalisation and expansion, has its roots back in the late 19thC so it's not a recent innovation.

I'm not convinced that the access bar to universities has been lowered but what has happened as a result of changes in the nature of employment is that the consequences of failure at A level are higher. Back in the days when only a few percent of secondary school pupils would make it to any university, never mind Oxbridge, there was plenty of employment available for lesser qualified individuals. Those that chose the academic route tended to be (for the most part) those most suited to it or desirous of the experience. Many of my contemporaries decided that it wasn't worth three years more penury and left for the world of work.

It's not surprising that many who previously would have left school content with "O" or "A" levels are now taking degrees as that's now regarded as an entry level qualification - and particularly so where the qualification is a BSc rather than a BA. It's also not surprising that when an substantial percentage of undergraduates are there out of necessity rather than intellectual curiosity or temperament that they will look to the small print when things go against them. In my recent experience though the universities are no pushover. My daughter had go before an academic review board when she wanted to change courses last year and when my son had a month off through illness he was told his options were repeat the year or leave - no catch up or concessions.

All bar two of our extended family (25 people) have needed undergraduate degrees or higher (or are currently doing them) to follow their chosen career paths. For the most part that's due to legislation now preventing previously acceptable "life experience" entry to their various professions or to ceilings of one form or another existing within industries for non graduates. Whatever the shortcomings of the education establishment in the UK (and a few other countries that we have direct experience of) it's the world we currently live in. No doubt it will continue to change in the face of criticism, government policy or economic developments but any one in their teens / 20's at the moment will have to work, for better or for worse, with what we have.

Last edited by backofbeyond; 5 Jan 2016 at 18:23.
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  #113  
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At the risk of contributing to a topic that has so far generated far more heat than light I certainly would agree that the UK tertiary education system has changed considerably between when I was a student in the early 70's and what my children are experiencing at the moment. It's not surprising really as such change, in the form of government encouraged liberalisation and expansion, has its roots back in the late 19thC so it's not a recent innovation.
Check.

I'm not convinced that the access bar to universities has been lowered but what has happened as a result of changes in the nature of employment is that the consequences of failure at A level are higher. Back in the days when only a few percent of secondary school pupils would make it to any university, never mind Oxbridge, there was plenty of employment available for lesser qualified individuals. Those that chose the academic route tended to be (for the most part) those most suited to it or desirous of the experience. Many of my contemporaries decided that it wasn't worth three years more penury and left for the world of work.
Moi also – I started a degree course at age 31.
However I didn't say that an access bar has been lowered but certainly widened, with first years of degree courses generally covering A level studies as a catch up stage – that was the case 10 years ago.
But, later, I was able to help an individual obtain a position as a nurse just before that vocation (that word is worth noting) was given over to those with degree level qualifications only – I know that she was a great nurse in all respects (or I would not have provided a reference for her), At that time she was dedicated to moving out of “flipping burgers in a burger bar”.
Now we have a lack of nurses and you won't hear many of them referring to the work as a vocation.
My niece has just achieved much the same form of transition in a different line of employment without a degree level qualification to her name. Her new employer saw some talent in her, arguably, and took a shine to her and gave her an opportunity to change over.

It's not surprising that many who previously would have left school content with "O" or "A" levels are now taking degrees as that's now regarded as an entry level qualification - and particularly so where the qualification is a BSc rather than a BA. It's also not surprising that when an substantial percentage of undergraduates are there out of necessity rather than intellectual curiosity or temperament that they will look to the small print when things go against them. In my recent experience though the universities are no pushover. My daughter had go before an academic review board when she wanted to change courses last year and when my son had a month off through illness he was told his options were repeat the year or leave - no catch up or concessions.
Nothing is too surprising; it has all become the norm. But neither does this mean that it is right.


The general case for changing courses used to be that a student could do that at any time during the first semester of the first year I.e during the first 12-13 weeks.
How long do they want to commit themselves?


Consider; the individual cases that you describe are favourable to the finances of the university.

All bar two of our extended family (25 people) have needed undergraduate degrees or higher (or are currently doing them) to follow their chosen career paths. For the most part that's due to legislation now preventing previously acceptable "life experience" entry to their various professions or to ceilings of one form or another existing within industries for non graduates. Whatever the shortcomings of the education establishment in the UK (and a few other countries that we have direct experience of) it's the world we currently live in. No doubt it will continue to change in the face of criticism, government policy or economic developments but any one in their teens / 20's at the moment will have to work, for better or for worse, with what we have.
The professions have been totally involved in developing things to where we are today and are just one more case of organisations with vested interests; but ask the employers what they want and a very different picture appears.
Incidentally, I resigned from my own professional body when I had arrived at the viewpoint that I have attempted to outline in the past few posts; they tried to tell me that this was not possible. You can guess my response.


Summary:
I used to teach HNC/HND level students who really did understand commitment to a career and the word vocation – but those courses are declining if not gone completely - I would have to check on that.


Ask the children about “vocation” and “commitment” and see what is forthcoming.
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  #114  
Old 6 Jan 2016
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Warming is cool

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Originally Posted by ridetheworld View Post
So you're saying they are false? Or do you believe NASA, et al along with those who carried out that research are wrong?




Evidence?




But are you disputing that the link between Co2 and climate change or the problems with computer modeling? In your mind could it be you are more likely to believe an amateur in Australia because it conforms with your worldview, more than agencies like the International Panel on Climate Change, the MET, NASA, etc? By the way that blog comes across as false, shrill, loaded and cherry picked, to say the least.
It is the case that one blog doth not a summer make.
It is necessary to read into the JoNova blog in order to see the content; it is well enough organised to find the information.

Elsewhere, the debate is lively and continuing:
https://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/...ata-tampering/

Quite frequently, the discussions appended to blogs continue to delve into the items under consideration in an informed manner.
Such discourse is very up to date in this bit of that website:
https://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/...ering-in-2014/

Regarding NASA:
https://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/...ience-at-nasa/

So, yes, there is dissent about the computer modelling; in both the potential for corruption of the raw data, and in the modelling itself - that latter feature has not been mentioned in here up to now, but it certainly has been elsewhere.

The very old computing adage, GIGO, comes to mind, but even that does not recognise that the electronic model in the computer brain has to have some level of credence.
Reference can be made to Steven Goddards' professional work in writing computer software for some input about this aspect.

Of course there is ongoing dissent about the alleged corrolation between CO2 and the potential for warming the planet; it will be a much poorer world when there is no dissent within science, as has been mentioned earlier.
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  #115  
Old 6 Jan 2016
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Walkabout View Post
I was able to help an individual obtain a position as a nurse just before that vocation (that word is worth noting) was given over to those with degree level qualifications only – I know that she was a great nurse in all respects (or I would not have provided a reference for her), At that time she was dedicated to moving out of “flipping burgers in a burger bar”.[/COLOR]
Now we have a lack of nurses and you won't hear many of them referring to the work as a vocation.
My niece has just achieved much the same form of transition in a different line of employment without a degree level qualification to her name. Her new employer saw some talent in her, arguably, and took a shine to her and gave her an opportunity to change over.


The general case for changing courses used to be that a student could do that at any time during the first semester of the first year I.e during the first 12-13 weeks.



I used to teach HNC/HND level students who really did understand commitment to a career and the word vocation – but those courses are declining if not gone completely - I would have to check on that.



Ask the children about “vocation” and “commitment” and see what is forthcoming.
A lot of this stuff (including much of the climate debate as far as I can see) seems to depend on which end of the telescope you're looking through. "Vocation" and "commitment" are two words that flag up warning signs whenever I see them written - much in the same way as "adventure" does in a motorcycle context.

"Vocation" when applied to nurses in particular implied a degree (!) of selfless devotion to helping people in time of illness, something done, because of low pay, to the detriment of their own quality of life. The implication being that if they were purely financially motivated they would have been able to find more profitable employment in a different industry and that their willingness to stick with nursing was due to an admirable set of personality factors - one's that the rest of us money grubbers should look upon with envy. From the nurse's perspective they just got little money for doing a tough and at times disagreeable job and there's only so far that public image will go in paying the bills.

I'm not surprised therefore that, for the most part, they welcomed the professionalisation of their world, even with the rites of passage exams and qualifications that came with it. One of the two non graduate family members I mentioned above entered nursing before the shutters came down and doesn't have a bad word (well, ok, a few) to say about the way things have gone.

"Vocation" seems to morph into "Profession" when money isn't in such short supply. Another four (shortly five) of the family group are doctors - 2 x GPs and 2 x consultants. I'm not sure I've ever heard "vocation" being used by any of them except perhaps in an ironic sense. "Commitment" yes, they're all committed to what they do but not to the extent that they'd continue to do it if the pay dropped to an unacceptable level. There is an expectation that the severity and length of the training they undergo together with the responsibility of the job deserves suitable remuneration.

Of course how you select people for university based education will always be a contentious issue and more so with the formalisation of the process resulting from a huge increase in student numbers. Admirable personality traits now count for nothing against A level grades and a number of people who would previously have been able to talk their way past a selection interview are now ineligible. The OU was meant to be a route they could follow but have you seen the price of their courses recently (it's why my history degree with them is on indefinite hold). In my daughter's case the review board was necessary as the course she wanted to change to required higher A level entry grades than her old one (or those she had) so concern was raised as to whether this was a back door route to bypassing the entry standards.

The term commitment (in an academic context anyway) seems to be changing its nature in recent years being more applied to the financial straights graduates find themselves in after finishing their courses rather than the mental effort required to do the work. The fact that student numbers have kept up in the face of such a penalty says a lot about how teens /20's view their prospects without a degree. Any misgivings that "industry" has about the quality of graduates or what they're taught can hardly be laid at the feet of students. They apply for what's available. I do seem to remember similar comments being made decades ago so it surprises me (or maybe it doesn't) that their requirements haven't been acted upon.

There is a lot more to be said about this but as this is supposed to be a bike site I ought to stick to comments about overhead underhangers and how the new AT2 is really a middle of the road CB750 for the bad back generation. Climate change and the demise of petrol driven vehicles will at least enable us to experience true adventure once more when we try to revisit old routes on electric bikes and find a 50 mile range doesn't go very far in the Sahara.
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  #116  
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Certainly we are singing from the same hymn sheet.

You will be interested to see how your relatives perform during the forthcoming strike of doctors in the NHS.
What did become of the professions' hypocratic oath? - a rhetorical question.

I used to be a course admissions tutor, for my sins, with absolute discretion about who entered the course; that wouldn't happen nowadays - a computer programme and an administrator will do that nowadays with no discretion or attention to anything other than the outputs of that programme.
I also spent an amount of time placing students with appropriate employers in industrial placements, including placing Brit students with German companies; the latter was a revelation, even 30 years ago.

When everyone has a degree then they are pretty much worth?

Meanwhile, here we are in the UK treating kids as adults while treating the adults as kids.


Back at the global warming bit of the pub:
https://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/...dummies-again/

ps
Yes, I am aware of the OU charges; they are why my relatives are packing it in after their current studies and it is but one reason why blogs have added value.
There are free courses online nowadays, usually offered by USA based universities - I haven't got my head around why they do this, other than as a loss leader toward Masters courses (everyone has a first degree, absolutely everyone).
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  #117  
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Originally Posted by Walkabout View Post

You will be interested to see how your relatives perform during the forthcoming strike of doctors in the NHS.


I used to be a course admissions tutor, for my sins, with absolute discretion about who entered the course; that wouldn't happen nowadays - a computer programme and an administrator will do that nowadays with no discretion or attention to anything other than the outputs of that programme.

When everyone has a degree then they are pretty much worth?

Meanwhile, here we are in the UK treating kids as adults while treating the adults as kids.


There are free courses online nowadays, usually offered by USA based universities - I haven't got my head around why they do this, other than as a loss leader toward Masters courses (everyone has a first degree, absolutely everyone).
None of my relatives / wife are "junior" doctors so they won't be striking but they will be sympathising having seen what's being asked of them by the government. It is somewhat eyebrow raising (for me anyway) that things should have come to that with one of the traditional professions as I still have strong memories of the Red Robbo style of union muscle flexing strikes in the 1970's based around the threat of economic meltdown.

I worked in a research lab at that time and we saw ourselves as competent professional adults capable of working out for ourselves what our efforts were worth. The union reps that periodically came along to promote their "unity is strength" message and convince us to join were generally given a cool reception. The problem for the medical profession is that mostly they've only had one source of employment in the UK since the 1940's - the NHS. Little by little over the decades whatever independence they've had has been whittled away and now it's only through the court of public opinion that they have any bargaining ability. And that is a very two edged sword. It's been interesting to watch how the "debate" has played out in the media so far.

Re free courses, if you're talking about MOOCs, yes there's loads of them, and quite a few UK based ones via Open Learn (with somewhat galling irony a subsidiary of the OU). I've been doing about half a dozen a year for the last few years and the first of this year's, complete with around 1500 students, starts next week. Mostly they're self help and pitched at about the level of adult evening classes (most of which have now shut down in my area) but they lead nowhere so in some respects there's little point - other than giving doctoral students some experience as mediators.

You do three or four weeks and that's it. It's an evening activity for me when there's nothing on tv and it's too cold to work on any of my wrecks in the garage, but in my more cynical moments they seem more like bread and circuses for the semi literate, the thinking man's Facebook. In the absence of a UK HUBB meeting in 2016 maybe Grant could arrange one on overlanding. It'd need a suitably academic title - "19thC Romantic Conceits in Adventure Travel" should get them rolling in. We've already got a basis for the syllabus over in the discussion about what is adventure riding.
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  #118  
Old 6 Jan 2016
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Young Bikers

This thread has been both interesting and informative. Solutions are what is needed and backofbeyond is on that track.

I am especially impressed by the posts of backofbeyond whom I have met personally. He and his group of three (bikers all) including an organic farmer who hosts students of organic farming at his farm, visited rosa del desierto and me at our ranch in Arizona. All were very bright, sincere and interesting people.

I endorse backofbeyond for I have met him and experienced his desire to make the world a better place - to fight the good fight. Humanity needs more backofbeyonds willing to risk everything for the good of others. He is the real deal.

My contribution to this thread is my photo of young bikers accompanied by rosa del desierto somewhere in South America. Young bikers because these represent the motivation and inspiration that is backofbeyond.
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  #119  
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Fuggin'ell

The free-thinking intellect and eloquence of so many members on this forum never ceases to amaze me.

I'm gob-smacked (really, I am) .. and [erm] I guess, why shouldn't this be the case, bearing in mind how we all think-through and manage to get ourselves [independently] around this puzzlingly crazy, f**ked-up, and yet at the same time .. MOST BEAUTIFUL WORLD!

thanks fellas

Keith
.. down in deepest darkest Cornwall (@ 7.00pm and slightly p!ssed-up, already)
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  #120  
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Originally Posted by backofbeyond View Post
I worked in a research lab at that time and we saw ourselves as competent professional adults capable of working out for ourselves what our efforts were worth. The union reps that periodically came along to promote their "unity is strength" message and convince us to join were generally given a cool reception. The problem for the medical profession is that mostly they've only had one source of employment in the UK since the 1940's - the NHS. Little by little over the decades whatever independence they've had has been whittled away and now it's only through the court of public opinion that they have any bargaining ability. And that is a very two edged sword. It's been interesting to watch how the "debate" has played out in the media so far.
Checkmate: everything that you write resonates.

In particular, what you describe above is very much the same experience in academic work (and the anthropologist has a view about the whittling); it has been for a long time with the difference that academics have a poor public image and naff all public sympathy.

The doctors do have a very clear option to work overseas. Of course many do so, probably far more than there are Brit academics who go away to work, although that option has also figured in the careers of some.
Govns are fond of embracing globilisation, but only when it suits them.

I did use the verb "perform", not knowing how close to the coal face they are; indeed it will be of interest to see how such a cohesive, vocal, well organised and supported group fares.

The "Pimlico Plumber" was interviewed recently - the boss of that company that is.
For anyone with a qualification in the trade he offers about 40K per annum; his top earners are on about 85K per annum and a lot of them still come in from Poland. Basically he was one more UK employer with an issue about the outputs of the British system of education.
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"This is the answer to all my questions." Haydn, Australia

"Keep going the excellent work you are doing for Horizons Unlimited - I love it!" Thomas, Germany

Lots more comments here!



Five books by Graham Field!

Diaries of a compulsive traveller
by Graham Field
Book, eBook, Audiobook

"A compelling, honest, inspiring and entertaining writing style with a built-in feel-good factor" Get them NOW from the authors' website and Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Amazon.co.uk.



Back Road Map Books and Backroad GPS Maps for all of Canada - a must have!

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 R80G/S.

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 all over the world with the help of volunteers; 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, or ask questions on the HUBB. 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.




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