An adventure is what you make it

Could have, should have, would have, if, buts and maybes. I could have written that book, taken that trip...if only. I’m sure I’m not the only 40-something male who’s looked back on his life and thought: Christ, I’ve blinked and it’s another five years down the line. I’d also wager I’m not the only Bike reader who’s perused a Dan Walsh article and thought: that jammy fecker. You can spend your life beating yourself up about lost opportunities, but to stay sane you need to accept your part in the play. Life is a stage they say. A bike trip allows me to tread the boards, be a player, a hero. Be part of the story, not looking in from the outside.

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Kylie’s pants and the American Dream

Three things become more popular as I ride south: barbeque dinners, heat-induced delirium and God. Let's start with the most important of the three. Barbeque food outlets start appearing as the Busa and I leave Georgia and enter Mississippi. We’re heading west for 1500 miles to Albuquerque where we have an appointment with some muscle cars at a drag strip. And until now, food has been something of an issue. Because I’m travelling on major roads and have a schedule to keep, fast food outlets are my prime source of dinners.

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Tripping the lights. Fantastic

For those of you who didn’t read part one of my story (Bike, November 2016) I am an ex-NHS mental health manager who was lucky enough to retire at 55 after 32 years – I prefer to scrape by paying off my mortgage and spend my time enjoying the rest of my life. Enjoyment for me is combining my hobbies of photography, motorbikes and British lighthouses. In the first article I visited lighthouses from Northumberland to Little Hampton on the South Coast. This time it is lighthouses from Aberdeen to Northumberland... 

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Going the extra miles

Ever wondered who buys the exotica that occasionally grace the pages of this very magazine? According to our research, the sad truth is that a huge number of Desmosedicis, H2s and MV Agusta F4s are squirreled away in immaculate garages, their tyres going slightly soft as they sit under dust covers awaiting the annual trip to get the service book stamped. At best they’re pieces of sculpture to be admired by mates from the merchant bank, at worst mere investments. But there are exceptions.

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And all this just to see a tree...

After twenty-four hours drinking Three Horses Beer, getting my camera stolen, sitting over twelve hours on a minibus, exploding in some of the scariest toilets on the planet – and explaining to the Madagascan hire shop that I intended to ride their Honda round the island – they withdrew their offer and told me to bugger off. Their excuse? It was the rainy season and most of the roads were impassable.

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Around the world without quitting your job

Iceland is wild. It’s the first place we’ve ridden abroad where we’ve had to stop and stare at the scenery. The island is ringed by Route 1’s tarmac, but turn inland at Grafarkirkja and you’re met by river crossings and tracks galore. The liquid-cooled BMW R1200GS copes well with deep river crossings – the air intakes are positioned high so that the engine can breathe when water is running well over the tops of the cylinder heads.

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Do, do, do the funky Monkey Run…

It all began with an email, subject line: Your next adventure? It came from a group called the Adventurists (theadventurists.com), an adventure travel company with a big difference. 12 weeks later I was boarding a flight to Peru. 30 hours after that I walked into Ayacucho’s Viavia hotel and sat down to a welcome breakfast.

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'R' is for adventure

What’s it like to ride these West Coast desert trails? Navigating Southern California’s tracks and trails is easier than you think and it is certainly less complex than the United Kingdom. Where you can and can’t ride is regulated and mapped. They are follow- your-nose sort of trails and because they are relatively well used they are also usually clearly defined and signed when riding isn’t allowed. 

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Nevermind the Canucks

In case no one told you Canada is a big place, a really big place. In fact the province of British Columbia (BC) is four times the size of Great Britain. Our six day route takes us from the plains of Alberta, through the Rockies, and on to south central British Columbia. From there it’s north into central BC and the Coast Mountains – northern Washington is on the cards for the return trip, but reality dictates a different route. 

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Next stop New York...

Bloody weather. It's meant to be May, time for spring rides under blue skies. Instead i'm standing on Hartlepool sea front, drinking a McDonald's coffee and shivering in an icy blast that’s apparently blowing in from the Arctic. Still, at least it’s not snowing. Yet. Last week, before the unseasonal return of winter, this seemed like a good idea. A quick mini adventure on Suzuki’s muscle bound missile.

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Zero hero

I wanted to prove that riding electric motorcycles over long distances is possible now and to be the first electric motorcycle rider to travel the Pan American route. So I headed out from Philadelphia and rode through 14 countries to Cape Froward, Chile – the very tip of South America. This 17,325-mile journey is the longest ride on an electric motorcycle in history and has more than doubled the record.

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'This land is your land'. lucky you

It's 24 hours until the drag race in Albuquerque, New Mexico and the Busa and I are 400 miles away but I’m not bothered. We’ll knock that off this afternoon. Over the last two weeks I’ve learned that racking up miles in America is so, so much easier than doing the same distance in the UK. The roads are deserted unless you hit a city, so whether you’re on an interstate or a twisty back road you don’t need that fraught level of concentration required to make progress in Britain. Instead of being mentally exhausted after a couple of hours in the saddle, I feel weirdly fresh. It’s odd.

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Lost Tengai. In Powys

On the face of it, it's not so very different to Cameroon here. Rolling hills, exotic sounding and lounge-twisting place names, road signs in a language I don't really understand and ribbons of misting, twisting tarmac stretching into the gloom. Over-zealous Old Bill will book you for the slightest infraction, while genial local folk stop by to chew the fat. It’s raining, natch. Then again, it couldn’t be more different here.

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Iran? What do you - Wanna go there for?

Iran: What do you want to go there for? This was the standard response upon announcing my plan to ride around the Islamic Republic. Once a highlight of the classic overland route to Asia, Iran had become a no-go zone for travellers in recent years, following the 2011 attack on the British embassy in Tehran. The relationship between the two nations had sunk to an all-time low, diplomatic relations had been suspended and the UK Foreign Office had issued hysterical travel warnings, colouring the whole of Iran in ‘red for danger’. 

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Frontier spirit

Dirt Penetrates Every inch of our clothes. Jason's BMW F800GS is battered from a big fall that mashes the rim and rips the front tyre and tube to shreds. My F650GS is running strong. We nurse the 800 to the nearest civilisation fully expecting the trip to continue by pick-up. But no. Dean at the nearest motel produces a 21-inch front tyre. New tube, a bit of rough truing and we’re back in business.

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We asked for it

Daniel Rintz 38, is a German film-maker who became well-known for his movie Somewhere Else Tomorrow that chronicled his ride around the world. Now he is back on the road, making his way up through Africa with his girlfriend, Josie, riding a BMW R1200GS and a BMW R80GS. 

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It’s a zoo out there…

After 10 years of adventure riding through Asia I thought I’d seen everything that could be thrown in my direction: buses overtaking around blind corners; unmarked speed-bumps; ten-year-olds riding scooters while yelling into phones. And once, in Papua New Guinea, I had a spear thrown at me. But none of these experiences prepared me for a wild and angry bull elephant staring me down during a recent ride through Sri Lanka.

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Cote D'Azur

It’s nice in Nice and Monte Carlo is a must. But beyond the famous name tourist traps there are great riding roads galore. La Côte d’Azur: it’s not all about casinos, yachts and billionaires

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21 and ready to go...

21-year-old Ben King wants to become the youngest person to ride a motorcycle around the world. He’s only just passed his test. He’s not blessed with a depth of mechanical knowledge and he’s planning to wild camp, but hasn’t done much of that either. Ready to go then... 

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Hayabusa Bike to America

In 2014 we did Bike to Japan. In 2015 we did Bike to Africa. Now, for 2016, our big trip takes us to the USA. Coast-to-coast by Suzuki Hayabusa via the deep South, Texas and lots more... 

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