Transporting Motorbike to Anchorage in Alaska

Transporting Motorbike to Anchorage in Alaska

Sending the Motorbike to Alaska by Air Freight.

At last the moment has come!

23rd May 2011 –  The first leg of the journey begins as we take the BMW GS Adventure to James Cargo in Slough.

This weekend has all been about triple checking all the gear:

  • Camping gear, spares, clothing, gadgets, bike check, loading and unloading the bike, intercom testing…
  • Plus – Is  there still space in the panniers so we can insert our day to day clothing onto the bike as we will be taking this with us on the flight?

Leaving the motorbike with James Cargo Air Freight. Heathrow to Anchorage

Today’s experience has been quite a straight forward one really.

James Cargo specialise in motorcycle transportation and we met Giles, Steve and Roddy on our arrival at their depot in Slough. Giles was the details man and sorted out all the admin stuff and payment. Steve was responsible for warehousing and packaging – then Roddy was just super informative and had lots of handy travel tips.

All in all a good couple of days. Here is a short video we filmed yesterday which shows you round the bike.

The anticipation is just too much!

The anticipation is just too much!

1 week today the motorbike flies out on its own to Alaska.

The last couple of weeks have been rather busy to say the least:

  • Moved out of our home and moved in with Pete, Jules and Tom – Thank you so much for looking after us – what would we do without you!
  • Had a leaving do in Brighton on Saturday night – bit messy but have seen worse. Still, the hangover lingered on all day yesterday. Great news about Claire and MJ – baby on the way!
  • Performed in a dance competition for a ‘Spring Ball‘ charity fund raiser – raised £29,000 by dancing the Argentine Tango for the Argus Appeal. Well done to everyone involved and a big thank you to my dance partner Carola at Brighton Dancing.
  • Ivanka spent two weeks with work in Budapest. Just arrived back on Friday.
  • Spent Monday and Tuesday on a motorcycle mechanics course – Thanks to Pete at Bike Smart – Haywards Heath I can now perform a major service and fix a puncture on my bike. Twas a very funny experience drilling a hole into my tubeless tire to give it a puncture.
  • Hosted the last Brighton Business Curry club at the Lansdowne Place Hotel. A great send off and a great turn out. I look forward to seeing you all when I get back and Lisa will do a superb job while I’m away!
  • Intercoms are now working and tested.
  • Multi fuel burner is now dismantled and Ivanka is great at reassembling. Love the fact that my wife is more technical than me!

This week will be entirely different.

  • Finally preparations for our adventure motorcycling trip – travel and bike insurance.
  • Re packing the panniers – over and over – making sure we have the right items to take with us.
  • Final bike tune at BMW motorcycles Brighton. Tick over and balance is slightly out at the moment and it needs to be perfect before I go away!
  • 10 more working days left!!

Ivanka and I will be flying to Alaska 2 week on Wednesday.

Camping with Chefs – A sign of things to come?

Camping with Chefs

Eating like Kings and Queens – Motorcycle Indulgence.

Last week we were very very lucky because Ivanka and I went camping with friends and we were treated to one of the best BBQ’s possibly ever…! It was a busy bank holiday weekend in East Sussex, close to Bodian near to Camber Sands. It was a sun kissed weekend and just what we needed… A break from work and a chance to try out all of our kit!

Equipped with our new Trangia stove, a fully loaded GS Adventure and everything we would be taking on the Alaska trip, we sat as spectators as our ‘chef friends’ entertained us with some culinary delights as we picked up camp fire cooking ‘top tips’ from one of the leading restaurants on the South Coast.

A big thank you to Rob and Vic Shenton from Due South and Chris Williams from Brighton City College and Brighton’s Pop Up Restaurant. Here is what was on the menu – very different to the usual sausages!

Day 1

Black Sea Breem, Lobster cocktail, garlic bread

Day 2

Shoulder of lamb and baked Camembert.

Now we feel totally prepared for camping on an open fire, improvising with the ingredients we have available and making more of all the different types of ingredients we will come across along the way.

This weekend was also a landmark one for Nick as he picked his motorbike up off the ground for the first time.

In the past there was always the can I/ can’t i lift my bike up off the ground as it is 250kg without luggage? Anyway, having listened to a few opinions and watched a few You Tube videos I managed to lift it up unassisted – which means that should I need to on the big trip then I am fully prepared.

Much easier than I thought – Phew!

Watch this space as we look to talk about all the food we will be eating along the way and posting them on this Brighton website – RestaurantsBrighton.co.uk

Taking some time out by the sea

Taking some time out by the sea

On 19th March Ivanka and I will be getting married and I cannot wait.

Here are some really great photos from a day we spent together planning our special day. It was a beautiful sunny day that we took off together where we put together those final touches to the wedding day and we had a lot of fun doing it…

First it was the registry office to fill in all the paper work and answer a few questions. Next, we met Trevor Love from the Brighton registry office and we had a look at the venue from which we will make our vows to eachother.

Next we visited the gorgeous Due South on Brighton seafront where we will be having our wedding breakfast. Here we spoke with Michael Bremner the head chef and we put together a menu for our wedding lunch with all the trimmings. A big thank you to Rob and Adam from the venue for looking after us and for making this day a very special one! Rib Eye Steak, Champagne, and chocolate deserts are all on the menu!

The photos you see are courtesy of Paul Fletcher from Paul Fletcher Photography. Paul is a great Brighton event and wedding photographer and he has supported me with a number of different work related photo shoots to date. The photos look great and will make our site look fantastic! Thanks again Paul.

After the photo shoot we were off to Bar 106 where we met Katja from their events team as we planned our party night at the Hilton Brighton Metropole. We have a Brighton Breeze cocktail for our guests on arrival followed by a bit of partying, fish and chips to soak up a bit of alcohol, then dancing late into the night.

As I sit here and write this it is two weeks today until the wedding.. then about 2 months 25 days until we depart for the Top to the Bottom of the World.

Life is really good. :)

A Blessing in Disguise

A Blessing in Disguise

GS Adventure – BMW Clutch Repair – Better it goes here than deepest Patagonia!

Well, what a week.

From a simple trip to the cinema with Ivanka one evening,  the bike has deteriorated into a bit of a mess over just one small ride out.

The thing was the clutch had been a little sticky for a while, but I just sort of ignored it and hoped it might go away. Saying that though, when I did take it into the garage they asked me what was wrong and I said that though I did think it was the clutch, it seems as though the throttle cable is sticking too.  Anyway I took the bike to the trusted KC Motorcycles in Hove to see Kevin, and they soon diagnosed the problems. I was right, it was a bit of both!

On the first visit to the garage they sorted out the slightly frayed throttle cable. Then they rang me to say it had been sorted, however they asked me to sit down when they told me that the whole clutch needed replacing – ‘You are F**king Joking I said!’.

So the bike spent almost a whole week in surgery. They had to take the bike in two, suspend the back end in the air while they did the necessary, they also inspected the drive shaft bearings – so all in all, it was a good inspection, a good service, and I feel a lot better about the bike and its relaibility for the 24,000 miles ahead.

Here are a few images from the bikes trip to the garage. You often think to yourself that by the time you’ve spent a grand or so on a repair like this, you could have traded it in for a couple more grand and possibly bought another GS model but a lot newer. Saying that, this bike is really a great bike and I would find it difficult to replace it for anything else.

Anyway, if any one does ever need a motorcycle garage in Brighton then you must go and find Kevin from KC Motorcycles.

Thank goodness I didn’t have a breakdown like this on the trip. It is a lot more convenient to have breakdowns like this before I go.

Starting at Ace Cafe London

Starting at Ace Cafe London

From the Top to the Bottom of the World – Starting at Ace Cafe London

On Sunday May 8th, Nick and Ivanka will be sharing their preparations and excitement for the ‘Big Trip’ by being part of the BMW Day hosted annually at the Ace Cafe London. On the day we will bring along the GS 1150 Adventure that we are taking, it will be fully loaded in terms of accessories and gadgets and, we will be available to tell you how we have personally prepared for this ‘unsupported trip’ – oh and by the way, it will be the start of our honeymoon. The following week, the bike is off to a freight company, so this will be our last planned ‘ride out’ before we hit Alaskan soil. We simply cannot wait!

Come along and meet us on Sunday 8th May and find out why this trip is so special and of how it has taken us almost a year to prepare and get things organised. From motorcycle maintenance courses to kitting the bike, then reading about Canadian bears to fuel burners; also find out about our fund raising efforts as we look to raise £20,000 for our chosen charity Oxfam. For this day at the cafe, we will be as equipped as we will ever be and we look forward to meeting fellow adventure rider enthusiasts to share our experiences and get ready for a honeymoon and a ride with a difference.

We look forward to returning to Ace Cafe London in 2012 with 24,000 miles under our belt and smiles from ear to ear.  Please feel free to donate to our Just Giving page on this link:
http://www.justgiving.com/bootsboatsandbikes

Thank you for your support and perhaps we will see you on the 8th May.

Nick & Ivanka

‘Adventure Motorcycling’ – What to take.

‘Adventure Motorcycling’ – What to take.

This is an ‘Adventure Touring’ Motorcycle Wish List featuring all the essentials and desirables that we need for the ‘Big Trip’.

This basically means that, with four months to go we need to start ticking things off the list and decide which kit it is worth taking and which isn’t. On an adventure motorcycling trip like this, space is everything and we have been told so many times that ‘less is more’. Here are the items which still need reviewing. The list incorporates everything from technology to cooking equipment and first aid kits and guide books. I researched most of the items through the Horizons Unlimited website.

  • Larger touring paniers – either Touratech of Metal Mule hard luggage. Possible other soft luggage options.
  • Carnets, IDP (International Diving Permit), Freight Fowarding assistance – Perhaps James Cargo.
  • Health Insurance and Motorcycle Insurance.
  • Medical kit.
  • Route planning guide books – Central, South, North America. Plus Spanish phrase book.
  • Camping Equipment. Already have great Taranaja kit. Need better fuel burner which burns petrol.
  • Need to review what type of food we will use and carry.
  • UHF radio?
  • Vaccinations
  • Spares so I can carry out my own servicing: oil/ fuel and air filters. Spare cables. Wire and duct tape.
  • Extras like bulbs, fuses, puncture repair, jubilee clips, bungees
  • A full motorcycle service
  • A wider foot for my side stand
  • More durable riding attire: boots, jacket, all season gloves
  • Waterproof bags

Top to the Bottom of the World on a Motorbike

Top to the Bottom of the World on a Motorbike

‘A dream that millions dream of and  never make. The story of  a couple in their mid 30’s who leave it all behind and set off from a journey from the top to the bottom of the world.  ‘

It doesn’t get any bigger or better than this. These are a list of the countries which we will probably encounter on our route.

9 months, riding 24,000 miles from the top of the world to the bottom. It is the ultimate adventure through diverse terrain, cultures and peoples, bringing you the best balance of spectacular and challenging riding, with time to explore the countries that you are traveling through. Quite literally, it will change our lives.

This is our proposed itinerary:

ALASKA

Anchorage. Sweat Lodge Ceremony. Fairbanks. Dalton Highway to the Arctic Circle. Coldfoot Camp, Prudhoe Bay and the chance to swim in the Arctic Ocean. Return through Delta Junction, furthest point north on the Alaskan Highway.

CANADA

Alaskan Highway to Watson Lake. Stewart Cassiar Highway to Bear Glacier, Stewart and Hyder (the most southern point of Alaska). Watch the bears at Fish Creek. Prince George, Jasper National Park, Lake Louise, Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump. Enter the USA through the Glacier National Park and “Going to the Sun” Road.

USA

Flathead Lake. Yellowstone National Park. Cody, home of Buffalo Bill. Arches National Park, Canyonlands, Monument Valley, Lake Powell and the Grand Canyon (North Rim). Tucson.

MEXICO

Naco border crossing Nuevo Casa Grandes. Creel. Colonial heartland to Zacatecas, the centre of silver mining production and San Miguel de Allende. Mountain riding to Caribbean coast. Ruins of Palenque and the village of San Cristobal.

CENTRAL AMERICA

Guatemala – Lake Atitlan, Chichicastenango market, Antigua. Border town of Esquipalas. Honduras – Copan ruins. Nicaragua – Granada, San Juan del Sur. Costa Rica – Arenal volcano and hot springs. Northern Caribbean Coast. Panama – Bridge of the Americas and the Panama Canal. Visit to SOS Children’s Villages. Air freight of bikes.

COLOMBIA & ECUADOR

Ride the great Colombian roads to Medellin. See the odd Botero Sculptures. On to Ecuador and cross the Equator, the local Indian market town of Otavalo and experience your first riding in the Andes.

PERU

Chiclayo, Lord of Sipan Museum, Huanchaco, adobe ruins of Chan Chan, Paracas, Nasca Lines, Cusco (days with many optional excursions – Machu Picchu, Pisac market, Sacsayhuaman), Lake Titicaca, Arequipa & Colca Canyon to watch condors.

CHILE

Arica, the Atacama Desert, The Hand, Tropic of Capricorn, Pacific Coast villages, Pisco Elqui, Santiago, Chilean Lake District, Andes crossing to Bariloche and Esquel (Argentina). Cross back to Chile to ride the Carretera Austral. Puyuhuapi Thermas.

ARGENTINA

Ruta 40, the infamous gravel road through Patagonia. El Calafate & Perito Moreno Glacier. Cross back to Chile to Torres del Paine National Park, Puerto Natales and Punta Arenas. Argentinian Tierra del Fuego, Rio Grande, Ushuaia (the most southern city in the world), Tierra del Fuego National Park – the end of the road.

ARGENTINA

The final part of the expedition will involve riding back north along the South Atlantic coast to Buenos Aires for air freight back to the UK.

Understanding the mechanics of a motorbike.

Understanding the mechanics of a motorbike.

My knowledge of bikes is now average.

The skills I have acquired and learnt through life have lead me heavily through hospitality, the service industries and general business. I am great with people, I am a great talker and can sell ice to the Eskimos. One of the things I wish I had however is the knowledge my dad has so I would be able to understand the workings of the bike from start to finish. Understanding what a cylinder head and a combustion chamber is – something I wish I could understand.

However, as I sit here right now, I can proudly say that about 3 weeks ago I went on a motorcycle weekend course and now feel better equipped to tackle this trip. Thanks to Peter from Bike Smart in Haywards Heath I can now perform a basic service on my bike and I used the opportunity to ask other questions about my trip and what I need to plan for.

The basics we learnt were:

  • how to change brake disc pads
  • oil filters
  • electrics
  • bolts and levers
  • tyres

And, we ate a lovely banoffee pie prepared by one of the other guys attending.

Thank you Peter, I look forward to returning to do the full service on my bike prior to my departure where I will work under your supervision and get my bike ready for the 22,000 mile journey.

Why from the Top to the Bottom of the World?

Why from the Top to the Bottom of the World?

So one evening in Brighton I was out with friends and I stumbled upon a map of the world in the Globe Pub in Brighton. The map was twice the size of me and for some reason I remained transfixed with pint in one hand as I supped away. My mate Dan came over and asked me what I was doing and I told him that I was just looking…then it was at this point that I decided that a motorcycle trip could be a possibility. Several drinks later I arrived home and suggested the idea to Ivanka. All I can remember was that she said yes. No pleading no encouragement required. It was just a simple yes.

So the following day Ivanka reiterated our conversation from the night before as things were a little bit blury for me. This is where the idea begins. It did help that neither Ivanka nor myself had traveled to South America and it was a continent that we had yearned to visit.

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