Planning an Adventure Motorcycling Trip

Planning an Adventure Motorcycling Trip

Planning for an Adventure Motorcycling Trip.

Here is a video which introduces the idea of planning for an adventure motorcycling trip. Not one of our most exciting videos but informative none the less and it covers essential feedback from our trip along with top tips ahead of your trip should you go away in future. The image we have selected for this post is a bridge crossing in Patagonia with friends Kevin, Markus and Glenn; a fantastic part of the trip and really defining the term adventure motorcycling.

Why and when are you going on your adventure motorcycling trip?

Is it a sabbatical trip, are you doing it for charity or are you looking to escape your current world? When are you going to make the trip, have you thought about the variety of seasons you may be passing through, how many miles in total will it be and what sort of money will you be taking?

Where will you go off on your adventure motorcycling tour?

Have you got time to go through Asia, what are the visa requirements. Did you know that it was relatively easy for a Brit to pass through North and South America?

Adventure Motorcycling Top Tips.

Here we tell you why the SPOT, the tent, different wallets, learning to pick your bike up and a Sat Nav are gadgets and pieces of kit that we highly recommend.

Here is our planning guide to adventure motorcycling.

Video Diaries Part 3 – Arriving in California

Video Diaries Part 3

Route 99

Route 99

Last weekend Ivanka and I went on arguably one of the best rides in the world for motorcycling

The route from Vancouver to Whistler is amazing and it is great to do it in summer and during the day as it is a road that I have only passed before during the winter months.

Consisting of 130km of winding tarmac, climbs, views, islands, glaciers, waterfalls, eagles, sunshine – all leading to one of the best outdoor playgrounds out there. Have a look at our Flickr account or gallery page for the latest images.

I salute you route 99 and the ‘Furry Creek.’

Next stop Vancouver Island and we have kayaking with Orcas on the radar..

A day in the life and saying YES

A day in the life and saying YES

We have just arrived in Vancouver and had a day yesterday where Ivanka and I did absolutely nothing.

This travelling business is amazing, we have seen great things and met wonderful people – but at the same time it is also a bit tiring.

A typical day is getting out of bed/ the tent around 7.30am. It may be raining (it usually is) and then we always prepare a coffee on our stove, followed by a bowl of porridge. After this we tend to pack up the bike and we get on the road for about 09.30am. Each start to the day is different, we always have the same things to pack away but it is often a big jigsaw to fit everything on the bike.  Plus, we may or may not have to take our food from up a tree – so it is out of reach from the lovely wildlife characters around us. We tend to have our washing line up most days too – depending on whether there is anywhere to swim – or whether we’ve washed our clothes in a stream/ campsite showers.

So each day on the road is totally different. We have a type of route in our head most of the time but we speak to other bikers/ friends we meet and then we go from there. We went to Haida Gwaii because we met Janet in Fairbanks. Then the Cassiar Stewart Highway was recommended by a bloke in Dawson City, then more recently we visited the Columbian Icefield in Jasper because Melissa said it was sometheing we couldn’t possibly miss. So we do like to say yes to most things – this way you have more to experience.

Three days ago we traveled 250 miles from Nelson to a place called Osooyos. Nelson is a rich, wet mountainous area with incredible volcanic rock features. It is home to some of the freshest powder for skiing on the one hand, then a picturesque mountainscape in the summer.  The way of life in Nelson was also something very remarkable. In the community where we were hanging out there were infact no locks on peoples doors because their homes were so remote and crime didn’t exist. Nelson was personified by hippyness.

We set off from Nelson in quite a downpour and headed for the Manning Pass and the rain just did not stop for 2-3 hours.  The rain was so hard on occasion that we were so in need of shelter but there was just nothing for us to find. So we kept on going and going in an effort to get to the neighbouring mountain range and hopefully seek some kinder weather. We both got a little wet, but considering the conditions – we got off lightly.

So eventually it did stop raining and eventually we found a great stop for coffee and a sandwich – normally we might have a lunch stop at the side of the road (tuna & tortilla, coffee). We had managed about 100 miles so far on this particular day so we had a good 150 miles in the afternoon, so we could make great headway in arriving in Vancouver the following day.  So while indoors and out of the bad weather outside we made sure our clothes did dry off, we warmed up and then we were ready to go once again.

The afternoon was equally as spectacular as the morning but in the afternoon we headed towards a totally unique type of landscape and something very special for Canada. The landscape became drier and drier so eventually we arrived in the city of Osooyos and it greeted us with the best sunshine of our trip so far! This place was almost desert like as we entered into this colossal valley with a series of mountain road switchbacks. I think Ivanka would have had better views than me on the way down the mountain side as I concentrated on every inch of tarmac on these sweeping mountain bends.. Great riding!!!

As it was approaching 5pm it was decided that this was where we were going to stay for the eve. We camped in a lakeside campsite among a busy tourist centre, we set up camp, had a run and a swim, then it was curry and Quinoa for supper – one of our favourite dishes on our camping stove. That night we made phone calls to Natalie in Vancouver – Ivanka and Natalie used to work together a few years ago in London. Now Natalie has moved to Vancouver.

It was great to be sleeping in the tent once again as this is what we are now used to. The other day I commented to Ivanka that it looked like a bit of a pit as we sleep among our helmets, motorcycle clothes and other stuff. But in fact, the tent is treating us very well and on most occasions I prefer the firmness of the campsite floor rather than a soft bed.

It gets dark about 10 and that is when we head indoors.

Tonight there was no need to protect ourselves from the wildlife as we were in busy site with no wildlife nearby.. The only predator tonight was a kid wondering round the campsite who tried to walk off with our camping lamp – naughty!

It’s now time for lights out.


The image on this post is courtesy of our friend Janet. It is a fox on her bird table in Fairbanks, Alaska which is quite unusual – normally it is the squirrels that’s on there. I don’t think the fox will out fox Janet.

Glacial Waterfall soak

Glacial Waterfall soak

Nick sometimes has some very daft ideas about what fun is.

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.

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:

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