It’s been over a week since I had packed up Mr T. and rode over the Derbyshire Peak District towards Lumb Farm near Ripley to attend the 12thAnnual Horizons Unlimited Travellers Meeting 2012.
An Inspirational Weekend
To be honest I thought I had registered straight after the 2011 event last year when I’d paid for the weekend but only managed a brief 4 hour visit. Having my Dad with me at the time really made last year’s event very special to us both and I swore there and then that next time I would attend for the full 4 days.
So, after being prompted by the Horizons Unlimited Motorcycle Travellers' e-zine email, I had a look back through my PayPal account and could not find any record of payment sent. “Very Strange” I thought to myself.
As I read the e-zine email about who would be speaking at this year’s meeting I immediately had a chat with Jeannie who to my surprise already had the dates in the family diary and had organised cover for my Friday “get up” that was back in June. I dropped Sam a brief hello email as I’d not spoken to him for some time and had noticed in the e-zine that Sam and Ian would be running the event due to Grant’s ill health. Sam replied prompt as ever but I received his reply as I was heading to Spain on our family holiday. I replied to Sam only to find the reply in my iPhone “send box” along with 4 other replies I thought I’d sent whilst in Spain, just great! As soon as I got home I dropped Sam a quick reply saying I’d be delighted to be a “Volunteer Helper”. So before I knew it I was on “recycling duties” which turned out to be the best decision I’ve made in a long time.
Now before I get too engrossed in this write up can I just pass on a massive thank you to Grant & Susan, without who’s travels, their web site Horizons Unlimited, the HUBB their your imagination and foresight this event would not be as amazing as it is today day, so thank you both so very much. Seeing the two of you on the live hook up on Saturday night just made the weekend just “magical”. Here’s wishing you both all the very best for the future. I know there are so many people involved in the organising and running of this event with a special mention going to Sam Manicom & Ian Harper for running this year’s event. Not forgetting the list of helpers, I thank you all right now. Now if your bored already I don’t care, I’ve got my message over.
“Stop Raymond your running away with yourself again”………….“sorry!”
Just where do I start? I really am struggling to condense such an amazing event into something simple and easy to read. The biggest worry I have is not wanting to come over all “Star Struck” but it’s going to be very difficult not to.
When you have Ted Simon the God Father of Motorcycle Overlanding signing his new book “Rolling through the Isles” behind you whilst chatting with Sam Manicom about the shower block. Austin Vince walk’s past and says “Hi”, Ed March is stripping and rebuilding his C90’s top end live for charity with Matthew Cashmore commentating and selling Ed’s stock pile of umbrellas, all for charity mind, and keeping us all in stiches. Matthew is a born entertainer and hilarious with it.
To my left is Paddy Tyson of The Hunt for Puerto Del Faglioli fame manning his Overland Magazine stall, at the side of him stands Jupiter's Traveller - Nathan Millward signing his book “Sydney to London on a 105cc postie bike named Dorothy”.
Behind me at the side of Ted are Birgit keeping a close eye on proceedings and looking after Sam’s book stall. On her left is Graham Field, with his first book 'In Search of Greener Grass' and by his side stands Sjaak Lucassen Famous for riding 250,000km through 75 countries on an R1, and it’s only mid-day Saturday.
My adventure started at 11.00 on Thursday, with a leisurely ride across the Woodhead Pass towards Sheffield then dropping down the M1 towards Alftreton and on to Ripley. Arriving at 12.45 to warm and friendly welcome from the volunteers on the gate. Everybody was so helpful telling me where everything was, toilets, showers and the like. As I rode past the first of the vendors stalls I spotted Ray who I’d met last year and kept in touch with via the Super Tenere Forum. Ray was Team Leader of the “Recycling Crew” and I’d need to report to him once I was organised.
I wanted to be in the thick of it so rode up into the main field and set up amongst the early arrivals on the right. Camping chair off the bike, jacket on the back and helmet on the seat I erected the tent which went up a dream. Just as well really as I’d acquired a small audience of admiring spectators. Cot bed set up and installed in the tent I just had to show off a little and duly rode Mr T into the vestibule to unpacked in comfort. Once set up I set off to find Ray who’d just finished telling a couple of the other crew members where everything was. That done Ray took me around again. It was great to meet Ray again and we took full advantage of the weather as just for a change the sun was shining plus the fact that there were so few people on site that the areas were still very clean. There was nothing for it we just had to sample the local brew which we can both tell you, was superb, much like the second pint too. It’s always nice to sit and have a chat with a like minded person. Where we differ is Ray’s living the dream as opposed to me still dreaming the dream but enjoying everyone else’s adventures. To say Ray as “been there, done that and a whole lot more besides really does not do this man justice. I’m proud to be able to call him a friend & Ray, you really do need to write that book. Make sure you put me down for the first copy, signed of course.
Outing number two for Mr T's birthday present.
I’d printed off the Presentation Schedule that had been emailed to all attendee’s and by 17.30 I needed to get something to eat ready for the evening presentations which started at 19.00 in the Africa room. The presentation I wanted to see didn’t start till 20.00- Stephen Clark, Getting the most out of two weeks without it turning into an "Iron Butt ride" so got stuck in and cooked a chilli steak and thick vegetable broth for my tea.
Stephen was entertaining and very thought provoking with his approach being a full 180 degrees opposite to that of my own. “Stop and talk to people” “Take a break have a coffee, chat to people” by the end of the presentation I could have screamed……….. “I ride so I don’t have to speak to people!” Still it was a good talk which once I’d calmed down and thought about it realised Stephen made some good points, just not ones I wanted to hear. Later on Friday evening I suggested to Stephen that next year we do a presentation together but sadly he declined as he won’t be there. Shame really as it would have had the audience in tucks……
Happy Campers despite the rain!
I’m not going to bore you all with all the presentations but attach a list at the bottom with all the details on once I’ve received permission which I’ve requested from Grant & Susan.
The rest of Thursday evening I spent alone listening in on other peoples trips of around the world travels, transcontinental adventures of every description on everything from the Honda C90 to Yamaha R1 and of cause the might BMW GS1200 Adventure. By 22.00 I was back in my tent listening to the rain tapping away on the tents roof whilst I cooked myself some super.
Friday flew by, up with the larks at 06.50 I bumped into Sam at the shower block, first signs of a drainage issue raising their head. The entrance to the main camping field was turning into a mud bath that resembled Glastonbury. After a “Full English” as per usual my day started with a walk around both camping area’s taking a few pictures of the bikes. During the day I met and chatted to so many people it was unreal. Folks just came up and asked for a guided tour of my tent as it seemed to impress so many visitors. Dave an IBA member had emailed me to say.
If you bump into Rupert Utley and Fanny Fang (very pretty Chinese lady) on a pair of KTMs and just ridden up from Cape Town, then say hello from me. Rupert and I were in the HK police together.
Guess who I watched ride up the hill and enter the registration tent. It’s unbelievable what a small world we live in. I caught up with Rupert later that day and had a great chat with him.
Rupert & Fanny waking up full of the joys of spring.
Follow their epic Big Bike Trip.
Now Friday evening was always going to be a tough one for me as both Sam and Bruce Smart – Teapot One where presenting at 19.00. I really do have to apologise Bruce but I had to attend Sam’s presentation being such a big fan of his books. Mind it was great to catch up with you in the bar on Saturday and many thanks for charging my damned iPhone.
Like I said it’s so hard not to become “Start Struck” sat there chatting Bruce on one side and Tim Cullis on the other telling us all about Morocco and his fantastic web site Morocco Knowledge Base. Life just does not get better than this.
Sam was followed at 21.00 on Friday by THE presentation of the weekend for me Sjaak Lucassen “20 Years and 500,000km Around the World”. The presentation was just fantastic and if you ever get chance to see Sjaak or just sit and have a chat with the guy, take it, he is just amazingly entertaining. I’ve just received the first few chapters of Sjaaks new book which I paid just 7 Euros for. Each time a section is ready for publishing Sjaak emails it out in PDF format. I’ve not read much yet but what I have read is brilliant.
Saturday was great, all bar the weather which was intermittent rain. What with recycling duties, show block diversion duties and just getting totally immersed in the world of the overland travellers I really enjoyed the atmosphere. I met so many people the list would be huge but I would just like to thank Caryl for the loan of her iPhone charger both Friday and Saturday as the damned mobile kept going flat on me. Also a quick hello to Andy, hope we can stay in touch mate it was great to meet you. I’m looking forward to a guided tour of your bikes as long as it comes with a test ride on the 675 Daytona.
One thing I’ve forgotten to mention about Stephens presentation on Thursday night. Once Stephen had finished his talk he asked if anyone could help an Australian rider called Ben who needed somewhere to store his bike whilst he returned to Australia to earn a few more “Travel tokens”. Without a moment’s hesitation I tapped Ben on the shoulder as he just happened to be sat directly in front of me and just said “Speak to me later”. I now have two things, a new Australian friend called Ben and a Kawasaki KLR650 in my garage. Now this is me just doing what I would like to be done for me, I’m not looking for glory or stardom I’m just really happy to help a fellow rider fulfil his dream. Plus listening to Little Ben interrogate Big Ben all about Australia the USA and Africa on Monday night is payment enough for a lifetimes bike storage.
Ben as been all over Africa on this KLR 650
So folks, I hope I’ve kept it short and to the point, I could go on about the rain, the mud, the bikers falling off entering the field but to be quite honest all that did was bring everyone closer together. It was a brilliant weekend and if anyone is really into adventure on two wheels but just can’t get away for whatever reason please do yourselves a massive favour. Attend the next available Horizons Unlimited Travellers' Meetings. You will not be disappointed I guarantee you.
Did I mention the Mud?
What a Star!
The poster said it all
"Been There, Done That!"
AJP Motos Prototype of new lightweight 200cc long distance trail/adventure bike - "Terrestre" first showing to the public - feedback invited!
Adventure Peru Motorcycling motorcycle adventure holiday trips to Peru
Adventure-Spec waterproof riding gear, luggage, tools, bike protection parts, first-aid kits, camping bits and pieces
James Cargo Services bike shipping around the world
Jemma Voisin massage therapy
Metal Mule overland luggage systems
Rally-Raid Products KTM 690 Adventure Kit and Adventure/Rally parts
Rieju Motorcycles Manufacturer of a range of versatile bikes, including a 200cc supermoto
Scotia Sidecars Q.D. Tripteq sidecars and conversion parts predominately for BMW R850/1100/1150/1200/R/RT/RS/GS models
Stahlkoffer Bespoke high-quality motorcycle luggage and accessories
Suzuki With a selection of V-Stroms and other bikes available for test rides
Traveldri-Plus motorcycle travel and camping specialists
TRF The TRF is a national club with 44 local groups in England and Wales formed to promote and preserve the right to ride Britain's wonderfully varied network of green lanes
Touratech UK the adventure travel specialists - everything for your bike!
Books - get your signed copy direct from the Author!
Ted Simon with his brand new book 'Rolling Through the Isles', plus the classic 'Jupiter's Travels' and 'Dreaming of Jupiter'.
Austin Vince will have his DVD's for sale as well as his books 'Terra Circa' and 'Mondo Enduro'
Dennis Robinson, 'Scooters in the Sahara' Nathan Millward, with his first book 'The Long Ride "Home"'
Robert Wicks new book 'The World's Great Adventure Motorcycle Routes' and the rest of his series: 'Adventure Motorcycling', 'Adventure Riding Techniques', and 'Building the Ultimate Adventure Bike'.
Sam Manicom, with his books 'Tortillas to Totems', 'Distant Suns', 'Under Asian Skies' and 'Into Africa'
Paddy Tyson, with his book 'The Hunt For Puerto del Faglioli'
Graham Field, with his first book 'In Search of Greener Grass'
Overland Magazine, the great new publication from Paddy Tyson
Jerome Bullard, 'Life on the Line'
Rollo Turner from Panther Publishing will be there with several great travel books.
Lists re-produced by kind permission of Grant & Susan www.HorizonsUnlimited.com