There are no borders, only in your mind!

July 10th, 2014 | In: Motorbike

All bikers have their dream route they would love to ride, but it’s not always possible for us all. Devitt blogger, Raymondo is back with another fantastic blog about motorcycling literature, showing us that you don’t always need to be on the back of a motorbike to ride around the world…

“I’ve ridden round the world so many times in the last few weeks I’m almost dizzy! Six times in as many weeks to be exact and all from the comfort of my living room chair.

How many people would just love to pack up their passport, camping gear, a few belongings and get on their bikes and head out into the great unknown? I know I wouldn’t! Yes, you read that right! I would ‘not’ want to ride around the world! However that doesn’t stop me reading every single book I can get my grubby little mitts on.

Row of books
Ray loves his books

Any book that involves motorcycle travel around our wonderful planet just sets my heart racing. From short stories about trips to Italy like ‘Bonjour is this Italy‘ by Kevin Turner or his most recent adventure to Russia ‘From Crystal Palace to Red Square‘ to the epic circumnavigation of the globe by Sam Manicom which took four amazing books to cover. ‘Gone Riding‘ by Dom Giles was the latest of the six round the world trips I’ve read and what a book it is.

There is so much we do not know about our planet that the only way to truly understand it is to visit it in person. However, if this not possible then the next best thing is to read all about other peoples adventures.

Ray and Giles have a selfie

Having just finished reading one of the most thought provoking, passionate and wonderful books I’ve had the pleasure of reading in a long time. ‘Gone Riding’ by Dom Giles documents his 30,000 mile trip through 18 countries over 2 continents. Written with passion, Dom takes you on his trip from Alaska to the Panama in the first half. Documenting his ride explicitly and with such commitment its hard to put down. But then for me the book really came alive in part two. After a month break in the UK whist his bike Heidi was shipped to South Africa the second half documents Dom’s travels around some of Africa’s most stunning locations on his trusty if not some what problematic BMW GS.

Now I’m no book critique so I’ll not embarrass myself by trying to pretend that I am but I felt uplifted and almost as if I was there. Not since reading ‘Into Africa‘ by Sam Manicom have I felt that connection with a country I’ve never set foot in.

Planning for such a trip can take years. Finding the funds is the first major obstacle followed by visas, carnets, shipping, not to mention just getting on a bike and riding every day for well over a year, which in itself is simply amazing. The list just goes on and yet they do it and I for one am delighted they do.

What kind of person is it that can make the conscious decision to just give up a perfectly good job and in some cases even sell their home and just go riding around the world?

Donnington Park

Reading about border crossing’s in South America, Africa and Asia just makes my toes curl. Money changers, helpers, insurance salesmen all vying for your money in the heat of the mid day sun whilst you slowly cook in your motorbike gear is mind-boggling.

However, there is one event, which I have attended for the last four years, which brings these books to life even more. The Horizons Unlimited HUBB UK 2014 meeting, which is organised, by Ian Harper and Sam Manicom has to be ‘The Premier’ event of its kind.

HUBB meetings take place all over the world with the UK event-taking place annually in Leicestershire at Donington Park Farmhouse Hotel. The event runs over four days and has everything the budding ‘Overland Traveller’ could possibly wish for. There are book sales with the authors happy to sign their work, motorcycle repair demonstrations, numerous displays, lectures and every kind of trader you could ever wish to meet.

The atmosphere is charged with excitement as people return from ‘Round the World’ (RTW) trips with stories to tell, to people just setting off from the HUBB UK on their own RTW adventures. Some of us just go to drink in this heady intoxicating mix of adventure talk from people who have really been there and done that! The presentations come in all shapes and sizes but it not just about sitting there listening and dreaming, you can take the plunge and help out, something I’ve found rewarding on a couple of occasions. Sam Manicom sorts out the ‘work details’ and this gives you the opportunity to meet even more wonderfully interesting people.

Map of Europe with pin in it

The thing about the HUBB UK meeting is that it’s not just motorcyclists who attend, although they do make up a large percentage of the visitors. There are 4×4 enthusiasts both large and small, there are camper-vans and even cyclists who have peddled their way around the world.

Going back to my initial point, as nice as it would be to jump on my bike with my passport and a few belongings and head off around the world I know it’s something I will never do for one simple reason.

I do not function properly when I’m away from my wife and children! It’s that simple. I’ve had trips to Lithuania, Gibraltar, Spain, Germany, Italy and everything in between but after 3 nights away my heart sinks and I feel home sick.

It’s strange really, as I spent 12 years living in Germany and was lucky enough to have visited all the surrounding countries plus spending a year in Canada helped keep me focused on my main love, that of Touring Europe. Trips to Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia all followed and I loved every minute but that was then and this is now and I’m content with my short but mile filled rides around the UK into Europe.

So now all I want to do now is collect ‘Motorcycle Travel’ books, which I always try to get signed by the author so I have something special to pass on to my son Ben. Something he can look back on and say “my Dad met this guy who…”

More recently I have also taken to getting #Selfie’s with the authors too! How trendy is that?

Raymondo.

The Wandering Walton

You wait forever to meet someone famous
Then they all come along at once!