Since our last blog, a lot has happened including moving house, renting out the flat, attending our first Horizons Unlimited (‘adventure bike travel’) gathering, picking up new sponsorship and supporting worthy causes.
As biking beginners, the Horizons gathering is a 4 days feast of Lectures, Talks and Demonstrations. All given by veteran bikers who, like us, started their adventures at a gathering a bit like this. Demonstrations of how to cook a squirrel and how to boil a rabbit were on show, talks were given by lucky travelers who had tea with Bin Laden’s brother and the not so lucky others who were arrested in Peru.
We can now use a light bulb to start a fire, we can lift our bikes out of – Indiana Jones style – quicksand with nothing but a ball of string and a packet of Juicy Fruit – but best of all; we can sterilize a cup of water with nothing but a pair of tights and the power of the mind!
When not learning from the masters we played and frolicked with the junior adventure bikes. Chloe jumped at the chance to enter us into the ‘Slow Race‘. A race for the slow, not the fast, a test of balance, a race to be last!
Proud of her own keen sense of balance and with her hand eye coordination combined symbiotically with her competitiveness; Chloe confidently stepped forward and registered her hungover husband for the Sunday morning battle.
Armed only with a 125cc and an ounce of courage, I was pitted against the great and good of the adventure bike world. Sadly, the ball of string and Juicy Fruit were no match for these pro riders. From balancing on 1 wheel to showing off with bunny hops the expert riders made short work of the amateurs in the early rounds. Pitched against fearless competitors, I made it to the finish line, importantly not first (3rd) but sadly not last (1st), although not a winner in his heat, a respectful 2nd place was enjoyed.
As the weekend wore on we were mindful of our generous and supportive sponsors at home. It was ubiquitous to include their names in most conversations in the vain hope our kind words made it back to our team of supporters.
Not content with the word of mouth it was agreed a spot of carefully placed brand advertising would go a long way.
The weekend ended with a lecture on posture and long distance riding techniques. We sampled yoga for adventure riders and we are now armed with pre-ride stretches which make the Arsenal warm-up look like a post office queue.
Try as we might, our fun filled weekend was always going to be spoiled by the fast approaching Mother Monday, packed up and ready for the off, we were quickly back on the adventure road to Manchester.
During a talk on Road Side Maintenance, we were introduced to the concept of a system which can continually lubricate the chain and sprocket while riding. Through continuous oiling, the life and performance of the chain is extended which is typically the single most onerous item requiring love, care and attention on a daily basis.
On returning from Derbyshire I made contact with Scottoiler, a Scottish company who manufacturer motorbike chain lube systems. After a round of emails Grant from Scottoiler happily agreed to support our trip with 2 Scottoiler vSystem Kits and Scottoiler Lube Tube to help us on your journey.
In return we have gladly agreed to link to Scottoiler via our site, add a few stickers to our bikes, to do a step by step guide on how we installed the kits to our bikes and a short 1-2 minute video introducing our trip where we are going, the bikes, the route etc (our first visit to youtube I fear!)
Finally, we will do a testimonial of the kit once we are finished, home, safe and well.
A day later and my desk at work was bursting with Scottoiler boxes, lubes, tubes and a bag load of excitement!
And finally, we have a PASSENGER! Chloe and I have been asked if we will be happy to take with us Fireman Sam on our trip from Buenos Aires to Vancouver. Fireman Sam belongs to Arthur who, in May 2009, was diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma, a cancerous soft tissue tumour in his thigh.
When Arthur was in hospital during 2009, Fireman Sam went off on this adventures and sent photos back to Arthur to show him his travels through Antartica. The photos he sent are in a gallery which can be seen if you look at Arthur’s website here.
Fireman Sam returned home from Antartica a few months ago and has been tucked up on Arthur’s bed ever since. He now has itchy feet again so luckily we are being allowed to take Fireman Sam on our trip.
So far, Fireman Sam has arrived safe and well in Manchester, a little tired but is in good spirit and is very excited about his trip, he hasn’t stopped talking about it since he got here!
Sam is enjoying the views out of my office window, wishing he could feel the wind in his hair (Or under his little yellow helmet) out on the open roads! Not long now Sam! x