REV’IT! & RawHyde Adventures will team up at the inaugural Overland Expo East to offer adventure riders a rare chance to ride the illusive “Gravel Dragon”, the off-road trek that snakes through the scenic, forested vistas of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park outside of Asheville, North Carolina. The trail’s endless twists and turns mimic its namesake, the world-renowned Tail of the Dragon – but in the most rugged, thrilling way possible.
The ride will leave at 10:00 AM on Friday, October 3rd from the RawHyde tent in the Overland Expo motorcycle pavilion. It will be led by RawHyde guides over paved and unpaved roads, and a light lunch will be served mid-route; riders must have their own bikes and proper protective gear. The ride is estimated to return around 6:00 PM.
REV’IT! and RawHyde have partnered to offer the ride free-of-charge, but space is limited: To sign up, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Embrace the adventure, and take the twisties on your own terms!
Friday 5th September
We have cracked on with the miles today, stopping to see our our pals at REV’IT! in Oss, Holland. We got the chance to give feedback on our kit and on future developments. Thanks for looking after us this afternoon guys.
So we are almost finished! Nearly 5000 miles, 10 countries so far – 12 including France and Belgium tomorrow – in just two weeks. And what an adventure it has been. As always, the highlight has been the huge variety of people we’ve met combined with the startling mix of countries we have visited. We are delighted to be close to the finish but also sad that it will end soon. But we’ll soon be home and boring everyone who’ll listen with our stories.
Thursday 4th September
Almost 400 miles via motorways/highways in Poland that didn’t exist 10 years ago and along the ‘madness’ that are the AutoBahns in Germany.
Highlight of the day had to be the tent race between me and Tom. Setting up camp has become such second nature now that we found amusement in a race to see who could get off their bikes and have the tent up in the shortest time. Call us sad (‘sad’ you all shout!) but after 8 hours in the saddle you find humor where you can.
Wednesday 3rd September
I was fortunate enough to ride through Poland on route to Moscow ten years ago. So, it was always going to be interesting to see how things had changed. Oh yes! Interesting indeed. 10 years ago, the only motorway we found was a few miles around Poznan and Warsaw. The rest was fairly empty A roads where the traffic would pull onto the hard shoulder to let you past and you’d able to keep up steady motorway level speeds.
Have things changed… yes they have. It took us six hours to cover 200 miles though northern Poland this morning. Even taking off 45 minutes for mid morning breakfast, we were still only averaging 35-40mph on a road that 10 years ago you could almost double it. It felt fairly hairy too. Every other vehicle was an articulated truck and passing them felt like a bit of a lottery at times.
Sunday 31st August
Leaving Iisakki Village was a bit of wrench for all of us. We’d been made to feel so welcome (and warm!) that another 250 miles south through chilly Finland felt like the less pleasant option. But push on we did. Steady main roads for the main part now as we head out of Lapland and on towards Helsinki.
Monday 1st September
It’s tough to know how to start writing about a day like today. It’s one of those that you plan for but hope with all your heart that it never happens. I had joked with the guys on several occasions about always checking in my mirrors for their twinkling headlights and the gut wrenching feeling when I couldn’t see them – of course it was always because they were behind a car, around a bend or just dropped back a little. Until today.
I had just checked the mirrors, seen everyone and then about 20 seconds later, checked again only to find that there were no lights twinkling reassuringly. I was right next to a concrete strip between the carriageways so I went over and started back down the motorway.
The first thing I saw was bits of broken bike along the wide grassy central reservation and then all three team mates standing up. I struggle to recall the last time I felt such relief. As long as everyone was standing up, no-one could have been hurt that badly and everything else, as complicated as it might get, was secondary.
As it turned out, an animal had run out in front of Mark, who had managed to avoid it but then caught a wobble which was unrecoverable. Our first concern was making sure Mark was OK and we were ready to go to the hospital with him. The paramedics took Mark to hospital, just to be sure he was OK. Unfortunately, the Triumph was not rideable and we needed to get it recovered to the nearest dealer. It was on his insistence that we carry on – his words were along the lines of ‘It’s pointless you lot waiting around for me at hospital. I can sort myself out and you can finish.’
With Mark in the hands of the experts and the police happy that nothing could have been done to avoid what happened we ensured the bike was delivered to the local triumph dealer and we made the call to continue the trip with the full support of the rest of the team not least by Mark himself. So we go forward, one team member not with us in person but certainly with us in spirit and should those spirits start to lag I’m sure we’ll all discuss some of the very funny moments we’ve enjoyed so far when Mark was with us. We all wish him a speedy recovery and safe trip home.
Tuesday 2nd September
Yesterday, incredibly enough, we’d managed to reach our ferry in Helsinki, over to Estonia with 20 minutes to spare. As you’d imagine, all our thoughts today started with those for our missing team mate. He’s on his way home and safe.
Today was an huge contrast, from the ordered, calm of the last few days riding in the North we began the day in Estonia which was in stark contrast to the other countries we’ve seen so far, less dramatic in terms of scenery but still with its own rustic charm, from Estonia into Latvia, or as I had christened “The Land Time Forgot”…..it was just so far removed from Finland, Denmark and Norway, those countries were design led – this was functionally led and then into Latvia…. It was mayhem, chaos and madness all rolled into one! Cars, Trucks and people all converging on each and every gap that appeared in the road irrespective of the direction they either wanted to go to or where they came from….and we were in the middle of it all – what fun!
Saturday 23rd August
The big day has finally arrived! We had 200 miles of mixed A roads and dual carriageways to ride on our way to Grimsby. It should have been a nice relaxed ‘soft’ introduction to our adventure. We started well enough. Well, for about a quarter of a mile. Then a couple of bungees flew off Martin’s bike. Luckily no kit flew off with them. “Just a couple of loose spares” according to Mart.
Sunday 24th August
Arriving at the prescribed postcode did not bring us next to a friendly looking check-in office of any kind. No, we were definitely at the Immingham freight terminal and not a ship in sight! I had just passed a bunch of security guard looking types so I whizzed back togo and ask them for help. I had assumed the team were right behind me so I had already parked up with my bike lights off by the time Mark came whizzing past looking for me. So, we were now in the wrong place, without a clue where to go and our little four man team was split into three. We hadn’t even left the UK yet.
Monday 25th August
The upside (or downside depending on your point of view) of the 0230 wake up was to leave the ship at 0400 – 0500 is local currency. It provided yet another first – sunrise seen from the bike. I’ve certainly driven through many sunrises but this might well be the first ridden one. It is definitley, my first 0500 start. But I am not complaining. The rest of today was really about reaching Hirtshals and getting over to Norway where we all feel the true adventuring starts. 420 miles today of mixed thunderstorms, light drizzle and blazing sunshine.
Tuesday 26th August
Yet again we have been playing havoc with our body clocks today. Because officially the day started before yesterday finished. Confused? So are we. Our ferry from Hirtshals in Denmark to Larvik in Norway left Monday at 2230. Arriving Larvik 0200 today. Are you with me? Ahead lay 210 miles to the Olympic Park at Lillehammer, followed by a further 200 miles to Trondheim. I don’t think I’ve ever taken 5 hours to ride 200 miles. But we did today on our way to Lillehammer. The Norwegians are famed for their intolerance of speeding and all the citizens were sticking right on the rules and so did we.
Wed 27th August
There are some days on these types of adventures that are just about the riding. Today was one such day. No rainfall was a good starting point. But then it finished. And so did the traffic. Only an hour or so into the 300 miles ride to Mo I Rana the road took a couple of twists up a mountainside and all the trees disappeared along with the traffic. And that was pretty much the sum of it for the next 260 miles. Glorious sweeping roads, no cops and we could keep up a steady and enjoyable speed. 40 miles down the road was our first major objective. The actual Arctic Circle. We took the obligatory tourist photos and made an adventure biker’s stone cairn to add to the hundreds already there. We felt far more like we’d got past the Arctic Circle when we set up our first wild camp and settled down to see how cold it would get.
Thursday 28th August
What a start to the day a few miles north of the Arctic Circle, 700m high and snow topped mountains glinting in the early sunlight. Poetry.
Much, much later we were once again treated to the indisputable fact that the best stuff to happen on these adventures is that which is not planned or expected. When we came around a corner halfway up a mountain we saw at least 150 bikers gathered for their weekly meeting. Lovely bunch of folks that made us foreigners feel very welcome.
Friday 29th August
After our surprise meeting with the 150 bikers last night, we’d found a great ‘wild’ camping spot nested up close to a fjord. The plan today was to reach Nordkapp. In theory, that could have been done by 3pm but we were as usual confounded by the speed limits and the need for filming. This included a brief but necessary dip in the Arctic Sea. If we thought it was a shock to the system, it was nothing compared to the shock it gave the camper van occupants who got more than they bargained for when seeing four semi-naked Englishmen diving into the sea was not the scenic view they expected.
We have made it to our northernmost objective and seen the edge of the world – well, of Europe anyway!
Saturday 30th August
We were through what remained of our stay in Norway within 100 miles. It has been our best and most frustrating friend for 4 days. You’d never think that mountains and fjords could have so much diversity. Finland is as flat as Norway is mountainous. And the roads were as straight as Norway’s were twisty; a little more boring to ride but a heck of a lot quicker.
The Arctic Circle project -Stop being a tourist be an adventurer- is about to start. Graham Hoskins explains how the week prior to the departure of this once-in-a-lifetime journey is spend.
Saturday morning is our departure date and like everything about this trip it is going be hectic and busy. We actually have a crazy night of travel because we are getting a freight ferry rather than a passenger ferry, which means we will be boarding at around 2 AM in the morning.
Despite the hectic week we are now in that great period of time where pretty much all the prep that can be done is done. Whatever happens now, we are going with what we have and we will simply work it out as we go along. Which is what the adventure is really about….
Now it is that time again; counting down to the day of departure! And of course, despite all the best planning and all the best preparation, once more everything seems to be compressing up like a concertina into the week right before we leave.
With an 0530 start on Monday (sign of things to come?) we start this last week with a fabulous training day with the team at Trailquest. This provides us with a fascinating insight into a totally different style of training to that which I have been used to in the past. As Richard at Trailquest explained to us, they provide ‘expedition training’ which covers riding and adventure skills with the primary objective of getting home safely. Richard gave us some great instruction both on the bikes and about our expedition – just wait until you see the pictures of us in our very fetching mosquito net hats – advised due to the number and voracious hunger of nasty insect critters as we head north into Norway and Finland.
The next day is a day we’ve all looked forward too; even though it starts with yet another early start (second taste of things to come). The gorgeous Michelle (Mrs H!) dropped us off at Triumph for possibly the most exciting part of any trip prep – getting the bikes. The atmosphere was absolutely chewable. There was even a pre-trip jig or two being performed in the Triumph car park. Who knows what the visitors thought! Hopefully we gave them a good laugh.
I still think we looked a bit like Storm Troopers with our black-and-white REV’IT! kit and matching white Caberg Tourmax crash helmets. We need to get a few miles under our belts before we look like weathered adventurers. Either that or roll around in the dirt a bit…
Graham – creates and films life changing travel adventures that anyone can try in just two weeks. In 2010 he rode 7000 miles through fifteen countries and in 2012 he followed the iconic Dakar Rally styled route through Dakar to Gambia in two weeks.
Martin – runs an event management and marketing company and until recently, was heavy involved with the BMF Motorcycle Shows. We all know that you are only as young as you feel, but Martin feels like he is the oldest in the team, because he is.
Mark – Our competition winner. Been riding bikes since he was a nipper but not so much adventure riding. An ex-(almost)world champion martial arts specialist, his day job now is an airline pilot, but we think we’ll be allowing him to take point if there’s any trouble with the locals.
Tom – More than our cameraman and director, Tom is an integral member of the team. He worked with Graham on the Dakar Dreams TV series and is now producing the internet TV series ‘Adventure Bike TV’.
From June 12 to June 15 the coastal surroundings of beautiful Biarritz were decorated by a unique blend of surfers, bike enthusiasts, vintage motorcycles, and their builders. Together with our urban setting we took part in the event, which meant being right in the middle of the one-off atmosphere that surrounded Wheels and Waves.
There could not have been a better place in Biarritz than the iconic lighthouse front. If overwhelmed by the presence of all the detailed build motorcycles, just a few steps where enough to find yourself overlooking the beautiful beach accompanied by more than enough sunlight to give you a proper Southern French tan.
The four days of Wheels and Waves passed quickly as the days were full of chatting with enthusiasts, getting feedback, and talking bikes. The artwork on our Flatbush jacket looks to be completely full, so make sure to send in your picture of you and the jacket if you participated in the contest. Who knows, it might be you who gets the chance to pick one of our cool urban jackets for free.
If you were not at Wheels and Waves this year you should put it on your calendar for next year. It has been growing since its first edition and judging on all the people we talked to it is going to be an even more impressive event next year. We know we’re looking forward to it!
Vikki and The Bike Shed army
On May 24 and 25 we took our urban collection of vintage jackets, jeans and footwear across the channel to participate in the third edition of The Bike Shed‘s BSMC event. Whoever set foot in the London based Tobacco Dock during the event will agree that whatever expectations you might have had in advance, BSMC III exceeded them by far.
Entering the iconic Tobacco Dock location meant entering a world created with attention to even the slightest detail. If it’s café racers, scramblers, brat style motorcycles or bobbers that you’re into, this was the event to be. Both quality and quantity of bikes were of high level, which got people gasping at the bikes to get every detail in. Quality found its way to every aspect of the event, therefore only exhibitors of relevant products with a setting to match the event were found on this third edition of the BSMC event. One quick look around showed that all exhibitors understood this idea very well; everybody looked the part.
Two days of BSMC III ended up showing a great vibe, unique atmosphere and a very enthusiastic crowd. All this was drawn by the combination of beautiful bikes, a unique location and above all an organization that ran like clockwork. For REV’IT! it meant interacting with a crowd that showed a great interest in our products on both the design side as well as the safety side of it.The fact that we show respect to the past in our designs while at the same time showing modern day technology on the inside really hit the spot.
If you missed out on BSMC III be sure to look out for the next edition. If you want to get your taste of the vintage motorcycle vibe before that, make sure to come see us at Wheels and Waves in Biarritz on June 12-15. See you there!