The Arctic Circle part III

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.
Foto 05-09-14 16 25 25So 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.

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The Arctic Circle Part II

Sunday 31st August
Leaving Iisakki Village was a bit of wrench for all of us. We’d been made to feel so welcome Foto 4 klein(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.

foto klein 5Tuesday 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!


The Arctic Circle Part 1

Saturday 23rd August
The big day has finally arrived! We had 200 miles of mixed A Klein zat 23 augroads 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 Klein 24 augup 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. Foto 01-09-14 12 37 50 (1)
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.


Getting ready for the Arctic Circle Trip

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…

The Riders
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’.

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The perfect travel companion

Since the early 1900s, women motorcyclists have been breaking down gender, stereotype and cultural barriers by being inspirational role models and enabling women worldwide to muster the courage to ride.

In a time before women even had a right to vote, sisters Augusta and Adeline van Buren set out to make a transcontinental journey on a pair of 1000cc Indians. The courageous exploits of riders like the sisters Van Buren and many other women have helped pave the way for future female riders, and set a precedent for finding freedom and adventure on two wheels.

History has proven that nothing will stop a determined woman on a motorcycle and nowadays women all over the world ride motorcycles. REV’IT! riders such as Nita (2012) (We Love MotoGeo), Cristina (2013) (Madnomad) and Emma (2014) (Wolf and Zebra) are constantly searching for their next adventure, pushing themselves to the limit.

For these woman who don’t stop for directions but instead are confident in finding their own way we’ve designed a range of women’s specific motorcycle gear that has been designed to keep women safe and stylish as they chase after their next challenge and discover their next adventure.

The brand new Sand Ladies outfit is the perfect example. The jacket and trousers are specifically designed for serious adventure riding. Equipped with lady specific CE-protectors, reflection panels and prepared for a Seesoft back protector there is no need to worry about safety. It is incredible versatile too as the thermal liner and waterproof membrane can be removed individually to allow for the ventilation zippers to better do their job while riding in warm climates. The adjustment straps allow for a precise fit and as the straps are also height adjustable each rider can choose exactly how the jacket fits.

If you are a true explorer stopped by nothing don’t let your gear stop you!

REV'IT! Sand ladies jacket


SNA founder Mark tests the Poseidon GTX oufit.

SierraNevadaAdventures (SNA) offers guided motorcycle tours throughout the historic California Gold Country to remote wagon routes and passes over the Sierra Nevada High Country to the Eastern Sierra.

Mark -the founder of SNA- has guided hundreds of dual sport riders on thousands of miles of dual sport adventure rides throughout the Sierra Nevada, Death Valley or Lost Coast. His passion for dual sport adventure has reached faraway remote places in all the western states including spectacular national parks. He pretty much lives on a bike and REV’IT! gear is almost like a second home to him.

For years Mark has been a great REV’IT! ambassador; due to the countless hours spend on his bike in extreme situations he is able to provide us with valuable feedback and useful insights. The last few months Mark has been riding in our Poseidon GTX jacket and trousers. Because it makes us proud, we would like to share his thoughts on our newest adventure jacket and pants with you.

When it comes to “extreme adventure” there’s no compromise on durability, protective armor, warmth and waterproof protection. I’m happy to report, the new REV’IT! Poseidon jacket and pants are the definition of “extreme adventure” touring gear. The Poseidon GORE-TEX® jacket and pants provide the highest quality, go-anywhere, waterproof, breathable Gore-Tex shell in a highly protective multi-season motorcycle adventure apparel.

poseidon wordpressMore info about the Poseidon GTX outfit

More info about SierraNevadaAdventures


Marley Africa road trip

In the summer of 2010 Ziggy Marley and his brothers Rohan and Robbie; sons of musical legend Bob Marley, went on a motorcycle adventure through South-Africa. Camping under the stars and staying with local families kept the team close to Africa’s people, land, and wildlife, and their REV’IT! Defender GTX jackets and trousers kept the Marley brothers well equipped for all the twists and turns of their trip.

Award-winning producer/director David Alexanian and his production crew from Elixir Films, have captured all the action for a series called Marley Africa Road Trip. Alexanian is known for filming Ewan MacGregor’s unforgettable motorcycle trips across the world, in the series Long Way Round and Long Way Down, and he has created a wonderful record of the Marleys’ trip and its meaning to them, in part through personal interviews and tour diaries.

Today, the 7th of May 2013 the series will be released on DVD, i-Tunes, Amazon and Facebook via Cinecliq. This fun and powerful series follows the brothers as they travel through thriving urban communities and across remote savannahs, all the while building momentum for a spectacular concert.

For more information visit: http://marleyafricaroadtrip.com

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