If you don't know who these guys are, it's time to read up.
Do you like books about motorcycle history? If you haven’t read Jupiter’s Travels or Into Africa—by Ted Simon and Sam Manicorn Respectively—I highly recommend putting them on your list. . Why these two books in particular? Well, Simon and Manicorn were adventure riding before there was even a name for it. Heck, Simon set out on a bike that was never made for the kind of riding he did, but adventure bikes didn’t exist then.
On its surface, this video is simply two British gentlemen having a nice chat over tea. It is and they are, but their conversation is of interest to all of us who ride. The way they are extremely frank about each subject they touch is quite refreshing.
They discuss how they began their respective adventures, and each one has the equivalent of “it sounded like a good idea at the time.” Neither had much experience riding motorbikes; one had none at all. Neither did they have very much money when they set out. Simon admits that he was very careful about riding his bike on uneven surfaces, because if he crashed, he couldn’t afford to fix his bike and continue on. Both men kept journals of their travels, but the act of writing out their daily activities solidified each adventure in their minds so they claim they had little need for the journals.
They discuss riding alone and how different it is from riding with other people. This is something that really resonated with me, because I have experienced it myself. The safety and insulation a riding partner offers you is a boon and a disadvantage all at once. When you are riding alone, especially on a long trip, strangers are more likely to approach you and talk to you, for good or for ill. In my experience, the vast majority of people are inherently good, and interested in your trip, eager to help you out, and extremely impressed that you’d take on an endeavor like that.
Even today, when it seems every other rider you know is planning an epic journey, bike trekkers are the tiny minority. For those of us who travel by motorbike, the advice that these two old adventurers offer, and the struggles they’ve overcome, are a rare treasure indeed.