So what do I do when I'm not travelling on my motorcycle?
I talk about my motorcycle, I tinker with my motorcycle and I watch, read and listen to others who have a similar interest.
I'll try and share my thoughts about what I watch/read/hear in this section.
I will also try to give some thoughts about the gear I buy.

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in Gear
Created: 19 June 2018
forcefield base layer pants frontforcefield base layer pants back

 

Product: Forcefield Body Armour Base Layer Pants
Manufacturer: Forcefield Body Armour
Bought: eBay
Purchase date: 
19 June 2018
Rating: moose solidmoose solidmoose lightmoose lightmoose lightmoose lightmoose lightmoose lightmoose lightmoose light

 

I bought these as a base layer for warm weather riding as the Klim Badland pants tend to chafe my legs in long days in the saddle, especially around the knee protector.
First impressions out of the box is that I don't really understand what kind of body these pants are made for.
I bought them size small (like most things) and they fit reasonably well around the waist but they are impossibly tight around the ankles and are ridiculously long.
There is probably a couple of decimetres excess length on the leg and as I pull all this up every time I wear them I can hear the seems starting to tear, if they survive this full season I'd be surprised.
Forcefield uses a fibre called BeCool which supposedly is "the first polyamide fibre with integrated airflow control a function that maintains body temperature during sports and leisure activities. Through a four channeled thread BeCool has a greater diffusive area than standard thread, up to three times greater than cotton, which allows it to act like a fan forcing the skins hot and humid air towards the outer layer of the fabric while allowing cool and dry air to circulate from the outside into the surface of the skin."
Sounds great right?
Wouldn't it be great if it worked?
Yes it would but unfortunately it doesn't.
I bought this for the trip to Russia and had temperatures just below 30ºC throughout almost the entire trip.
I suffered through for most of the trip as it did relieve the chafing of the pants but eventually I couldn't take it any longer and started riding without them.
After a full day of riding with the FF Base Layer my legs where completely soaked with sweat, I would not have been worse off even if I'd just pissed myself right before peeling these off.
This is not how breathable fabric is supposed to behave.
I did not wash them before taking off on the trip so there is nothing I could have done to ruin the functionality of the FF pants.
For all intents and purposes it was like riding in Long Johns and that is pretty much how I'll continue to use them from now on.
I will continue to look for a base layer for hot weather riding as this is obviously not it.

in Audiobooks
Created: 09 April 2018
Cover

 

Title: Extreme Frontiers
Tagline Racing Across Canada from Newfoundland to the Rockies
Author: Charley Boorman
Narrator: David John
Website: http://www.charleyboorman.com/
Length: 6hrs 53mins
Feature: Unabridged
Review copy: Audible
Published: 1 March 2013
Language: English
Country/Region: 
Canada
Rating: moose solidmoose solidmoose solidmoose solidmoose solidmoose solidmoose solidmoose lightmoose lightmoose light

 

As I've previously written Ewan and Charley gets a lot of hate from the community and Charley probably more so than Ewan.
When I read between the lines it seems that some people seem to consider Boorman some sort of failure as his acting career didn't really take off.
The way I see it he used his contacts to make one of the most watched travel documentaries of all time and has since been able to make a living off of travelling, writing, presenting travel shows and as more or less a factory rider for first BMW and now Triumph.
If that's a failed career then sign me the hell up right now.

This book is from a trip travelling (mostly) by motorbike through Canada, the second largest country in the world and was the first of a series of travel documentaries made for UK:s Channel 5.
I have to admit that my expectations weren't high as I had no previous experience of Boorman as an author (as I just assume the Long way round book was ghostwritten).
Turns out the guy really can write.
I've seen the show but this gives a whole new perspective to the trip with thoughts and insights that there just wasn't time for in the show.

Although the motorcycle aspect wasn't very prevalent I enjoyed this immensely as I got to follow Boorman through the "extremes" of Canada even though the things he does is obviously thought out to cater to a television audience with dirt biking, extreme cold diving, horseback riding and ice hockey (obviously, he is in Canada after all). 

This will definitely make me check out some of the other books he's written.

 
 
 
 
in Audiobooks
Created: 13 February 2018
Cover

 

Title: Into Africa
Tagline Africa by Motorcycle - Every Day an Adventure
Author: Sam Manicom
Narrator: Sam Manicom
Website: http://www.sam-manicom.com/
Length: 10hrs 47mins
Feature: Unabridged
Review copy: Audible
Published: 14 August 2012
Language: English
Country/Region: 
Africa
Rating: moose solidmoose solidmoose solidmoose solidmoose solidmoose solidmoose solidmoose solidmoose solidmoose light

 

Sam quits his job as a shoe-salesman and starts travelling the world going through Europe and taking the ferry over to Africa.
He puts himself in places and situations with an equal measure of humour, warmth and fearlessness.
He's pretty much a cross between Al Bundy and Indiana Jones (he even has the hat).
Unlike many other travellers who have done this Sam has no fixed agenda as he has time-limit for his return which I think make all the difference.
He really has the time to completely immerse himself in the culture as he dedicates a whole year and 22000 miles to do what others might do in four to six months and a lot less mileage.
At one point he even hides the bike and treks for more than a day to spend a week with a tribe that's pretty much devoid of outside contact.
Sam calls things as he sees them in a journalistic kind of way without overanalyzing or spiritualizing it at all which might sound boring but most definitely is quite the opposite.
He is an amazing storyteller, this is the kind of guy you'd buy beers for all night just to hear him talk and he paints a picture that makes you feel like you're right there in the moment with him.
The only reason this doesn't get a solid ten is because: 1. Sam is a better writer than he is a narrator and 2. he like many others develop the Wilson-syndrome along the way giving his bike a persona and a naming it.
Naming your bike and/or refering to it by its gender pronoun makes for pretty confusing reading when there are more than two people mentioned in the story.
I also don't really understand the decision to screw up the chronology by having the first chapter take place in Uganda, it's no doubt the "juiciest" chapter of the book but you don't really need to hook me in, I've already bought the book.
But those are really minor details and overall this is one of, if not the best adventure motorcycle book I've ever read (heard) and since this is just the first of a series of four books I can't wait to read the rest of the series.

 
 
 
 
in Audiobooks
Created: 08 February 2018
Cover

 

Title: It's all good
Author: Andrew Daddo
Narrator: Andrew Daddo
Website: https://www.andrewdaddo.com/
Length: 5hrs 55mins
Feature: Unabridged
Review copy: Audible
Published: 8 August 2006
Language: English
Country/Region: 
USA
Rating: moose solidmoose solidmoose solidmoose solidmoose lightmoose lightmoose lightmoose lightmoose lightmoose light

 

Daddo get's fired from his job as a VJ on MTV and before heading back home to Australia decides to go on a road trip across the USA.
His companion on the ride is a guy called Ray O'Neal which passed away in 2004.
Andrew then decided to write this book as sort of homage to Ray as I get it.
It is obvious that he considered Ray a very good friend as a brief passage in the book where they are separated for five days is for Daddo an ultimate test of independance.
Riding five days alone in Iowa... I mean come on?
He's actually at one point writes that he's so lonely he almost cries.
In this rather short book there are so many flashbacks to childhood and Daddos early days you sort of lose the feeling that they're actually on a trip.
After three chapters of childhood nostalgia I can't even remember where in the US they are when the story picks up again.
After the pretty much complete biography around the half way mark the story picks up around what they're actually doing in present time which saves the book from being a complete disaster in my view.
This was also one of the few times author narration was a good idea as this being read by an Australian lends some authenticity to the story, had this been read by an American or Englishman nuances would have been lost.
I can't help but note that someone at Audible production has come up with the idea to put in music at the end of each chapter.
I personally never think this is a good idea but when you end a really heart-felt letter to a dead friends daughter with a Waynes World-like guitar riff you must be completely out of your mind. It is in very poor taste to say the least.
Despite all the criticism it's not entirely without its merits. It a humorous story and a decent read taken for what it is, a biography.

 
in Movies
Created: 03 February 2018
Cover  

 

Title: C90 Adventures - Malaysia to UK
Type: Download
Review copy: Dirtpunk
Length: 1 hour 12 minutes
Price: £10
Producer: Ed March
Website: https://c90adventures.co.uk/
Country/Region: 
RTW
Rating: moose solidmoose solidmoose solidmoose solidmoose solidmoose solidmoose solidmoose solidmoose solidmoose solid


This film is about a guy from Devon, UK called Ed March supposedly saved from the regional pastime sheep-shagging by a love of tinkering with motorbikes in his shed.
He ships his beloved Honda C90 halfway across the world to Malaysia and then spends 8 months and 14500 miles riding it home.
While in Thailand he actually tries to register a marriage with his C90, I shit you not.
Let's face it, for a RTW-trip it's a rubbish bike, some of the footage is from a mobile phone, Ed obviously has mental issues and he has a propensity for gratuitous nudity and he has a really immature sense of humour.
He also nurtures an intense hatred for big BMW motorcycles and accessories you can't build yourself (which means he would probably either be steaming or pissing himself with laughter if he ever saw my bike).
It's pretty much the exact polar opposite of Long Way Round/Down.
I loved every second of it.
This is not for the faint of heart as he films himself having diarrhea (thankfully only audio) and a dozen people shitting in a field (in glorious high definition).
Apart from crossing the world on a ridiculously underpowered bike which at one point runs for three stright days with no oil he also takes the time to trek to Mount Everest basecamp and true to form he does that in skate shoes and in far less time than is supposedly safe considering altitude sickness.
Despite the differences in footage quality this is a really solid production which is well put together and with great music (well, perhaps apart from the frequent ABBA-snippets, I'm not that Swedish).
I've definitely never laughed so much watching a travel documentary before and if you watch this and think it's shit then I'm sorry but then we can't be friends.

P.S.
Eds since embarked on another journey, this time from Alaska to Argentina and he has made that into a series on youtube so check out his channel.