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I am very excited to be hosting the 7th Annual Horizons Unlimited Ontario event on May 24-27 2018. This is the second year I am Hosting the event but have been involved in the event since the very first one as both a presenter and member of the organization crew. One of my non-motorcycle friends was asking me about the event and when he found out that I did all this work on a volunteer basis as me why I did it. Here is what I told him.

Short answer – without Horizons Unlimited I never would have had my motorcycle adventure in 2011-2012. www.gregsadventure.com would not exist. I feel a sense of pride in inspiring others.

Longer answer

January 2nd 2010 as I stood along the wall of the temple of Ankor Wat in Cambodia I looked out across the field and into the parking lot where I saw the two Honda 250cc Baja motorcycles that my brother and I rented. Right then and there I made the decision that I would take a time off work and travel to exotic places my motorcycle. I had no idea how this would be accomplished, what was involved or what needed to be done, I only knew that I was going to do it.

Back in Canada I Googled “motorcycle adventure travel” and the first thing that came up was “Long Way Round” by Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman so I immediately ran out and bought the book. I finished the book rather quickly and when I put it down I was very disheartened and discouraged, I thought I needed to be a Jedi to ride a motorcycle any further than my own backyard. Fortunate for me there were a few other books listed as references in Long Way Round and I purchased a couple more books on the topic of motorcycle travel. One of those books mentioned Horizons Unlimited and I jumped on their website, there was a flood of information.  Under the events page I found upcoming event in North Carolina and immediately signed up.  Most people who I had mentioned my desire to ride around the world to though I was crazy and having a mid-life crisis and was in need of help. AT HU North Carolina I met people just like me who had done amazing motorcycle bike trips, and none of them we Jedi’s! Shortly after returning from HU North Carolina the final parts of my pan were put into motion, including handing in my letter of resignation.

With Horizons Unlimited I never would have had my motorcycle adventure in 2011-2012. www.gregsadventure.com would not exist. Sharing my story with others at HU Ontario and inspiring others to seek their dreams has become a new passion for me.  Check out the website http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/

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Adventure bikes are meant for adventures. Featuring engine guards, long travel suspension, and big fuel tanks, the adventure motorbike is built with off-road, remote environments in mind.

While the bike is ready to go on water crossings, high deserts, snow, gravel, and dirt, the rider should also be ready to tackle all the different landscapes. Riding an adventure motorcycle doesn’t mean that you don’t have to keep yourself safe!

For this reason, riders must be equipped with the following safety gear when going on an adventure.

  • Jacket

Riders going on an adventure must consider the riding jacket as their best companion. It is the biggest gear piece you will put on, and it will be the one piece that will help you the most during a road rash. Not only does such a riding jacket protect the body from various elements, but it is also a storage space for various personal items.

While the jacket must be able to protect you, it should also fit you well and be comfortable. It should also provide sufficient ventilation and feature various compartments for your wallet, phones, etc.

The jacket must be waterproof too. A majority of the jackets claim to be waterproof, however, only very few of them are truly waterproof when you test them against the elements. So, go for a reliable brand.

To ensure that you are on the safe side, you must cover the jacket as well as other protective gear with waterproof spray. Adventure jackets are available in a number of options so, you must pick out one which has comfortable armor in the shoulder and elbow area. Moreover, having a spine protector in one is recommended.

  • Gloves

Having a standard lightweight riding glove is ideal for traveling many miles on smooth and even terrain, but, it is also a good idea to have another pair with you so that you can switch the pair if the situation demands (they become damaged, etc).

If you will be traveling in cold weather then you must opt for heated or cold-weather gloves. Meanwhile, if you plan to travel during hot conditions then ventilated gloves are the right option.

Other Safety Gear

Some other safety gear you should consider having with you on your motorcycle adventure, which we can talk more about in future posts:

  • A visor to protect your eyes.
  • A scarf to protect your face from dust if such a need occurs.
  • An emergency tool kit.
  • Don’t forget a water bottle even if you think you won’t need one and will just visit some pub along the way.
  • A small first aid kit.
  • You can also go for knee and elbow pads if you want.

The point is that you can do a lot to help ensure your safety during a motorcycling adventure. Don’t equate safety to decreasing your ‘cool’ factor. There’s nothing cool about risking your life.

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I reached 130,000km on the Varadero this past weekend.  More details on the ride to follow.

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In the world of motorcycling, several arguments never seem to end. One of the more interesting ones is about saddlebags for your bike. Some riders swear by soft bags, while others will only use hard ones no matter what. It’s not exactly clear why each side is so ardent in their beliefs, but to an outside observer, it can make choosing more difficult. So, if you’re trying to decide which motorcycle travel luggage you should get, here are some points to help you make the decision.

Hard Saddlebags

These are usually made of aluminum or some other lightweight metal, and they are semi-permanently affixed to your bike through a mounting system. That means that once you install them you better like them, as they aren’t coming off easily. That’s not to say it’s hard to remove this motorcycle gear, but it’s not as easy as soft bags.

Advantages

  • Durable and rugged
  • Can be locked for security
  • Usable for different vehicles
  • Customizable
  • Keeps contents better protected

Disadvantages

  • Weigh more
  • Can be a safety issue in the event of a collision or spin out
  • More expensive
  • Lids don’t fit securely after a crash

Soft Saddlebags

Again, it’s not clear why these motorcycle parts have such fervent followers, given the fact that storage is relatively the same with both types. But, soft bags have the advantage of being more lightweight and portable, as well as adding a bit of old-school aesthetic to your ride. If you get vintage-style saddlebags, it can upgrade your appearance immediately.

Advantages

  • Cost-effective
  • Easy to transfer
  • Waterproof
  • Less bulky
  • Won’t hurt as bad in a crash

Disadvantages

  • Harder to secure
  • Won’t protect fragile items as well
  • Less stable overall

Hopefully, this breakdown will help you decide which type of luggage carrier is best for you and your ride. In the end, there is no right answer, only the one that you prefer.

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With my 1,500 mile form signed it was no just a matter of crossing into Mexico and completing the Border to Border. I followed the signs, paid my told and entered Mexico, 3 minutes from the hotel, easy. Now I had to find someone to sign my witness form – not so easy.  None of the border / customs guards would sign the form, they made long winded excuses about it not being an official customs form. I asked locals, no response, they just ignored me.  I was not too worried about getting my iron butt Form signed as I had other ways of proving I was in Mexico, I had my SPOT device and Toll receipts so after 30 minutes of asking people to sign my from I headed back to the USA.

As soon as the border guard heard my answer to “how long were you in Mexico” he slapped a big yellow sicker across my windshield and told me to take my bike to secondary. I guess not a lot of people go to Mexico for “30 minutes”.  The border guards at Secondary Inspection were, lucky for me, motorcycle enthusiasts. We chatted about my ride, my bike the new Honda Africa Twin and of course the heat. It was 104F when I crossed into Mexico. One of the guards was nice enough to sign my Iron Butt form, so I was now officially done. Three Iron Butt rides in under 36 hours.

The only thing left to do now is ride home and fill out all the required paper work for the Iron butt Association.

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