I went to the London Motorcycle Show at the Excel Centre in London’s Docklands a few days ago.
As I walked around I found myself wondering why I went. Sure, I looked at and sat on some of the new bikes like the Yamaha’s Super Tenere, Harley-Davidsons Blackline and the Triumph Tiger. But, I looked at helmets I have seen at every bike show I’ve been to, clothing I don't want, tools I already have and paddock stands I don’t need. I walked past insurance stands that wouldn’t insure one of my bikes and pictures of Motor GP racing I’m not interested in. I only glanced at the dolly birds, who seemed much more tarty than usual. Most shows are essentially the same and although I hate to admit it, after you’ve been to a few, they start to look the same. This one was the like that and even though I took my camera, there were so many people, I didn’t feel like struggling to take pictures of bikes without too many people in the shot. I should imagine if you are thinking of buying a new bike, the chance to sit on a number of your possible alternatives is good. I’m not in that sort of new bike market though.
As I walked around, I was bored of mainly seeing the same old things.
Deciding to try to find something different, I walked around the outside of the show and looked at some of the smaller stands and I noticed a large number of people that specialise in motorbike tours. Either I hadn’t noticed there being so many of these in previous years or their numbers had risen dramatically. I stopped and chatted with a few and they confirmed the number of such companies had gone up a lot in the past few years. Motorcycle touring it seems, is growing.
I have been a some organised tours on European roads in the past and I enjoyed them. Travelling around on such tours bikes with like-minded people is nearly always going to be fun. Of course, the people you do it with can make or break the tour and the riding is generally very good as the tour organisers have normally already planned to be on great roads. What I did notice at the bike show however was the large number of adventure tours to places like Peru, India, Africa and even New Zealand. A few of the guys I spoke to put to put this down to one simple thing – the “Long Way Round/ Down” tv programmes that featured Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman which I guess really introduced us to what is possible in adventure touring. Sure, such tours have been around for a while, but that tv series has really made them popular.
This is the list of touring companies I saw.... quite a few really!.....
Adventure Riding Academy
Adventure Peru Motorcycling
Dust Devils SL
Hidden Ireland Motorcycle Tours
M C I Tours
Nurburg Ring Tours
Paradise Motorcycle Tours NZ Ltd
Pole Position Travel
Two Wheel Trekkers
VFR - New Zealand
I have decided to give such shows a miss in future and this will be my last London Motorcycle Show. I will go to the smaller and much more fun custom bike shows, where you really see something different in both the bikes and the people, but big general motorbike shows? – probably not. Would I consider going on another organised tour? – to a country where I don’t speak the language – probably yes. Only problem, where.....?
This blog was originally started to record a five month, 21000 mile tour of the US on my Harley-Davidson. I continue to use this blog to record my own motorcycling adventures, wherever they may be, along with my thoughts and opinions about motorcycling generally.
Having devoted most of my adult life to being a ‘company man’, the transition to the next phase of my life away from the construction industry was always going to include some challenges. Planning and then making my dream trip to explore America on my Harley-Davidson proved to be the ideal vehicle for clearing my mind of old ways of thinking and being. I rode 21,475 miles, in 27 US states in four-and-a-half months.
My motorcycling trips have continued, with journeys across much of Europe, New Zealand, North Africa and Cuba.
A few years ago, I set up and now run Tour1, which takes riders on Harley-Davidson Authorised tours across Europe. See www.tour1.co.uk.
I live just north of London in the UK.
Please note all photographs on this blog are copyrighted. Do not copy or use, in whole or in part, any image from this blog either in its original form or altered in any way. If you do want to use one of the photographs, then you must ask first and I will almost certainly say yes! Thanks for your understanding.
US Tour - My Favourites Places I Went To....
It is difficult to choose, but here is my list of the highlights of my US tour, in the order I saw them in....