And who could best answer that?
How about a husband and wife team touring the world with bikes and tent?
British riders, Simon and Lisa Thomas, are doing just that. Starting from England in 2003, they have made a life of touring the countries of our planet.
You might think they would consider “BMW” to make the best long-distance motorbikes, since they each ride highly modified Beemer GS’s. Especially since the talk I attended, “An Evening 2 Ride the World,” was presented inside the BMW Motorcycles of Ventura County (California) dealership.
However, “BMW” was not their answer.
So, then, what was their response?
And by the way, just who are these two?
Simon and Lisa are a delightfully spirited couple. They took turns entertaining the audience with light-hearted humor while outlining the joys and disasters of their round-the-globe travels: an adventure that is still in progress.
This year the pair rode into the United States via the southern tip of South America. After originally departing home in England, they rode north to the Arctic Circle, south through western Russia, toured Europe, and south through Africa, where they crated their bikes up for the ocean journey to South America.
Here are a few of the insights they offered last night about their ride so far:
- The profound poverty in Africa is in stark contrast to the warm, hospitable and generous nature of the people themselves.
- Riding across the immense sand dunes of the Sahara Desert is accomplished first in your mind: stand up, ride fast, and just let the rear end squirrel around through the soft sand without thinking about it or trying to correct it.
- And speaking of mindset, it really is your own attitude that will turn any challenge that might potentially end a journey, into something that merely is another obstacle to handle so you can get on your way again.
Perhaps this last thought was adequately demonstrated by the toil and perseverance they experienced when a dilapidated wooden bridge gave way under Simon’s bike in a very remote section of the Brazilian rain forest, resulting in a bad accident. Simon was in great pain when he regained consciousness and was void of feeling in his left side. Unbeknownst to either of them, he had a broken neck and ribs. What they went through in the next 23 days as his wife directed themselves and their bikes to medical attention is worthy of a movie all on its own. Finally making it to a hospital in Sao Paulo, Brazil, the doctors were incredulous that he survived. Another 1.5mm neck motion during their ordeal since the crash, and he would have died or been paralyzed.
So what would you do after 23 days of harrowing torture with a beaten up body, culminating in five hours of surgery, and several weeks of recovery?
I would dare to say that most would pack it up and go home. However, Simon and Lisa became more determined to continue their journey. And on top of that, they both became debilitated with malaria before finally getting their trip going under full steam again to complete their South American tour before heading to North America.
Their presentation featured some great photography by Simon; and their talk was punctuated with an entertaining repartee between two long-distance riders who know how to enjoy life and pursue their dreams.
In fact, perhaps the most insightful tip is a view they both share:
There will never be enough money and the ‘time’ will never be convenient to follow a dream. If you want to ride around the world, or do anything that you dream, you just have to figure out how badly you want to realize your dream and decide if you can accept the consequences of making it happen. Don’t keep putting your dreams and desires off to the future. You can always find a way to make it happen.
So, which is the best long-distance motorcycle?
Here is Simon’s view: “All bikes have their advantages and disadvantages. Whichever one is best is whichever one you are most passionate about. The one that is best for you is the one you want to get on and ride day after day after day.”
Simon and Lisa are an inspirational example of determined riders on a personal odyssey. They quit their jobs and sold their house to pursue their dream.
Dare you consider what it would take to fulfill your dreams?