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The following companies and organisations have helped me a lot over the years, I'd like to thank them all and recommend them to you.
Easily the best resource in the world for anyone considering a long distance motorcycle journey, as well as being interesting reading for everyone else.
The guys and women who also ride BMW GS bikes and who have been so enthusiastic and supportive from the early days of my travels. Particularly Steptoe at gsshop.co.uk
Although I like to travel at a lingering pace, there are still long days on the bike. After a couple of hours numbness sets in on the backside and I start to fidget. Step in Bill and his great slogan "Any bike, any butt". I had a customised seat crafted especially for me and what a difference it made, I left his workshop and rode for nine hours straight without a twinge, I'm now a true convert.
Definitely the best sunglasses that you can wear on a motorbike, they fit under the helmet so comfortably you don't know they're there and they keep every bit of grit and dust out.
James and the team have supported me a huge amount over the years, they've been there for me when I've returned form a long journey with a bike that needs a lot of TLC and also when I've emailed from some obscure part of the world to ask about strange noises in my engine.
David Grist and the team have generously supported and helped me with the intricacies of motorcycle travel insurance for most of my journeys.
Having done a lot of my riding two-up on Thelma, I am only too aware of the frustrations and limitations when you're unable to communicate clearly with your riding partner. The Autocom has proved to be the best intercom system available allowing us to chat and the pillion passenger to navigate.
Mick, who started Vallantine Motorworks was the one who helped to keep my Alaska to Tierra del Fuego dream alive. I camped in his garden until he let me in and took a look at Thelma's engine! Eight years later, he was also a great support on the trip to Labrador.
Metzeler have been making tyres for over 140 years and they've perfected the art of producing ones that are ideal for the long distance traveller - I particularly like the Tourance, a pair of those lasted all the way from England to Outer Mongolia (over 12,000 miles) with two people and all their gear on the bike through some of the most rugged terrain I have ever encountered. There was still life in them as well.
Dave and the team in Calgary were instrumental in keeping Thelma on the road when I had a gearbox problem on the way to Labrador. Dave re-built the gearbox and spotted a couple of other things that needed doing, he also hired me for a few days to help out.
On every trans-continental journey, there are going to be mountains and cold weather. I never leave without my Gerbings heated jacket and gloves, they've transformed mountain passes and winter riding for me and numb hands are most definitely a thing of the past.
Bob - one of the nicest guys you could meet and he runs a great BMW dealership in Maryland. Bob was one of the first in America to invite me to give a talk about my travels
The ultimate motorcycle travel company and great employers. If you too want to experience the amazing ride to Tibet and up to Everest Base Camp, take a look at their Silk Road expedition. One day they might even cover all the routes I've ridden!
Tran Am are the sole UK importers of Rukka jackets, the finest bike travel jacket I've ever used. It's stood up to the dust, dirt and falls of several trans-continental journeys and is still going strong. The durability of these jackets is legendary.
Our ears are fragile and prolonged motorcycle riding takes its toll. I'm now the proud wearer of customised ear plugs- yes, they might look like a pair of bright-coloured mangled jelly babies, but they really do block out the excess engine and wind noise. They're comfortable to wear and last a long time.
Roddy and Giles have been fantastic, Thelma was shipped home with them from New York. I've never had such a hassle-free drop off and Thelma was right on time with pick up at Chatham docks near London the easiest I've encountered after trans-continental shipping. Thank you to Giles for dealing with Customs so well, the guys there couldn't understand how my bike had been out of the country for three years and yet I only had a cross-channel ferry ticket to prove I'd taken Thelma overseas! I'd thoroughly recommend them to anyone considering shipping their motorcycle.