“Adventure bikes only”: the tall hi-vizzed marshal told a couple of riders trying to ease onto the already overcrowded Ace Cafe forecourt.


They'd come in their hundreds to support the Ace 'Adventure and Overland Travel Day' (22nd March), and they added to the regular Sunday crowd that turn up at this most famous biker venue beside the constant vehicle conveyor that is London's North Circular Road


Over the past couple of years when the motorcycle trade was still beginning to claw back positive registration statistics for motorcycling generally, the one category of new bike that had consistently shown up in the plus column during the recessionary period from '08 were those labelled 'adventure'. With BMW and Triumph being the main beneficiaries.


Plenty of those were on display, along with the orange liveried KTM's. They were only of limited interest, to me at any rate. Of more significance is the often eccentric hardware people choose to travel the globe - Honda C90's and CG125's, MZ 2 strokes, older BMW Boxer twins, ageing Honda Africa Twins – and the ingenious mods their owners devise to carry the required equipment. Bikes that are easy to repair at a roadside mechanics shack in the middle of Africa or wherever.


These are the bikes of tough individualists. But the other side of adventure travel is the organised tour, for those who are not able to bunk off work or life at home for months on end. There was a good selection of off the shelf adventure companies displaying their itineraries - Adventure Peru, who have now expanded to include Ecuador and Bolivia


: the latest Austin Vince led trek; 2,000 miles of the Spanish Pyrenees in two weeks with AJP: or the big one, London to Beijing in time for the opening of the Ace Cafe branch there, led by Globebusters


Beasts of Burden

Rob sporting a fashionable Wemoto necktube!

In the mellee of bikes and people there were two luggage laden bikes capturing more attention than others, and at two o'clock I discovered why. This was the starting point for two big around the world journeys. Their riders brought them to the exit point, where Mark Wilsmore, Mr Ace Cafe, was preparing a short speech and a flag off.

Darren, a big man on a big bike, a BMW 1150GS, that ubiquitous round the world tool. Next to him Rob and Lucy on a Honda CG125 that was hardly recognisable buried under the luggage...more of Rob and Lucy later. Quite a few of those who strike out across the planet use the Ace as the starting and/or finishing point, and it must be gratifying to be waved off by so many co-riders, many of whom would wish it was them.


Roads less travelled

The other aspect in the growth of adventuring is the writing of and publishing of ones exploits and experiences. The genre was well represented, with some regular names such as Sam Manicom and Chris Scott plying their literary wares. Plus a few new names and books. One of whom was Zoe Cano assertively flogging her book about the roads less travelled in the US on her Bonneville, to those who ventured near her table or gave it glance.


I was a 'victim' of her enthusiastic sales pitch and handed over some quids for 'Bonneville Go or Bust' which I'll review in the coming weeks.


Out of Nigeria

What is now called 'adventure biking' might seem like a new phenomena, but ever since someone slung an engine between two wheels, people have been taking off for long distances for whatever reason. It's usually the preserve of white people from developed countries; just one of the economic advantages many of us are privy to. But on March 1st two blokes from Nigeria became the first black Africans to set out on a round the world venture they're calling 'Out of Nigeria'. They are making their way north through Africa and into Europe and on to the Scandinavian countries with a film maker; riding, yep you've guessed it BMW1200GS's

I left the event as others were departing and some of the stands were being dismantled. I was heading across to south London for tea and a chat at my brothers...Dave Newman of tales from Turkey fame in these pages.


Sweet Thames, run softly

Cruising along the Thames Embankment I did a double take amidst the traffic. Was that the Rob and Lucy CG125 parked up on the wide pavement with Rob and Lucy sitting on a bench overlooking the river? I turned the bike round and parked up imagining some early machinery failure that I may able to help with.

All was well. Rob's ferry wasn't until later and they were just chilling in the late afternoon sunshine. Seeing them ride away from the Ace I was 'concerned' that this little bike would not carry two people round the world. But Lucy was only a brief pillion, she would be saying farewell to Rob, but flying out to join him when he reached CapeTown.


His original plan had been to get to Egypt and ride down through the East African countries, but as we all know this country and others in the region are frequently in turmoil. Rob had been told of a boat that sailed from Italy through the Suez canal and would deliver him further down into Africa where he could ride more safely. After Cape Town he intended shipping the bike to Buenos Aires, Argentina for the next leg. Big luck and best wishes to him and Lucy, and Darren and the rest of the adventurers out there.  

John Newman for Wemoto News

Been on a similar adventure or planning one? Drop us an email at
Posted by John Newman
for Wemoto News on 01 April 2015 in General News

Edited By: Lucy England



Sign up to receive updates and new posts straight to your in-box.



Supplying quality after market motorcycle parts direct to the trade