I was surprised to hear that the so called “Dual-Sport” or “Adventure” bikes make up the largest segment within the motor bike industry in terms of sales. We all love the freedom a bike can give you even accepting the risk of riding one given the mayhem on our roads.
This growth made me curious and I asked my friend Heine Engelbrecht who runs a training academy to enlighten me. Heine’s reply was simple” Adventure biking is a life changing experience that puts you in touch with the real world” he said” You travel and see new places and meet new people who become your friends”
I was involved in some of the southbound logistics for the trip” Long Way Down” where Ewan Mc Gregor and Charley Boorman drove down Africa from London to Cape Town and received an autographed copy of the book and DVD that was published afterwards, this in itself stimulated an interest in these machines.
Heine then told me that the sport has a broad appeal and allows one to do that ”bucket list” of road trips over time, ”It’s good for the soul” he says. However the first thing one needs to do is complete recognised training as these machines are large and one needs to learn the intricacies, that’s the area where Heine and people like Jan Du Toit are specialists.
The next step will be to get experience by doing a few short trips, this exposes you to the sport without being taxing, a few simple weekend out rides will allow you to test your newfound skills, your attitude as well as your bike and equipment. Remember if you are travelling by yourself you will be alone for long stretches and need to be able to cope .Good planning ensures that you have an end goal for each day which makes the trip worthwhile. It’s also important that friends and family know your itinerary with contact details in case of an emergency. Research your route be it short or long, you will know what to expect and areas of interest along the way. As much of the trip will be on gravel or sand roads you should factor this into your route planning as your speed will obviously be reduced.
Then you need to have an open mind about the trip, your plans may not always work out and you need to be able to adapt. According to Heine fitness is of paramount importance, a loaded bike is heavy and you need to be able to manoeuvre it as well as picking it up if it falls. Fitness also helps as sitting for long distances can put strain on one’s back and legs. It’s also important to take regular rest and do some stretching exercises.
Then there is the issue of travelling by yourself or with a companion, if you have a friend with similar views then it’s best to go together, in that way one can assist one another and it is less boring, also safer. You will share the good moments and the possible hardships that such a trip may hold.
It is also important that you have the correct insurance cover for your bike as you will be off-road much of the time. You need comprehensive cover that extends to Off-Road use .See that repatriation and medical expenses are also covered especially if travelling into neighbouring countries. And ensure that the cover for theft is also available locally and across our borders.
Lastly ensure that accessories, locks and keys, accommodation and vehicle hire in event of an accident or theft are also included in your policy
For further information on training Heine can be contacted on 083 226 1494 or via www.adasa.co.za , should you wish to know more about Cross Country’s “Dirtsure” policy go to www.ccic.co.za or chat to your broker!