Motorcycle Outreach

Bit of a shout out for this charity as it is one which is a pretty darn mega!  Motorcycle Outreach’s (MoR) goal is to be able to improve and introduce sustainable and effective delivery of healthcare to remote areas in developing countries.

As with many developing countries, communities tend to be spread out over vast areas of varying and often tough terrains.  Despite aid being available the lack of working and well maintained vehicles means aid is either distributed irregularly or even non existent to remote communities leaving hundreds and thousands of people to die each year from even the most simplest and preventable healthcare issues.

By working in coordination with government and non-government organisations, MoRs implements structured vehicle management systems which ensure vehicles aimed at delivering aid go through a series of frequent preventative maintenance and repairs.  By operating this proactive and proven set up, health ministries can then continually provide a zero breakdown healthcare system thus delivering crucial aid to hundreds, if not thousands.

Please take some time to peruse Motorcycle Outreach’s website at and support them where you can be it through spreading the word of this organisation or donating!


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Day of Champions 2012 – Riders 4 Health

Every year hundreds of motorcycle enthusiasts flock to Silverstone to experience the “Day of Champions”, a most stupendous event organised to help raise money for Riders 4 Health… and this year Riders invited us along! Wheeeeeee super exciting!!

Up and out early as birds we had a bit of a fighting journey battling gusty winds on the motorway.  I have to admit that as a newbie to riding being beaten about by the elements is quite a new experience to me, particularly on clear motorways at high speeds!  During my tiff taff with Mother Nature, I decided in my helmet that this new sensation can only be described best as having a load of bath towels hurled at you constantly, wrapping and sporadically tugging at you in various directions.  Even the accompanying noise seems to suit well!  Next time you’re out riding just give it a thought and see what you think!   I digress… up and out, we tootle along to Silverstone and arrive all too excited to see the Riders Helmet and Leather deposit bus! (Sam’s just read this and says a “deposit bus” sounds a bit dodgy and says he thinks I mean a Helmet and Leather Coat Check Kinda thing… even he doesn’t know what to call it but you know what we mean!)  We honk, toot and wave manically (someone needs to teach me how to wave proper, I go from one extreme to another when waving and either look like the Queen or alternatively resemble a special person who’s been let out/escaped for the day) pull up and greet the Riders bus volunteers who, despite having no idea who on Earth these two wavey cheery people are, end up being superbly friendly!  After a brief chinwag we are advised where to find our Riders contact, park up the bikes, plonk our helmets away and ponder off into the great circuit that is Silverstone!

Although I have been up to Silverstone on various occasions before, I always seem to forget the sheer size of the place.  It’s GIGANTIC.  As Sam and I made our way through the bustling and growing happy crowds our attention was drawn by the lovely lady that is Riders fundraiser Liz (note, she has a muchos better hand-arm-coordination movement of waving than I)!  Bounding up she greeted us full of energy despite the vast and manic amount of organisation she was currently involved in for this amazing day!  Chuffed to finally put names to faces, Liz asked if we were ready to pop up on stage for a quick chin wag about our Chasing Horizons Charity Challenge and with a nod we weaved off through the crowds.  Now… at this point I must say that Sam and I had agreed to do a chat on stage the day prior and in our minds this “stage” would probably be quite wee.  How wrong could we have been.  You know the kind of festival stages you see at Glastonbury?  Big bowl shaped ones with TV screens and drum kits and all sorts?  Yeh?  Well that’s exactly what it was.  We both double took the stage, looked at each other bemused and commented on not knowing how we manage to get ourselves in to such situations!

We were on that stage and big screen! Ooerr! :D

After running around to the back entrance, we had no time to consider the scariness ahead, dumped our bags and within seconds were on stage overlooking all of Silverstone with its crowds of eager motorcyclists and families staring up at us.  Five minutes ago we had just pulled up in the Silverstone car park… and now we were on an enormous festival like stage!  Madness!  Complete madness!  Liz was introduced and despite her brief pre-nerves she proved to be absolutely mega on the mic.  We were then asked a variety of questions and with nervous smiles we pit patter our way through them!  It’s quite odd speaking from such a large stage… especially when from the corner of your eye you can see a HUGE screen of yourself!  All good fun though, a complete laugh in fact and in the end we waved and said a big thank you before disappearing back stage!

Liz had to dash (if she’d been in spandex she would have been mistaken for Anneka Rice that day!  Awesome super lovely crazy busy lady Liz!) so we took a moment to grab a cuppa and cake for a quick 5minutes chillax.  Having really only really watched rally racing in the past we both reflected on the fact we knew very little about the MotoGP and didn’t really know what to expect!  So when we went for an explore we were super happy to discover that the whole place was alive and utterly awesome! The stage was entertaining with quizzes, audience participation and interviews with some stupendously talented people and tremendous fundraisers!  People in the crowds were lovely and there were some fantastic stalls about with all sorts from second hand clothing (right bargains to be had!) to photography, Riders challenges, bikes, om nom food etc etc.  We chatted to so many people and were surprised to bump in to some who had travelled all the way from California for the weekend!  How wicked is that!?  It really shows how much of a draw and how superb the Day of Champions and MotoGP is!

No idea who this fella is but he was signing all sorts and a very happy chappy! What's up with his finger though!?

After a while we hopped on the bus and headed to the paddocks for a sneak peek at what the MotoGP teams were getting up to!  The night before all of this, I decided it would be wise to swot up on Google on some of the top MotoGP racers in case we bumped in to any thus saving Sam and I the embarrassment of me making a muppet of myself.  This swot up though… did not help me at all!  At the paddocks we made our way through huddles of enthusiasts all eager to meet and greet their idols which were these rather crazily young look lads handing out autographs left right and centre whilst having photos taken and all sorts.  Each face I was presented with did not make match with my google-look-ups so I had no idea who these obviously highly respected fellas were and like Sam, I was completely bamboozled and in awe that they were world class riders at their age and size!  They were WEE!  WEE I tell you!!  I figured I would try and get a few videos of a couple of them and in my puzzlement during filming I think I mention my theory of why they’re so young and wee… it’s obviously because at that age and size you’re more likely to bounce!  During filming I tried my best to ask some top class journalistic style questions… I’m not sure how successful they were though!  If anyone can enlighten us as to who these two confused riders are in the video below that would be mega!!

Walking about the paddocks was fascinating.  The MotoGP teams could be seen working incredibly focused on the frames and engines of the bikes.  Everything gleamed.  The tools were shiny and all had their place, there was space yet everything seemed to be filled with suitably compact and well designed items and the mechanics concentration was phenomenal, especially with an on looking crowd of gawpers hoping to catch a glimpse of someone famous.  Really it was quite impressive and we mused over the fact it was the complete opposite to our erratic semi-chaos oiled filthy like shed workings at home!  Music flowed from each garage to another which helped Sam and I determine which team was from what country.  The, what we presumed was British team, had “Weeeeeeeee are the chaaaaaampions” pooling out with mechanics sat in silence undistracted… whereas next door the Italian team

had the Cornetto song flowing and some dudes in red dungarees and a red cap saying “Eyyy Luigi! Itsa me, Mariooo!”! Okay. Perhaps a slight exaggeration but the Cornetto song was a definite and there was some Italian shruggage going on!  The experience was really quite unique, although if you closed your eyes it did sound very much like being in a dentist chair with the odd high pitch drill noise, soft background music and a light metal jangle from time to time which could easily be resembled to that of a tooth being tossed in a metal tin after extraction!  Dentist fearers, no closing your eyes at the paddocks, you will break into a sweat!

Super tidy Garage!

Other things which kept us amused included spotting the groupie wannabes… this wasn’t too hard!  To my surprise there were less of them than what I expected, but the ones that were there were right gems!  Most were sporting high heels, these new rather weird hot-pant-shorts that come up as high as Simon Cowells trousers, push up neon padded bras poking out from skimpy tops, wonky black hair extensions in freshly dyed but slightly purple black straightened manes, thick painted eyebrows leaving a constant look of shock, tarantula girthed eye lashes, you’ve been tango’d skin with a thick line of oranged foundation around the neck and a whiff of sickly sweet white musk… they were quite something!  One girl was heard exclaiming “Ooohmygawd, I am like, well ‘appy to be pretteh an’ everyfink, else I dant na wot I’d doo. AHAHAHA”.  All forms of LUSH!!  The best ones were those who were dressed like that but in their late 40’s!  Amazing!  Big it up for them though, if that’s what makes them happy then go for it!

We didn't have the guts to take photos of the groupies but we did spot these friendly ladies that made us giggle!

We also spent some time dishing out great admiration for the amazing line up of trucks and luxurious lounges with fake trimmed bushes outside, tinted windows, leather suites, cocktail bars and all sorts fancy pants stuff (you know those kind of places would have toilets in with bidets, classical music playing alongside pot pourri, moisturiser and Elizabeth Arden perfume)!  With them all set up ready to accommodate the glamorous stars, riders and VIPs soon to be arriving in the next 24hours it was quite impressive!

We later hopped on the bus and headed back to the main arena.  This was great timing as upon leaping off the bus we witnessed the arrival of hundreds of riders who annually do a charity ride to the Day of Champions in support of Riders 4 Health!  A lovely sight indeed (especially seeing the KTM 990 SMT pull up alongside… mmm yummy bike)!  It was pretty awesome to see them all be granted access to the track too and enjoy the experience of a couple of guided rides around the Silverstone track!  What an experience!

The afternoon was drawing in though and we decided after an early start and knowing we had a 3 hour windy ride ahead that it was time to make a move.  We said as many goodbyes as possible (sad though that we were unable to find the mad hatter that was Liz), geared up, hopped on our KTM 690 Enduro R’s 2012 (which stuck out like sore thumbs in the car park… over the HUNDREDS of bikes there we must have been the only two of a handful that were non sport bikes!)  and made our way home!

Hundreds of Bikes - Day of Champions 2012 Riders for Health

A truly amazing day and one all bike enthusiasts should pop to if they haven’t already!  Not only is it great fun but it also helps raise monies for the wonderful charity that is Riders 4 Health who help provide mechanical support, training and transport to areas in Africa which are incredibly in need.  To find out more about Riders, visit our charity page or their homepage .  At the moment all donations made are being doubled so if you have a spare penny or two and want to help out then please do donate to them (this can be done in under a minute through our just giving page here:


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Touratech Adventure Travel Event 2012

This weekend just gone Sam and I headed to the Touratech Adventure Travel Event in Wales where we had a Charity stall to promote the Wales Air Ambulance, Riders 4 Health and the World Land Trust. It truly was a fantastic weekend… despite the hiccup start (See “Stop… Hammer Time” post for more details)!

When we arrived on the Friday we have to admit we didn’t really know what to expect!  After a brief and lovely convo with General Manager Craig at Touratech, we were directed to a an area to pitch up and Sam pulled the bike up and hopped off.  Within seconds a chap rocks up on a Husqvarna chewing on a cigar, points to Calvin (KTM 690 Enduro R 2012) and says..

Cigar Man: “Is that yours?” *unsmiling*
Us: “Yup… going to be taking it around the world!”
Cigar Man: “Right well… pop the seat off…” *swings off his bike*
Us: *bamboozled* “Okay… sure…”
Cigar Man: “Lift that up over there…”
Us: “Done…”
Cigar Man: “Right… that setting is for crap petrol, so be sure to use that when you get shitty fuel, this one’s for easy riding… you need to be getting rid of the petrol cap because it’s useless… take a look at this too…”

… he went on for about 20minutes giving us some absolutely priceless hints and tips for the bike… we were gobsmacked!  Such an awesome fella… and we didn’t catch his name (hence “cigar man”!)!  This was exactly what the weekend was like!!  The sheer amount of wonderfully inspiring people we met with so many hints, tips and general chit chat and banter was phenomenal!
touratech-stand-ta-daThe setting up of the stand was good fun… it was like being in a power kite competition with gusts of winds giving us a good fight with the skies and earth!  Our spot was pretty mega with the food and beer tent to the left and the speakers tent directly in front!  Good stuff!  On our stand we had some big display boards for Riders for Health, Wales Air Ambulance and the World Land Trust along with a massive Helicopter Cake (Guess the Weight – Results Released weekend of 26th May 2012!), Cards, Leaflets, Rukka Gear, X Lites, Contour ROAM cameras and various other bits and bobs!  It looked pretty packed but wicked if we do say so ourselves!  We had so many generous contributions to our charities from the riders, we were astounded at the positive responses we had – a big thank you to all those who donated!  If you missed the opportunity and would like to make any donations please visit our just giving sites for the charities:

Just Giving – Wales Air Ambulance 
Just Giving – World Land Trust
Just Giving – Riders 4 Health 

Over the course of the weekend we had the amazing opportunity to meet with Sam Manicom who I can honestly say is one of the most overwhelmingly
fascinating and marvellous gentleman you could ever wish to meet.  Having hopped on a bike and within 3 months gone off and travelled the world on his todd, Sam had us both captivated with his stories, enthusiasm and faith in the communities he passed through.  To say I am excited about reading his books is an understatement… definitely ones for the kindle (take a look at his books and website… the guy is tremendous!)


Sam and Sam Manicom!

We also chatted with Caroline Taylor, the resident Doc for Nick Sanders Expeditions, and she offered us a realm of information about Mexico and Africa which we are just infinitely grateful for.  Not only that we met with a chap called Nathan who nuttily rode a 50cc back from the land of Oz in flip flops, Andreas Hülsmann a journalist and photographer (thanks for the tips on the D200!!) and so many more adventure riders (Jason, Lisa, Jon, Charlie, Kim, Rod, Craig, Barbara, Louise, Alec are just a few!).  Some people are just stupendous… there was one chap who approached our stand and was instantly saying how tremendous the Wales Air Ambulance service was.  Previously , he explained he was a marine and then became a climbing instructor but unfortunately for him on one unlucky day he had an accident and had to be air lifted to hospital.  He suffered spinal injuries but after muchos training, physio and determination he ended back on his feet.  Being unable to climb he decided to take up motorbike riding to ease his need for something adventurous and new, thus being at the event!  Had it not been for the crew which air lifted him he may not have been in such a fortunate position.  Such a lovely chap, so happy and grateful with such a beautiful story… you could see how much affection he had for the WAA through his eyes.  It’s people like him that amaze, inspire and makes us realise what a fantastic cause the Wales Air Ambulance are.

We had such an awesome time and were also super privileged to be surrounded by some other suprerb fundraisers including  Neurosupport, Help 4 Heroes (Dambusters 2012) and Motorcycle Outreach!  All amazing causes with a wonderful group of workers making it happen which we can only encourage you to support and raise awareness if you can!

All in all a stupendous weekend!  A Big big BIG THANK YOU to the General Manager that is Craig at Touratech for giving us some space to use and organising such a superb event!  It was so incredibly enjoyable and such an opportunity for us to gain so much knowledge and wisdom from a gorgeous bunch of lovely people! A Big big thank you again to all those who donated and offered help to support our charities – you’re all mega!

Keep smiling and catch up soon!

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Wales Air Ambulance Visit – 2nd March 2012

March 3, 2012 / Charity, My category / 0 Comments /

WAAWe had such a lovely day training the time flew by and so without thought when leaving Smart Motorcycle Training we made our way straight to Fairwood Airport to meet up with the Wales Air Ambulance Charity Group. Based just on the outskirts of Mumbles prior to Moorlake woods, it’s in a stunning location. Sam comments on what a superb ride it is over these commons on a motorcycle… something he had the pleasure to experience when passing through on his previous journey a few years back before returning fully to the UK. I could see where he was coming from. On a stunning day like today it would be stupendous – open gentle curvaceous roads with rolling commons as far as the eye could see, all sporadically littered with plumped four legged cotton wool creatures. What an awesome place to be based for work! Pulling into the airport we initially go straight to the café which is brimming with old boys drinking a tipple or too and reminiscing of their days in flight. We’re kindly directed to some units a bit further back up the drive and upon a knock at the door we’re greeted by a pleasant fellow who advises us we have to call the Wales Ambulance crew who will let us in the side gate. He offers us the use of the phone and passes the relevant number over.

Wales Air Ambulance: “Hello Fairwood Wales Air Ambulance base how can we help you?”
Clare: “Hey up is that Chris by any chance?!”
Wales Air Ambulance: “It is indeed!”
Clare: “Heeeeeeey hey Chris! How are you didderling?! It’s Sam and Clare here from Chasing Horizons! We’ve just finished our training and popped up to say boo!!”
Chris: *sounding a bit confused*…. “Heey… yeh good thank you!… Ermm… I will come let you in… see you by the gate!”

We thank the jolly chap for the use of his phone and wait outside in the rays of the soon-to-be-setting sun. A couple of minutes later a rather tall chap appears in a paramedics outfit and heads towards the gate smiling but looking a bit confused. Sam and I take a look at each other… we’re both a little surprised that the lead Charity Organiser is indeed a paramedic as well!

Clare: “Hey there Chris!! Nice to finally meet you!”
Chris: “Hello… I think you may have the wrong Chris! I’m not entirely sure who you guys are but pleasure to meet you anyway!” he begins to open the gate…
Clare: “Oh?! Really?!”
Chris: “Yeh I think you may be thinking of Chris from the fund raising office! I have no idea who you are but you sounded so friendly I figured I must know you and would come on down”
Sam: “I… I know you though… you… you’re from college?!”
*pause… they both study each other for a moment and then it clicks…*
Chris: “Ooooooh yeh… is it Sam? From Business Studies!?”
Sam: “YEeeeh! No way! Hey hey how are you doing mate!?!?”

Grant the pilot and PoochWe soon discover that we’d actually come to the wrong place entirely and the Charity Office was in fact just round the corner from where we had been training earlier! What planks! Despite it not being the Chris we thought we were meeting, we find it amusing that Sam actually knows him from college 20 years previous! Small world eh!? Chris takes us up to the helipad and after a few exchanges of old time stories between Sam and Chris, we end up revealing the charity round the world motorbike trip we’re doing for the Wales Air Ambulance. Being a biker himself, Chris is eager to learn more and invites us into their office for a cuppa where we’re greeted by the full crew! What a stupendous honour!

An hour goes by of exchanging tales of the job, our history, their backgrounds, the plans of the trip, taking a look at the Chasing Horizons webby and plenty of tea drinking and laughing.

Grant-the-pilot: “So how long do you reckon it’s going to take you then to get round the world?”
Sam: “Well considering we navigated ourselves to the completely wrong place in our own homeland, a darn site longer than we thought!”

The whole crew are lovely beyond belief and so incredibly welcoming and genuinely excited about our adventure. During our conversations, Chris suggests we both arrange a time to pop up and he’ll give us a one-to-one session on first aid training which he can tailor to be specific to our needs for the up and coming journey. Naturally this is an offer we cannot refuse and a gesture which reflects the generosity and kindness of the crew here.

After a bit more chinwagging we’re then led outside for an introduction to the helicopter… something which causes my geeky side to induce a flutter in the chest. There’s something quite profound about helicopters and both Sam and I exclaim how we find the physics of their workings a complete enigma. How do these gorgeously carved lumps of metal actually get off the ground by their so delicate looking blades!?! It’s mind boggling! But this one is even more baffling due to how it’s been so fantastically adapted for the job. As she’s opened up for us to see the insides though, there’s a shout out from the office… a job has just come in. We thank them so much for their time and quickly make our way towards the gate as the crew gather what they need and start the red beauty up. From beyond the gate we watch them quickly and efficiently climb aboard the now thumping helicopter with the sun setting in the distance over the common. What a stunning sight!


WAA taking off

Sam and I clamber back into our little hunkachunk of a Toyota Yaris and bundle off over the hills… yeh okay we fluffed up on where we were going that day but discovered the wonderful unit and crew there instead. We both chatted and agreed that upon hearing first hand of some of the incidents they attend, particularly their involvement with motorcyclists, it confirms yet again how unbelievably chuffed we are to be helping out these fellas do such an important service. It’s shocking how their service is all charity funded, it seems almost insane it’s not a government funded scheme. With the cost of each individual mission now raised to near £2000 and their need of £6million a year to stay afloat, we feel a great swell from within to do everything in our power to help them out.

If you have read this and want to know more about the Wales Air Ambulance or would like to make a donation to this fantastic cause, please utilise the links below!

We’d like to extend many thanks again to the team up at Fairwood for accepting our surprise visit and equally apologise to the Charity Fundraising Unit we were supposed to see!! Best get practising our directions and look forward to seeing you all soon!

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