The Right Stuff and the Good Stuff

London Docklands at Dawn

It’s a week now since the London Motorcycle Show, and that’s given me the chance to catch up, and to ponder a few things. I really like being at bike shows, and I’m delighted that the Traveldri-Plus company invited me to guest book sign with them. Traveldri’s owners Les and Jane Madge are two special people to work with. I first came into contact with them years back when I was just starting out as an author and wondering if yet again Sam Manicom was setting off into an adventure that perhaps he ought not to be! Readers of my books will know exactly what I mean by that…

Jane Madge on the Traveldri-Plus StandYears ago, when I first received an invitation to book sign on the Traveldri-Plus stand at the Motorcycle Show at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham, I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into. But this duo made me amazingly welcome and as I signed books I watched the two of them at work.

They have birthed and brought the firm to being the well-known company that it is in the UK. But what’s the company all about? They specialize in everything that you will need to go touring on a motorcycle, whether you plan a long distance adventure across exotic continents, or a two week tour through the snow topped giants of Scotland. And they have kitted out some very well known people. Just some of those are Chris Scott, Damon L’Anson, and Kevin and Julia Sanders of Globebusters fame.

Les has the perfect background for this job. He was a long-standing member of the Moorland Rescue Service on Dartmoor, is an enthusiastic camping man and has been a motorcyclist, I suspect, since he first wore long trousers! Combine these talents with Jane’s caring and enthusiastic nature and you have a firm that’s worth taking note of. And there’s one other vital ingredient too…

I really enjoy watching the two of them at work. In part because they always have open minds and they listen very carefully to their customers needs. This helps to make their customer service is second to none.

One of Les’s favourite sayings is, “Anyone can travel in discomfort.” I soon learned he firmly believes that if you have a great tent, a really good sleeping bag, an excellent sleeping mat, and a camping stove that really works; you can have an amazing time out on the road. I’m certain he’s right. These core investments are vital. If you sleep well, come what may, and you eat well, then you can have a dream of an adventure. Facing down the adversities of the road, or taking advantage of the unexpected opportunities are so much easier to do if you are awake and fit.

It’s all well and good buying things from the web but I for one miss the contact that talking face to face with an expert can give. And Traveldri-Plus’s logo will give you an idea of what they are about – ‘Quality kit for serious fun!’ In other words you won’t find cheaply made junk on sale with these guys. In these times of thin wallets I find myself a little concerned at the number of people who are prepared to sacrifice quality and sound advice for a little money saved. I watched this happen too many times at the London show. I too am always on the lookout for a bargain, but I know for sure that junk doesn’t cut it when on the road. Cut corners leak!

So have I made Traveldri-Plus sound like the best thing since sliced bread? I hope so. The ability to have a great time on the road is based on the foundation that well made kit gives you. You don’t need much, just the right stuff and the good stuff. Check out the Traveldri-Plus website and don’t be afraid to call for advice. Les and Jane will always give that to you. But please, don’t spend ages on the phone plumbing the depths of their experience and then go hunt out a deal that might be just a couple of quid cheaper. All that time and knowledge needs to be valued or one day we will find that we are left with only robots and answer phones to deal with. Can’t travel on the back of them! But you can on Traveldri-Plus.

I’m very pleased to show my support for Traveldri-Plus. I can’t fault them and how amazing is that!

London Docklands at DawnAnd talking of support, I’m delighted that so many friends from previous shows, clubs and events stopped off to say hello and to buy books. The feedback you guys have been giving me is really humbling. Thank you!

One of the things that this show really brought home to me is that I have a lot of work to do. I lost count of the number of times people said words such as this to me – “You have four books out now! Why have I never heard of them?”

Of course the reality is that by making the books happen over the last six years, I’ve spent most of my time writing and that’s left hardly any time for getting the word out about them. I suspect that most of the sales to date have been as a result of word of mouth. So, if you are one of those who have been spreading the word for me, I’d like to thank you. I really appreciate your help.

I look forward to seeing you at the next show or presentation.

And finally, it was fun to be involved in the launch of Robert Wicks’ new book The World’s Great Adventure Motorcycle Routes. The book is packed with fantastic rides and stunning photographs. I’m pleased to say that it has an article from me included – ‘The Golden Triangle’. I had fun with this tale. Rather than choose an off-road route, I selected one of the most exciting on-road routes through one of the most challenging countries in the world for a motorcyclist to ride.

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