The Future of Adventure Riding after Covid

 

During those days of confinement, Fuel Motorcycles thought it would be a good time to organize a dialogue with some of the well-known motorcycle travelers to consider the impact of the pandemic on two-wheeled travel. Questions such as how has this situation affected you? or how will long journeys change after COVID 19? and many other questions that we want to share with you!

Did you have a trip planned for this year? Where? Have you postponed or canceled your trips this year?


I had quite a few planned actually; both personally and for work. Down here in South Africa, my best friend Alan (@alanshenton) and I own a really cool adventure company called Bonafide Moto Co. We have a local community of riders as well as international riders who join us on some of our moto-adventures in Sub-Saharan Africa.
I was lucky enough to have just squeaked in a recce with a group of friends just before the lockdown to the southwest region of India, known as Kerala, they also call it ‘God’s own country!” How dope of a name is that? It’s a magnificent place. We called it The Lost Tusk and were planning to go back to India in November this year and would host two different rotations of the trip we had done. That’ll have to wait until next year I assume. We have also canceled our trip to Sani Pass which was scheduled for May, and our “In Search of Swazi Gold” moto-adventure is currently on hold. It’s scheduled for October, so we’ll have to see what happens between now and then.
The other trip I was really excited to go on was actually with you guys. Fuel had invited me to join in on the 10th anniversary of the Scram Africa and it was something I was really looking forward to! I’ve never been to that part of Africa and of all the adventures I’ve been on nothing has really compared to what you guys put together there in Morocco. Hopefully, it’ll happen at some point, but if not we’ll just have to do a trip somewhere else with you guys!

When do you think we´ll be able to travel normally to other countries/continents again?


That’s a really tough question for me to answer. I’m a really optimistic guy and I always try and hope for the best. I suspect that early next year that travel will be enabled for the vast majority of people and borders will open again. What I am concerned about is what types of restrictions will be in place.
I’m an adventure photographer and my passion is to travel around the world on motorcycles and documenting the trips. I’ve always felt super grateful that I’ve had the ability to do that over the years and it’s been a tough pill to swallow at the moment being confined to home with extremely limited means of any type of travel at the moment. For whatever reason, this is happening and it’s given me an opportunity to focus on other things within our business. Just as the lockdown started here in South Africa, we started the Bonafide Moto Show, which is an Instagram Live show 3 days a week featuring amazing people from all over the world. I’d say my heart was a bit sore that we wouldn’t be able to connect with our friend's audience outdoors anymore, and I really wanted some way for us to connect with them as well as finding a way to entertain folks during a difficult time in our lives.

Do you think that the “local” trip (own country) will increase?


100%. It’s funny, over the past year or so we’ve really been focusing on Bonafide Moto Co. adventures being done in other countries outside of Africa and we’ve also been focusing on bringing international riders here. I’d say with focusing on that so much it kind of took away the focus of our hyper-local market here in South Africa which is really amazing. We’ve met some really great people over the years at our training events, weekend rides, and especially on the Sabie Bubble Run. As soon as the lockdown is lifted here and we can gather in groups (safely) again we’ve got some great rides planned for our area and really putting all of our attention into the local happenings.
It’s pretty much certain that we will be able to do things here locally in groups, but what we aren’t certain about is what it will be like getting into other countries. So for now, we’ll do what we can while keeping a close eye on other countries and if they’re opening back up.

Do you think people will use different kinds of vehicles to travel, more motorbikes and cars than airplane rides? Why? How do you think


I was actually thinking about that the other day funny enough. Ever since my trip to India earlier this year, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it and I really want to go back. Something about the scenery, the people, the culture, and the food really stuck with me. I’m a bit sad that we won’t be doing the Lost Tusk as we planned in November this year, but India will always be there I’m currently looking for other ways to travel there for work. We had Niels Peter Jensen on the show a few weeks ago who run Helmets for India, and I feel like him and I have the same type of connection with India. He has a really amazing initiative that he’s doing there providing helmets to kids on motorcycles. There are SOOOO many people there riding without helmets and he’s slowly fixing that problem little by little. I’m hoping I can go back there with him as a photographer for them (wink wink). Anyway, the point of the story you asked was that, when I was thinking if they don’t allow flights to India, could I just ride there instead? Hahaha. Even though the answer is yes, I don’t have that kind of time to take away from my family or work. It would be really amazing though!

How do you prepare yourself for this kind of post-pandemic scenario for a trip? Do you know bout insurance changing covers or prices?


This is something that I haven’t really thought about yet as it seems a bit too far off to start thinking about. I am a bit concerned that insurance may change when traveling overseas, and the cost of flying places I’m sure will definitely increase as I imagine they’ll also be needing to make more space in between people on flights.
Traveling, in my opinion, will no doubt cost more to do and I’m hoping that for the type of work I do that I’ll still be able to travel the world with Bonafide Moto Co and do photography for brands.

Can you describe to us shortly which things you should add to your travel equipment now?

At the moment I guess I only see a few things that this current situation would make me pack differently; masks (but I bring buffs with me on every trip), more hand sanitizer, and more baby wipes.

Do you see your riding gear changing for any COVID-19 reason?


Not particularly. I guess the only thing that would need to be adjusted to this current pandemic is maybe wearing a full-face helmet. I love wearing an open face helmet although it is much more dangerous. I enjoy not having my face covered up when I’m traveling as it makes for an easier way to introduce myself to people and greet them. Also, it feels better to have my face in the wind. I guess I’ll need to make sure I’m wearing a mask when traveling through cities.
Are you guys going to be making any cool masks or buffs? I’ll take one!

 

Do you think that the way of traveling will change forever?

Like I said above I’m an optimist and I really hope it doesn’t change significantly or become unreachable for my family and me to afford. I hope that I’ll still be able to provide for my family by traveling around the world working, taking people on trips and that after we’ve paid some bills we’ll be able to travel as a family back to other countries. If not, Southern Africa is pretty amazing and it will be easy for us to do more Overlanding trips together. But I really also want to take my family to India one day! Did I mention I love India? ;)

Did you have a trip planned for this year? Where? Have you postponed or canceled your trips this year?

Yes, I had a few trips planned, but the big one this year was a ride in the Himalayas in India. It's has been a long time in the making, but due to the current situation, it's on hold. It might still happen this year and will wait till the end of June to make the final desition. If not, it will be next year; in place perhaps a few trips to the continent depending on how the situation unfolds.

When do you think we'll be able to travel normally to other countries/continents again? 

How we travel post-COVID 19 is going to change; there is no question about that. We will have to follow the government guidelines for each country although you can travel to some countries now but will have to quarantine for fourteen days which makes it difficult. The insurance policies will have also have changed, so that's another thing to bear in mind. 

In the UK the Government reviews the situation every three weeks so will have to wait and watch, I am hopeful travel restrictions will ease over the next couple of months.

Do you think that the "local" trip (own country) will increase?

The day rides will undoubtedly increase, weekend trips not so much as people are wary about the situation, and it's essential that we put the safety of the people first.

Do you think people will use different kinds of vehicles to travel, more motorbikes and cars than airplane rides? Why? How do you think

I see people traveling on their vehicles a lot more than they would usually. We have seen many companies adopting working from home and seeing its possibilities. As a result, I think there will be reduced traffic and a lot happening locally which will inevitably lead to an increase in local micro-economies.

For the most part, I think people are still apprehensive about travel at least for the time being. However, the situation is improving day by day, we have been confined to our home for a while now, I am sure like me many people are eager to travel.

Anyone flying will have to follow a number of rules to reduce the risk of coronavirus spreading via air travel, according to guidelines that have been issued to airports and airlines by the EU's air safety body. These measures will dramatically change the way people travel by air, are expected to be adopted by all EU member states, with the UK likely to implement similar rules.

I think more than ever; people will be carefully considering their mode of travel more than ever before.

How do you prepare yourself for this kind of post-pandemic scenario for a trip? Do you know about insurance changing covers or prices?

A lot has changed, so it's imperative if you are planning a trip to research as much as possible and keep updated with the latest developments on the situation. It's even more critical to keep up to date with the rules of the region and country you are traveling to. 

With regards to the Insurance, I have not looked into it in detail but am sure there are going to be many changes. Still, claims related to coronavirus are now likely to be excluded from any travel insurance policy, as it is considered a "known event" that travelers are aware of. 

Can you describe to us shortly which things you should add to your travel equipment now?

In addition to the gear I usually take, I will certainly be adding a facemask, a sanitizer, and anti-bacterial wipes.

Do you see your riding gear changing for any COVID'19 reason?  

Other than adding a face mask, I don't see much of my riding gear changing.

Do you think that the way of traveling will change forever

Travel went from being as popular as ever at the beginning of 2020 to grinding to a complete and indefinite halt by mid- to late-March. We've seen more than a hundred thousand lives cut tragically short. Those factors will combine to create a world in which travelers will no longer put off making the trip they've been dreaming of for months, years, or even longer — once it's safe to explore, of course.

The way we travel will change as the world eventually reopens. Precisely what those changes might be, remains to be seen. Undoubtedly, expect a lot of new rules and restrictions with hygiene and sanitation being top priority.

After all this time at home, travelers and adventurers are going to be craving fresh air — and lots of it. We are likely to see an influx of people traveling once this pandemic is in the rearview.

Did you have a trip planned for this year? Where?
I hope to go to Spain ;), Morocco and Western Sahara in Sep & Oct

Have you postponed or canceled your trips this year?
Many trips have been planned and I should have already 20k on my speedo. Morocco and West Africa have been postponed and a road trip to the Balkans is close to being canceled (Fri we need a decision)

When do you think we´ll be able to travel normally to other countries/continents again? 

Today it was announced that the borders between Germany, Austria, and Switzerland will be open again on June 15th. This will be the day I will cross borders. But this is far from normal – so I guess/hope that with Sep/Oct we are going back to be a Union without borders

Do you think that the “local” trip (own country) will increase?

For sure! We should have our Newchruch Festival late June and even the event is canceled, many people already posted on FB that they will come anyway. A friend and I are going on a road trip (scouting tour for an Austrian & German Edition of the Pothole Rodeo) to find cool and crazy places/routes for the event

Do you think people will use different kinds of vehicles to travel, more bikes, and cars than airplane rides? Why?


Maybe not different kinds but less. We have learned in the past weeks, that a Skype conference can be done in 2h instead of taking the plane to fly to South Africa for a 2h meeting. Airplane travel went back already in Sweden (due to Great?) and I assume that due to the current financial situation (Ari carrier) that ticket prices will increase (Lufthansa & Austrian Airlines are in big troubles – so are others). Maybe now it’s time to do what politicians always praying in case of environmental “crisis” – taxes on Kerosin…


Do you see your riding gear changing for any COVID'19 reason?  

I cannot see that coming – maybe more bandanas get sold as you then do not need a face mask.  


Do you think that the way of traveling will change forever?  

100% sure that this will be the case. I assume that there will be fewer shopping trips to NY. Also, I see that business trips will be less due to other possibilities and I also assume that more and more people will work from home. I can imagine that you lower your days in the office and therefore you will make fewer miles to work. If plane tickets get more expensive I think people will go more often by train and car/bike and/or are using as example night trains and take the bike with you (example: Vienna – Hamburg train from 8:00 PM to 6:00 AM is a super alternative for such a boring route. Plus you safe one night in a hotel and you are moving while sleeping)

Did you have a trip planned for this year? Where? Have you postponed or canceled your trips this year?

This year is a bit of a strange one for me, as after my accident in Nigeria I had to think things again and focus on my recovery first, so my trip plans are more related to this for now. However, once lockdown is over, as I should be able to ride soon, I am hoping to take this opportunity to maybe do a road trip in the UK or Europe if things allow. The second part of my Africa escape is unlikely to be this year, unfortunately.

When do you think we´ll be able to travel normally to other countries/continents again?

It’s a tricky one really, but I am hoping the end of the year will resume as normal.

Do you think that the “local” trip (own country) will increase?

Definitely, I think this is the perfect way to adapt to the current situation if you still want to enjoy what you love doing, and somehow it might be bad for a good, as I think we never explore enough our own countries, and it only fair to help the local businesses too.

Do you think people will use different kinds of vehicles to travel, more motorbikes and cars than airplane rides? Why? How do you think

People might choose to stay closer and hence not use planes to go on an overseas holiday. Because things won’t change overnight, It might take a will before things go back to how we used to travel but this is only a matter of time.

How do you prepare yourself for this kind of post-pandemic scenario for a trip? Do you know bout insurance changing covers or prices?

I don’t think this will completely change my way of traveling nor my way of being, I’ll just pack and go! but it is common sense to be careful. I have a hygiene routine I stick to when traveling, just like when I was traveling across Africa, where Malaria and Ebola are still very present and kills much more than the COVID 19.
I don’t think insurance prices will change upon this, at least they shouldn’t, and I hope they won’t ! if anything they would just make sure this isn’t covered I guess but Insurance is often a pain, and I know what I am talking about! (haha).

Can you describe to us shortly which things you should add to your travel equipment now?

I always travel with a little bottle of disinfectant gel so this will definitely stay with me. And I will add a mask in my emergency travel first aid kit.

Do you see your riding gear changing for any COVID'19 reason?

No, the basic motorcyclist attire is quite protecting I think to start with..gloves, helmet (and often a scarf underneath covering up your nose if you leave in England), glasses, goggles or visor.


Do you think that the way of traveling will change forever?

This is certainly a tough time, but I can’t imagine this will change our way of traveling forever, as much as I am astonished by the good that it did to our planet!

Did you have a trip planned for this year? Where? Have you postponed or canceled your trips this year?
Indeed! I did have several trips planned for 2020! I was on my way to Mongolia after a month-long expedition along the beaten paths in Rajasthan while the news of the worldwide lockdown was coming into effect. Hence I decided to fly straight to where my parents are based – Kerala. My parents are quite elderly and for my peace of mind, it was important for me to make sure that I was with them. And also, there isn’t a better place in the world to sit back, take a pause, isolate and gather your thoughts, than around my family village in Guruvayur.
I was planning to head to Europe for the summer after spending the past couple of months in India. The plan was to fly straight to London, pick up the biking gear I left at my friend’s attic, and head to Madrid as I had a campaign planned with Triumph and their scramblers. For now, this is looking possible more around mid-August.
There were also one or two Motorcycle based festivals which I was going to work on, with one of them being the ‘The Great Malle Mile’ which involved riding from the top of the British Isles to the South, using only the back routes of scenic British backgrounds.
This was scheduled for June but due to the current state of affairs once again, we will have to see how things will pan out in the next few months. Hopefully September. ;)
The trip I am most hoping for this year is my two-month expedition from Central America to Patagonia with two of my friends based in the States. The plan was to get to Houston and start the ride to Latin America from there, although judging by the current political climate I most probably would fly to Mexico and begin my journey from central America. The end of October is the start of fair weather in the continent so it would be awesome if borders are less stringent by the end of 2020, fingers crossed!
When do you think we´ll be able to travel normally to other countries/continents again?
I would normally take an optimistic approach to most gloomy things in life, things are so unpredictable now we can’t put money on an exact time or date of when things would end up being normal. The only thing we have control over is our own safety and to make sure we keep ourselves and our loved ones healthy.
Bars, shops, cafes have now opened in most European cities (albeit without full capacity). So if I was going to make an educated guess, I would think normalcy in traveling would presume beginning just before Autumn. I think the airline & tourism sectors would have to start getting things back on track before they suffer they incur more losses to their industry.
Of course, it won’t be the same! Traveling won’t be as straight forward as before due to newer restrictions and rules imposed on travelers due to the pandemic.

Do you think that the “local” trip (own country) will increase?

It will definitely increase as this lockdown has created a sense of ‘togetherness’ amongst the local population even though they spent the best part of two months away from each other! Local businesses and entrepreneurs have taken a devastating hit during this pandemic hence I can see a drive from governments and the general population to promote & support the local economy through increased local spending. It will take time for everyone to get back to full confidence in traveling abroad and staying healthy so I can see a lot of inter-nation weekend trips, week-long expeditions, and staycations being trendy for a while.
Do you think people will use different kinds of vehicles to travel, more motorbikes and cars than airplane rides? Why? How do you think
 
I would have thought it would wholly depend on if the airline industry is successful in enticing stakeholders back into flying/traveling like they used to. The air seems cleaner, quieter with less pollution being evident around us. This could influence people to travel less abroad but also if airlines decide to hike up their fares, it would result in fewer people flying abroad or domestically. If this pandemic has forced ticket prices to be slashed, then I would think travelers would go back to using airplanes.
How do you prepare yourself for this kind of post-pandemic scenario for a trip? Do you know bout insurance changing covers or prices? 
How do I prepare myself mentally, physically, or prep the general admin needed?
I have a standard annual International Travel insurance along with an International Motorcycle Rider insurance which lasts for a year. I need to read up on it once I renew both of these, but it would not surprise me to see newer clauses and increased quotes from insurance firms after this pandemic which would definitely have an influence on travelers.
Can you describe to us shortly which things you should add to your travel equipment now?
 
Medical Masks, Air Filter masks, Designers masks, AND Hand Sanitizers (Loads of them!)  I normally pack vitamin tablets to make sure my immune system is on point while traveling. 
 
Do you see your riding gear changing for any COVID'19 reason? 
 
I don’t see my gear changing drastically unless something is introduced in the market which would enhance the riding experience and safety, particularly for the post-pandemic era. Aside from that, I think air filtered riding masks could end up being a trend.
Do you think that the way of traveling will change forever?  
 
Nothing lasts ‘forever’ – I would say currently there are ‘new-normals’ that we would have to adhere to for our own safety and the safety of others. I can understand people would be apprehensive about what’s to come when exploring somewhere new, so the progression to gain full confidence and excitement will take time, especially until there is a proven cure/prevention, which will then put everyone at ease.