Sunday, May 22, 2016

A day out at the Touratech Travel Event

Touratech is a German company that makes accessories for motorbikes. We're not talking seat covers with little hearts on or 'go faster' stripes here, but everything you need 'for your next adventure': vehicle equipment, riding gear, travel equipment, navigation and clothes. Their catalogue is the ultimate biker porn.

Bike with kit and Touratech teddy
They have a shop in Orange, and every year, organise the Touratech Travel Event at the Parc des Expositions. The programme is a varied mix of talks, rides out, workshops, skill testing, etc. We go, naturally, as Orange is just an hour up the autoroute, and it's a good day out. Not just for the stands that sell adventure packages in far-flung spots across the globe for thousands of euros each, or the vehicles of all sorts on display, but for the presentations by bikers who have actually been and come back from an expedition.

We thought about buying this for fun... (€32K)
If you think this sounds like a bunch of hairy bikers showing a few holiday snaps of big bikes and pints of beer, it isn't. Yesterday we listened to two women talking about what they had done, where they had been, and what they had seen.

One was a young woman called Stéphanie Bouisson whose team participated in this year's BMW GS Trophy
"Adventure, foreign cultures, new friendships, gravel, sand and dust make BMW Motorrad's International GS
Trophy an Enduro challenge that is second to none. International teams compete in intensive daily stages as
well as numerous special challenges. This also applied to the International GS Trophy 2016, which took place
in spring in the impressive landscape of Southeast Asia."

Look at this beaut!
Another speaker was Marie-Hélène Cambon, who, with her husband Jo, rode from Bordeaux to Iran on their motorbikes, stayed a month in Iran, and rode all the way back again! Their video of the trip was just stunning. Iran has some fantastic scenery, beautiful monuments, and welcoming people. A blog describing their trip with some of their photos can be seen on their website here.

Is is a bike, is it a car? No, it's a 3-wheeler d'enfer!
One of the themes we heard in all the talks was the desire by the biker adventurers to meet people along the way. Not just fellow bikers, but the local population, and they all talked about some of the amazing people they came across. A far cry from insular biker gangs who are just interested in themselves and duffing up others.

My toes touch the ground - must be my size... !
We listened to a talk by a guy who had shipped his bike over to South America and ridden from Valparaiso to Ushuaia and back. Again, amazing stories of the people he met, places he stayed, and the most incredible scenery.

Most of the bikers who gave talks were sponsored, or helped in some way by Touratech and other groups. In return, they agreed to talk about their trip at events such as the one this weekend.

The cutest car
The penultimate talk, however, was by Philippe Perrenoud, the guy who set up a Trail-Rando with his wife. He goes out and discovers trails and routes for Enduro adventures, then sets up an itinerary, makes all the arrangements and sells the result. He told us about he goes about discovering the trails which is a long and pain-staking business going down every single likely path.

He has set up trails all over the world, including in France, with, for example, a diagonal route from Deauville to La Ciotat. These trips have to be accompanied by a guide because the trails go through farms, need permission from everyone along the way (some 200 paysans) and can thus only take place a certain number of times per year. You meet the farmers along the route, and are welcomed rather than cursed. Baggage is carried on ahead, and all you have to do is enjoy the route.

We came away with our heads spinning with all the views, the stories, and enthusiasm for adventure.


  1. Wow! What a day out - one that you'll remember for ever, it seems. Those stories sound incredibly inspiring and I hope you and your DB have some amazing ideas and the encouragement to go for something splendid yourselves?! What a great idea for Touratech to sponsor them and they give a talk. And those cars - fantastic! Must be hard not to stand there and just stroke them.... You're looking good Sarah. They suit you :))

    1. Thanks, Anya, I did enjoy myself pretending to own those lovely vehicles! :)

      We do have some amazing ideas. Putting them into action, however, is a different thing. My main constraints are my kids and my job. :)

  2. Amazing how kids and work manage to get in the way....
    Those travelers' tales must have been fascinating.And tempting.

    1. Yep, responsibilities and money (the need for) do indeed get in the way for the moment, but we'll get there eventually. :)
      The travellers' tales were amazing. Being on a bike is a great way to discover the world.

  3. Wonderful adventures, but I still like the one about your helmet and the cat.

    1. Haha, the little sod certainly left his mark! The smell still hasn't come out, although it's fading! :)

  4. Must have been a fun day out and amazing travel stories to go with it all. Hope all is well Diane

    1. It was all very interesting and made us want to leap onto the nearest bike and set off. :)

  5. I often wondered how companies organised bike/walking trails where your luggage moves ahead of you - had no idea it might involve one chap checking out every option before deciding on a route: that's some commitment!

    1. It is! He told us of one time when he came across a spot that had 9 trails leading off it. He went down every one as far as he could. Did 8 in one day, did the 9th the next day and it was the one that was fab.


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