Ted Simon at the Touratech Travel Event
Guest of honour at the 2015 Travel Event was Ted Simon, an original among adventure riders. Simon rode around the world in the 1970s (1973-77) on a Triumph Tiger T100 (500cc twin-cylinder).
Interviews by Jon Bentman
A Fleet Street journalist, Simon was able to evoke the sights, sounds (and smells!) of his journey probably better than any writer before, or since, and his book of his adventures, Jupiters Travels, became a worldwide bestseller, not just within the motorcycle community, but with all manner of society and cultures (its still in print to this day). He made a second, three-year, circumnavigation starting in 2001, then aged 70, retracing his original route, witnessing the changes in the world that three decades had brought (to be found in Dreaming of Jupiter). For many he is the Godfather of the current adventure motorcycling phenomenon.
Could you have imagined in 1973 that adventure motorcycling could ever become as popular as it is today?
TS: When I started out on my travels I had no idea anything like this would happen. I have received so many letters and now emails from people telling me Ive done something thats changed their lives, and thats an extraordinary thing to live with. But I dont think I can take credit for people going adventuring, its already there in the nature of people.
Obviously much has changed. With your Triumph you had to make your own travel equipment, now people can choose from thousands of items from a 1,924-page catalogue!
TS: Yes, when I was travelling I was trying to invent the very things Herbert has made, just for myself. I recall thinking, my goodness, there is so much one could do, its a tremendous opportunity. But Im a writer, not an engineer or a businessman, so it was for someone else, like Herbert, to do it. Im full of admiration for him for what he has done.
Do you think then that there is a link, or a common attribute between you and Herbert and Jochen?
TS: We all have multiple possibilities in our lives and if we are lucky we get to chose the ones that suit us the best, and bring out the best in us creatively and in terms of our own satisfaction. So Im not all envious of Herbert and Jochen, but I do feel weve come from the same place, in that we love the world and we love the idea of people going around it. I try to help by making some kind of inspiration for others to do it. Herbert and Jochen do it by giving them the means to. I think were both on the same side, no question about that!
Before your travels youd never ridden a motorcycle. We take it the motorcycle was the right choice?
TS: Thats true, I knew nothing about motorcycles and I hadnt even ridden one when I decided to make the trip. I did also have an idea to make the trip on a donkey, but the motorcycle is more practical. I could put it this way there is more petrol to be found around the world than grass! Even to this day I dont think there is a better means to seeing the world, the motorcycle is the perfect vehicle, cheap, flexible, you can take it apart, pack it onto a boat, a truck or a plane. And you sit on it, not in it, so you see things, smell things.
In all your travels what would you say is the single most significant aspect, the one thing that makes the journey worthwhile?
TS: Making contact with people as you travel I think that is one of the main things about travel.
Thanks for coming to the Travel Event Ted, and for answering our questions. Well see you next year!
TS: Ive really enjoyed it, Ive been impressed by the enthusiasm and enjoyment Ive seen here, its been wonderful meeting all these people and yes, Id really like to come back!
Watch the full Ted Simon interview on video
WE LOVE THE TRAVEL EVENT (& TOURATECH!)
Ive been coming to this event since the very first and its amazing how its grown bigger every year and become more professional. And its been fun to see how the bikes have changed. In the beginning we came with that previous generation of adventure bikes, singles like Ténérés and Suzuki DRs, bikes like that, now the bikes are bigger and the riders older!
I love this event for here were among people with a heart for adventure, you feel youre among people just like yourself and thats why for me its important to camp at this event, and not stay in a hotel, it feels so good to be among these people.
Every year this event is growing bigger and bigger, like the adventure scene itself. And its growing in a nice peaceful style, internationally, around the world, and its good to live within this scene I love it!
Peera Lao, Touratech Thailand:
This is my first Travel Event here in Niedereschach, its very exciting to be here and to find so many people, friends, that I know. Ive brought 19 people with me for this and now they are everywhere, all over the Travel Event, and I know they are having a great time doing lots of shopping too but its going to be a job to find them all at the end of the day!
Okay, Im not a visitor, Im part of the team here, looking to entertain all these people. But this event makes me feel proud, as it does for all of us here at Touratech. The best thing for us is to see the people happy, smiling, enjoying themselves, and to feel that they are going home afterwards feeling inspired.