Actor turned adventurer and motorbike fanatic Charley Boorman has presented loads of great TV series over the years, and has written some best-selling books detailing his motorcycle escapades, including Long Way Round, Long Way Down and By Any Means. He took some time out of his (very!) busy schedule to answer your questions from Cape Town in South Africa – before starting a 2 month ride across Africa!
Read on to see some of the highlights from the Q&A – and learn what Charley’s motorcycle must-have is!
A: Charley Boorman: Nice questions. The Long Way Up is on the table – but it’s not high up on the priority list. Both Ewan and I have lots of other projects – while Ewan’s movie career is massively successful so he’s not desperate to take a year off.
A: Charley Boorman: We’re looking at the Darien Gap in South America… but have another couple in the fire too… playing with a show called Boorman On Bikers… fingers crossed…
A: Charley Boorman: I’ve never really been one for travelling by myself. Sharing adventures with others is way more fun to me. The occasional ride by yourself is nice, great place to clear your head.
A: Charley Boorman: It depends where you live. I just came down from the west coast of Scotland and the roads there are incredible.
A: Charley Boorman: More eating than riding to be honest…He lives in LA!
A: Charley Boorman: The first bike I bought was a Yamaha DT100 and I still have it. Both my girls and my wife learned to ride on it!
A: Charley Boorman: Baby wipes…
Ian: You big softie!
Charley Boorman: It’s true. Every time I arrive in Africa, I buy a nice little pack of baby wipes – you’re seriously happy you have them sometimes. Apart from that, a good basic toolkit and a clever little petrol syphon pump I always use when in a big bike crew. The GSA has more fuel than the GS so I’m in essence the fuel tanker.
Q: Bree: Hi Charley! I’ve always wondered, have you ever become seriously ill while ‘out in the middle of nowhere!?’ (There was that malaria scare as I recall!) I remember when I was studying abroad in the Middle East and I had a few hairy/scary nights when all I wanted was my own bed and my mommy! How do you deal with that? I hope you have a safe, healthy and fantastic African trip!
A: Charley Boorman: Thanks Bree. I’ve had a few moments – yes, often with fevers – but they usually come and go. Bad tummies too. I think it’s all about experiencing them so that the next time you get one, you’re not panicking thinking you’re going to have to fly home and that it’s just another ‘bug’ of some sort.
I’ve occasionally missed my malaria tablets but always carry Coartem when in Africa as a safety back up – this is used to treat suspected Malaria – lots of the expats who live there just have this in the bag. Cheers – great question.
A: Charley Boorman: We’ve used the Zumo 660 and the 590 for years now. Love the 660 even though it’s seen as the ‘old’ model now. But I know it so well. We map all our Zumos using Basecamp and then copy the routes and maps to each device.
We have about 20 riders – all riding at their own pace across Africa – all following the Zumo route that we’ve created. It works perfectly and is so much better than a big gang of bikers following a leader. The great thing about the 590 now is how it connects with the Virb (Garmin’s Camera). It means you can turn it on or off remotely from the 590 and take video or even pictures.
A: Charley Boorman: Obviously my family, of course. But when I’m away from home for a long time I fantasise about food, especially an American Hot pizza. And my friends.
Q: Fotis: Charley I am a great fan of your life’s work. Whenever life gets me down I watch your epic journeys or read your books. However I just wanted to ask you, how do you manage being a great explorer, a father and a husband?
A: Charley Boorman: My father is a film director and made movies all over the world and as kids we travelled with him so I get my wanderlust from him. When I go on my adventures I always make sure that Olly and my girls join me at the end and we always have an adventure of our own together. They all love travelling too.
Phew! It’s enough to make you want to get out and ride! What are you motorcycling top tips? Let us know in the comments below! We’ve got loads of motorcycling kit at great prices, so head over to our site and hit the road!