Around the world – on Avon Gripster tyres!

International motorcycle traveller Sam Manicom has navigated his way around the world on Avon Gripster tyres!
The 50-year-old adventurer left home back in 1992 on a brand-new BMW R 80 GS with only three months experience of motorcycling under his belt. Since then he’s enjoyed adventures around the world, all of which are recounted in his books ‘Into Africa’, ‘Under Asian Skies’ and ‘Distant Suns.’
With their enviable reputation for grip, performance and longevity, Sam knew that Avons were the best choice for his on-going adventure trips and with the 250,000 miles covered by his trusty BMW over the years, more than half of that total has been completed on Avon tyres.
He says: “With all the varied conditions that I was riding in, you need a tyre that will deal with them all and still give you good tyre life and excellent handling under the ‘normal’ conditions you expect to face. This could be loose sand, gravel, stone, dirt, mud, pot-holes or normal Tarmac.”
From his time on the Avon Gripsters the best mileage he got from a rear tyre was 10,000 while the best from a front was a staggering 21,000 miles! In all his adventures Sam only suffered eight punctures in the eight years of his travels under extremely harsh conditions. The only major problem was how to store four-years worth of tyres for his trip!
“Thankfully my sister looked after them for me and sent them to me when I needed them,“ says Sam. “She would also fill them full of treats and sweets that I couldn’t get wherever I was in the world, so they were almost like ‘Red Cross tyres’ which were a joy to receive!”
With the highs, came the lows. During his travels through 55 countries, Sam was arrested four times, shot at while he free-wheeled through a road-block barrier, arrested for driving without due care in Tanzania after he hit a pedestrian who stepped off the kerb in front of him. He also fractured 17 bones after riding into a hole in the Namibian desert, caught Dengue fever and slipped three discs on all his journeys!
“I was also told I’d never be fit enough to ride a bike again – twice! This was thanks to the various injuries I received, but I proved them wrong,“ says Sam. “And despite the problems, injuries and the odd bout of malaria, the trips were also full of amazing people. Every day I met someone unique as a result of riding a bike and when something went wrong, something amazing normally happened as a result.”
Sam is currently at home in the UK publicising his books and also writing a series of features for Motorcycle Sport and Leisure on his recent exploits in Vietnam.  For more details go to: www.sam-manicom.com