FTR Bio:, Kevin and Julia Sanders
Two Guinness World Record holders for: Circumnavigating the world by motorcycle in 19½ days in 2002. Riding the length of the Americas from Deadhorse, Prudhoe Bay in Alaska, United States to Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina in 35 days - breaking the previous record by over 12 days.
Chatting over a mug of coffee in a small unit on an industrial estate, Kevin and Julia Sanders are like any other ordinary suburban couple.
Former accountant Julia takes care of the company admin and social media, while Kevin makes sure the logistics and operational side runs smoothly.
It’s all pretty mundane really.
Until, that is, they arrive at the peak of Peru’s High Andes or a small, remote village in China, to be greeted like rock stars by hordes of children.
“It’s moments like those, when you arrive somewhere breathtaking on a bike, that stay with you forever. I sometimes turn to the others and say ‘welcome to my office’,” says Kevin with a broad smile.
The office in reality is on the edge of Cambridge, where the couple – who launched their motorcycle touring company GlobeBusters in 2005 – are happy to return after each adventure.
“Getting to places on a motorcycle makes you feel you deserve to be there, rather than just turning up on a plane. When people see us on Triumphs with UK plates we’re treated like heroes,” says Julia.
“But coming back here keeps us grounded and helps us refresh our adventure tank. Then a few months later we’re raring to go again,” says Julia.
The wanderlust has always been there for former instructor Kevin, who reckons he has clocked up a million miles and 80 countries – that’s 38 times around the world – since meeting Julia, who he later taught to ride.
“We met on a backpacking tour in Quito, Ecuador and weren’t on bikes, but we saw this guy turn up on his and thought ‘what are we doing?’. We went back to South America the following year with a bike, and rode up through Brazil and the rainforest and it was just incredible. Then we went back again in 2001 to get married. Oh and a couple of Guinness World Records followed too!” Kevin recalls.
From then on, the inspiration to combine a love of riding and a joy for exploring the planet with a business that took the pressure out of adventure touring for even the most timid, was born.
The Triumph-lovers remortgaged the family home in 2005, sent out flyers for an Alaska to Argentina expedition and waited to see if there was any interest. There was, the first group loved it and told their friends. The rest is history.
GlobeBusters now has a portfolio of expeditions and tours covering five continents, distances, durations and budgets, with Kevin and Julia leading the way on Explorers and Tiger 800 XCXs.
The company holds the record for the longest-ever organised trip over nearly nine months and has cracked the difficult and bureaucracy-riddled route into China.
Julia said: “I take care of the admin, so on a trip like that where you need special licences, number plates and entry documents, everything is taken care of so the customers can concentrate on enjoying the ride.
She prides herself on knowing every single one of the 1,000 plus customers who have used GlobeBusters from countries around the world including America, Canada, South Africa, New Zealand, the UK, Germany, Australia and Russia.
Julia’s six steps to freedom
1. Start with an easy one – Ardennes
“Wherever you’re based, head for somewhere a couple of hundred miles away. My first trip was to the Ardennes. I was really nervous and struggled even to get the bike off the ferry but when we got there it was stunning and I was hooked.”
2. Try to get to journey’s end – Argentina
“There’s something amazing about going on a road where you can go no further. There’s a sign in Tierra del Fuego in Argentina and when you get there the scenery is breathtaking and you know you can’t ride any further south.”
3. No gain without pain – Tibet
“It was a tough ride across the Tibetan Plateau and then we turned a corner and there was Mount Everest. It was a still day with clear blue sky and we were at the tallest point on earth. My whole body tingled and I shed tears of relief.”
4. Stop and enjoy the view – Chile
“The southern part of Carretera Austral skips between Chile and Argentina with a glacial lake on one side and mountains on the other of a gravel road. If you don’t stop and look around you’ll miss the whole point. Take time, days off and don’t try to do too much.”
5. Don’t worry about the red tape – China
“The joy of a well-organised trip is that everything should be taken care of, which is vital in China. This is a place where you will definitely wish you’d stopped more.”
6. Push yourself – South Africa
“A man discovered a community in a valley at the end of a dirt road in Namakwaland in the 60s and called it the Road to Hell. If a road has a name like that, then try to ride it because what’s at the end will be worth it.”
The bikes customers arrive on are split between Triumphs and BMW, but the organisers wouldn’t use anything now other than the British brand.
Kevin says: “I’ve got nothing against the BMWs and we were with them for quite a few years, but when you’re on a trip like the one to Beijing in China you need reliability and we’ve found the Explorers and Tigers to be second to none.
“That trip tests people and bikes because you experience good fuel and bad fuel, minus five degree temperature to plus 40, gravel roads, altitude and its effect on fuel injection systems. Some bikes just can’t cope with the variations, but the Triumphs do.”
Both world travellers insist planning is key to any trip and they hold a thorough pre-expedition training briefing for riders, who are all responsible for filling their two 38 litre panniers.
Nothing is left to chance by Julia, with a support vehicle crammed to the gunnels with compressors, extra fuel, tools, water, spare parts and even a spinal board.
She insists: “We make sure that even the most nervous first-timer feels totally at ease by fully briefing and preparing them, so they can fully enjoy the things they are going to see.
To find out more about Globebusters trips visit them here.