There are a few familiar faces here at Motorcycle Live 2017, and just a couple doors down from the ABR stand is a good friend of ours, Sam Manicom. Sam is at the show as part of the Adventure Bike Shop stand and is signing copies of his adventure motorcycling books.
I was keen to find out what Sam has been up to in recent months, what he’s been doing on his stand, and to see if he has any adventures planed for 2018. So, in between chit-chat, I stole him away for a quick catch up. With not much time to spare, I delved straight into the questions…
What have you been up to this year, Sam?
“I spent four incredible months in the USA this year, bouncing around on a loan bike. I was out there doing book signings and presentations. It’s fantastic because it helps you to get out into the world on a one to one basis, which I absolutely love. It was also a great excuse to get out and do some excellent riding in between events.”
Out of all the places you have ridden this year, which has been your favourite?
“I did a bit of riding in Germany this year which was beautiful. However, I’m unfortunately unable to ride at the moment because I was knocked off my bike when I was in the USA. Luckily, it was at a low speed and I had all the right gear on. I was only riding at 20mph but my gear was completely ruined. It’s the first time I’ve been knocked off since riding from 1992, but I’m feeling very lucky to have come away from it with only a broken arm and a few scrapes and bruises.”
What’s on the horizon for next year, are you planning any trips?
“I’m planning to be back in the states, doing more presentations and book signings. This time, I’ll be concentrating on the north east of the USA, as I’ve spent very little time there. There is some drop dead gorgeous scenery and back roads that I am looking forward to riding. Myself and Birgit, my partner, will also being doing some riding in Europe, however, we’re currently deciding on where to go.”
Where can people find you at Motorcycle Live if they want to come and say hello?
“I’m over on stand 2C30, at the Adventure Bike Shop stand. Do feel free to come over and say hello, I’d love to meet you.”
What bike have you been riding this year?
“In the States, I was riding a BMW F800 GSA. But over the last few years, if it hasn’t been the GS, it’s been the Kawasaki Versys 650 – I think they are the unsung heroes of the adventure biking world. Fantastic bikes.”
Why should people come and visit you on your stand at Motorcycle Live this year?
“I’m here doing book signings all day, everyday, apart from when they let me out for a loo break! [Laughs]. My partner Birgit will be here with me on Friday [24 November] to do book signings with me. Also, Elspeth Beard will be joining me on the stand on Saturday [25 November] and Sunday [26 November], between 11am-12pm and 3pm-4pm, to sign copies of her book Lone Rider.”
Are you selling any of your merchandise on your stand at Motorcycle Live?
“Yes, all my books are available to purchase on the stand. They’re also now all available in audio book format read by me. Would you believe, [laughs] it took me around two years to find a recording studio that would actually let me record the audio book myself! Every one of them wanted me to use an actor, but I just don’t understand why they would want an actor to read the book for me? They wouldn’t know when I was afraid or when I was happy – I believe when I read it myself, it’s a more honest rendition of the story, more authentic.
The audio books are available for download on iTunes or you can buy them from me on my stand at Motorcycle Live. If you’re not able to make the show, you can also purchase them from my website.”
Are you offering any special show-only offers?
“Yes, certainly. If you buy a full set of books from me at the show, you’ll receive a free Sidetracked by the unexpected T-shirt. [You can take a look at the T-shirt here].”
For those who can’t make Motorcycle Live this year, where can they catch you next?
“At the moment I’m not really sure what I’m doing, because I’m waiting for my plans in the USA to firm up. However, I am planning to do a series of presentations in the UK next year, which I will advertise on my website if anyone is interested in coming along. I’ll also be giving updates on my Facebook and Twitter accounts.”
For those who are unable to make the above events, is there a way they can get a signed copy of one of your books?
“Yes of course, if you go to my website, you can purchase my signed books online and the postage is free if you are in the UK. For anyone outside of the UK, the best place to get the books is at www.bookdepository.com – they do free world wide delivery.” [These won’t be signed unfortunately].
Lastly, it’s ABR tradition to ask – what’s your favourite crap joke?
[Laughs]. “Oh no, I’ve got a brain the size of a pea so I’m really bad at remembering jokes! Could you help me out on this one?”
Q: What kind of cheese is not your cheese?
I had to loan Sam this one, as after some head scratching he still couldn’t remember any of his favourites. It did make him thoroughly cringe, which I reckon must mean it’s a good’un.
It was really great to chat to Sam today, he’s super friendly and it was a pleasure to catch up with him. Be sure to give him a visit at the stand if you’re coming to Motorcycle Live over the next few days, he’ll be happy to sign any books and have a good natter.