Show Notes for Podcast Episode #19
Exploring Swaziland with a Rock Star and an Infantryman
Scott jumps on a Triumph Scrambler 1200 XE to explore the south African kingdom of Eswatini. Along for the journey are two friends from Bonafide Moto Company, Alan Shenton and Joe Fleming, who share their stories of surviving war in Iraq to playing with the Cure. We dig deep into motorcycle travel, Triumphs, and even video production.
Joe's Trusty Fuji:
Alan's Father on the British Classic:
Zebra and Giraffe:
Scott is the publisher and co-founder of Expedition Portal and Overland Journal and is often credited with popularizing overlanding in North America. His travels by 4WD and adventure motorcycle span all seven continents and includes three circumnavigations of the globe. His polar expeditions include two vehicle crossings of Antarctica and the first long-axis crossing of Greenland. @scott.a.brady
Matthew is a leading expert in automotive adventure. He has extensively explored the world's most remote places by 4WD and is considered an industry authority on overland travel. He is the only American to ever become an editor of a major Australian 4WD publication and has over 15 years of competitive auto racing experience. @mattexplore
Scott Brady: Hello and welcome to the Overland Journal Podcast, I am your host Scott Brady and Matt is not with me today because he has since flown back to the United States in search of tacos he told me. But I am currently in Swaziland and you can hear the sound of the birds and animals behind us. In fact, there’s a sign that says pretty much “Don’t go over that wall” because there’s hippos and crocodiles within feet of our current location. Swaziland is beautiful and I’m here with two great friends, two guys that I met on a Landrover trip in Peru. We’ve got Alan Shenton and we’ve also got Joe Flemming and these guys are with a bonafide moto company, and most importantly, they’re good buddies. We enjoy traveling together before and when they heard I was in Africa they said, “Let’s go to swaziland on motorcycles.” So they were kind enough to line up a triumph for me, so I’ve been riding a 1200 XE thanks to triumph for South Africa, and Joe’s been riding an 800 triamph. Alan what have you been riding?
Alan Shenton: A 900 Street scrambler.
Scott Brady: Thanks for being here guys, I really appreciate you being on the podcast. We’re gonna talk about some fun and varied subjects just as our ride has been fun and varied as well. We will do our very best to keep this family friendly. *all laughing* this place is amazing, we're in nawani which is a game reserve close to the Western border of Swaziland. It was so cool, I pull up to the gate, for these guys they've been here a bunch of times and it's oh, I wouldn't say it's old but it wasn't a new experience for them. So I pull into the gate and they're zebra everywhere and really neat to see, I think maybe even a springbok when we came through, a blessed Bach. Speaking of zebra, Allen before he started being the adventurer that he is today oh, he was The Guitar Man for Zebra and Giraffe, is that right? So tell me a little bit about your music career.
Alan Schenton: I played in a couple bands over a 12 year period. I started in a band called Harristweed which became Deorita, and Deorita became quite successful and was very alternative singer-songwriter female vocalists, super indie. The frontman immigrated to Germany and carried on, she does till this day. A friend of mine had started a band called zebra and giraffe and I played for about nine or ten years after that. I was really fortunate to have been quite successful to travel the world. I played in Japan and Kenya, we recorded in Los Angeles, California just outside San Francisco in a town called Stinson Beach. We rented a place there to record an album, we've played big festivals coming we've played small clubs and I'm very grateful to have done it professionally for about 12 years.
Scott Brady: One of the recent ones, I believe it was your last concert you opened up with the Cure, that's significant.
Alan Shenton: Yeah, the Cure was coming to South Africa they were playing two shows in Cape Town and the promoter was a really amazing fan of ours, very supportive of our music, invited us to a reunions show to open for them and we accepted and it was amazing. It was really cool to share a stage with rock Legends.
Scott Brady: And then I think you were in another festival with Metallica, what was one of your most favorite bands to play with?
Alan Shenton: One of my favorite bands to play with was the killer is. We were there only supporting act in South Africa and we opened three shows with them and went all the way around in cavetown. They were a great band and it was very poignant at the time, it was 2009 or 2010 oh, they were at the top of their career, we were at the top of our career at the time. It was amazing playing with like-minded musicians and also just my client ID music players to share the stage in South Africa so far away from the rest of the world, and here we are watching Musicals and listening to music. It's just about the right time for that indie rock alternative music.
Scott Brady: It leads to a bunch of questions but the first thing that comes to mind was, did you already have a passion for travel before you started traveling as a musician or was it when you started to travel as a musician that you started to want to go see the world?
Alan Shenton: I always had a passion to travel. My mom and my dad always had an absolute love for our country, so they took us to the parks we have in our country and they took us off to Kruger National Park at least two or three times a year, every single year and we love traveling. We never saw other parts of the country but we always went to the game Resort, that's what we did two to three times a year. I love traveling, I've always been a fan of traveling and one of my favorite things about being in the band in South Africa was to be able to get in the car, in the van and drive the coasts of this country. The people that we meet along the way in the places that we see are truly, don't quote me on this but I don't think there is anywhere you can go in the world where you will see such a varied terrain from the beaches, to the bushes, to the town, to the big cities, the small towns and so on and so forth. It's an incredible place to travel in a call myself very fortunate that I was one of the few people that got to do a year and you're over and over again. And then every night to be able to perform music in front of people that's really enjoyed what you did.
Scott Brady: I have to agree with you I think that of all of the places that I've traveled, South Africa pulls me back the most, southern Africa pulls me back of the most between the Namib which is one of the most deserts in the world which is between the sand dunes in the world, then you've got the Kalahari just to the north and Rhino and the okavango Delta, it's literally the birthplace of humanity as we know it. It really draws me back and do that kind of leads me, what brought you from being in 11 Bravo Army to living now full time in South Africa?
Joe Flemming: It was Instagram. Long story short, before I've been in South Africa now for just over six years and prior to this I was living in California, I'm originally from North Carolina and I had a job after college working for a defense contractor, I got that job through being a veteran. I've been to Iraq in 2004 Midway through college and the job had taken me to New York for 40 years and then they transferred me to San Diego which I loved. It was everything, I think I lived four blocks from the beach, I had the mountains and a great job. I got to ride along Sunset Cliffs, just about every day. And then shortly, about five or six months into living there I come across this girl on Instagram who lived in South Africa, I had actually come across her boyfriend at the time and she was into Choppers and red rods and somehow I found him, he had this girlfriend and I was like cool I'll follow her no problem. After months of just being followers I never thought anything of it, she had sent me a friend request on Facebook. I wake up one morning on the way to work and I'm like, “ that's that hot chick from South Africa.” I'm going to accept and then I'm going to get to work, I'm not going to do anything, I'm just going to stalk her photos. I ended up not being able to stalk her photos, we ended up messaging back and forth for hours and then basically three months later I had taken a trip to South Africa, stayed here for 3 weeks to get to meet her and her son, her husband, family members, we travel to Cape Town and really got to see what South Africa offered. Living in the states I had no idea what South Africa was like, I didn't really know that it is what it is, and I loved it. I went back to the States, went back to work and was miserable, and luckily at the time working for a defense contractor they were going through budget cuts with the government, there was some voluntary layoffs that were available to people, I had a co-worker who was like,” Joe, you are miserable, you love this chick, why don't you just lay off and move?” And I was like, “ that's a great idea!” So I did that and then basically two months after I left South Africa I was back. I sold two of my Harleys, I had an old Heritage Softail, I had a chopper that was in boxes. Randy if you're listening I'm sorry that you still owe on that Harley, it's still in boxes. I sold all my stuff and I moved here with three suitcases. What's so funny is that I probably thrown away one suitcase, I realized that I didn't need all that stuff. So now it's been six years here and it's been, I absolutely love this place and it's an incredible country, which is great and that's why I wanted to travel the country and ultimately I wanted to share the experience with the locals here but I also wanted to show the beauty of South Africa to my friends in the states who more than likely don't know much about South Africa. To me they've been able to see how beautiful this place is and slowly I've got a few people to come here and hopefully many more will come.
Scott Brady: So, the first question that comes to my mind is not so much the travel because I can see that that just runs through your veins, but where did that creative impetus come from? You are photography is I believe world class for what you do, and we featured you several times in Overland Journal magazine and on Expedition Portal, what prompted that passion or desire to become a photographer?
Joe Flemming: since I was a kid I always do thank my aunt for making me the photographer I am, I like capturing moments, I really hate to set up shots because as a kid she would always try to get us to come together, always wanted to take photos. But at the same time I think I've always had a camera since I was a kid, I always enjoyed taking photos and printing them and even when I was in Iraq I was supposed to carry my rifle but I always had, I think at one point I ended up taking out to magazine so that I could put a small digital camera in there so that when we were in town I could take it out and take photos. I took amazing photos there, I don't think they're Amazing by the quality but I just really enjoyed it, I enjoyed capturing that moment. I would get in trouble all the time for it, they would be like, “Flemming get that camera out of here! Get it out of the gun!” but I never took courses to become a photographer, friends like Alan really helped me out, he's got a great eye for it, he was in editing for a long time and production so he kind of helped critique me and I've always been open to sort of critiquing of my photos. As the years have gone on of shooting photos from a motorcycle, I've seen what works and what I like and what I don't like and I'm very critical of my photos, if it's getting blurry or whatever it's out. But it's really come through trial-and-error and just wanting to capture Beautiful Moments of my Adventures.
Scott Brady: There's been a couple things that I've noticed is that you're very present as a photographer which means that you find a way to in a fluid weigh be a part of the scene as a photographer which people are awkward with cameras all the time, I feel like I'm awkward with cameras when I could do a better job at that. How tall are you?
Joe Flemming: I’m 6’7”.
Scott Brady: But what you do is you kind of Crouch down and you drop below the sight line and not only does that give you a great advantage point but it allows you for people not to focus on you.
Joe Flemming: I've got a squatting position and I'm quite flexible so I just really spread my legs wide apart and drop my but basically to the ground and I can get those low shots. I don't want to be seen as a photographer, I do want people to just do their thing in a lot of times I'll just slowly step back and just try to grab a scene.
Scott Brady: You really do achieve that and I've also noticed that your camera kit is very small, minimalist, you run with a couple bodies usually with the Prime on there and as a result, it's cool to see like you'll be riding down the road and you'll have a camera slung over your neck with a 35 Mel Prime on there with no lens protector or UV filter. You'll be bombing down these dirt roads and everything and these cameras look like they both went through Iraq. It's pretty amazing just a reminder that they're very nice cameras and very nice lenses but they extreme expensive pieces of equipment. They're super appropriate for what we do but the quality of your imagery is so exceptional because I think that you focused on capturing the image not the stuff, not the equipment. That's a nice result.
Joe Flemming: I'm not like a beauty photographer.
Scott Brady: Which is a good thing because you're taking photos of me. There's no amount of Photoshop that's going to fix that. *all laughing*
Joe Flemming: Like in the photography industry there's one of the guys that I've always looked up to and I really respect his work which is Aaron Greenwald. Of the stuff he shoots is beautiful. I'm not that type of photographers so I've embraced my style of shooting and I think that's a huge step is when you embrace your own style and you stick with it. I would be wasting my time to try and chase other photographers styles. Every once in awhile when I was in India I rode for like 7 days and my sensor was disgusting. There are some photos I took on the beach and you can just see these spots all in the sky, I had to touch them up but luckily I'm a third xt2 and the one I had previously was beat to hell, it looks like it should be in a museum. When I came back from India they replaced it and swapped it out with a new one, I picked it up in the office and put it through my eye, and I was like, “ oh, that's what a camera supposed to look like!” when you pull it up to your eye it was so clean, it was beautiful. I'm not huge on care and meticulous cleaning of camera gear oh, I've got a good shirt that I wet my lens with.
Alan Shenton: I think you would make other photographers cringe if they saw how you did that. The moment matters.
Scott Brady: That's so huge though because exactly, right Allen? He's in the moment, your present, and the camera is at the ready. My camera is buried in my bag and so I've got to be intentional about taking it out because I'm trying to be precious with it. I may be carrying forward a little bit more but I'm missing 90% of the images that you are grabbing, and I think that that's a great lesson for those who are listening, if you have a passion for photography make sure the cameras at the ready.
Joe Flemming: if it's in your pocket, that's one more thing that you've got to do to capture that moment, that's why I always keep its long, it's ready and I can jump off the bike, jump into the grass and get a shot of you guys. That's what I would do a lot of times to speed past you guys and look back ahead and find a spot. And sometimes I would only have five or six seconds before you guys are right behind me again.
Scott Brady: And Allen, you're writing this 900 triumph which is a great looking bike, you've got a great exhaust on it which it seems like the locals love, you get a lot of thumbs up, a lot of smiles and waves and I think a lot of that is because Swaziland is such a smile waving country. The people here are beautiful and it's been fun to follow you on that bike, you're right it really well and you guys have a lot of experience exploring the back roads of southern Africa in these modern Classics. What turned you on to Triumph as a brand and is this your favorite bike, is this the Pinnacle for you want something different, what connected you to Triumph?
Allan: Being a musician, a guitar to me was the Fender Stratocaster. And other people will tell you that a guitar to them was a Gibson. but a guitar to me is a Stratocaster and a motorcycle was a Triumph, a 1969 was what a motorcycle was supposed to look like. My dad passed away when I was quite young but I have a photo of him that surface somehow, he grew up in Birmingham England in the 40s and 50s, I have a photo that surfaced of him that was found in a picture frame, and I took it and I studied that photo, and it was a motorcycle in Birmingham in the 40s or 50s that he was writing. That was actually what got me into motorcycling, I didn't grow up dirt biking, I didn't grow up with a single mom as a parent, there was no way I was going to get on the dirt bike, there was no way she was going to allow it. I was about 24 or 25 years old and I had this photo and I was like, “ my Dad wrote a motorcycle, I want to get a motorcycle.” And that's what a motorcycle should look like. Ironically it wasn't a Triumph I think it was an aerial Colt 350cc motorcycle, at the time it was about 2013 or 2014 I think it was the back that appealed to me which is why I liked it. It looked as though it was made in Britain and it had the styling features of that. That was my first bike but I've always wanted a Triumph before. The Royal versions were super affordable and they imported them into the country.
Scott Brady: how long did you have that bike?
Allan Shenton: I had it for 2 years.
Scott Brady: did you travel on it or just ride it around jobber?
Allan Shenton: No we didn't travel with it. It was mainly to commute from work to home. I went to my brother-in-law's and we spoke about once maybe doing a trip, I think we maybe you did but we ended up putting the bikes in the back of the car at the time. But we rode them around there. I didn't really know how to ride a motorcycle, I got my license but I wasn't proficient by any means. I knew that it was inevitable that as I would grow more into writing that I would upgrade and try the Triumph runnable and find out that I always wanted one. I love my Triumph, it was a 200 block how they called it, the black exhaust black everything, and I loved it. Unfortunately I had a pretty naughty accident and had to send it scrap yard and I then was faced with a decision that I needed to buy a new motorcycle, I didn't know what I was going to buy so I needed to replace the one that was available quite affordably around the country, and I rode that while I was buying time. Because I heard that Triumph was going to be working on the liquid-cooled version of their bikes. I haven't been riding bikes for 30 years, I'm not going to be someone to tell you that liquid cooled is better or worse, I couldn't really care, I was more concerned with what it looked like and how it performed. As soon as b900 scramble was announced, I was a little bit disappointed because it was more of a Scrambler motorcycle which is exactly what I had at the moment. But the 900 was announced and I actually said to everyone that I wasn't going to buy it. I was like, “ I'm not going to buy the 900 Scrambler, I'm going to wait for the more scrambler-esc.” to answer your question, yes it is the most perfect bite for me. I have thought about selling it on several different occasions when new models come out, so when the 1200 Scrambler came out I thought maybe I should get rid of my 900, maybe I should. But Joe will professed to the statement but that bike and myself are just married together in terms of fit, styling.
Scott Brady: It's great watching you ride it.
Allan Shenton: It's funny, when we do these trips we've got a lot of guys that come with us on varied bikes, everything in the mix. A lot of the guys will look down on the small little bike like mine, and I love disproving them, not with arrogance but just with the- sometimes riding a nine hundred and doing better than a guy on a 1200 actually says a lot more than having an overpowered bike that you can't correct fast enough, you can try to park early, if you don't touch the ground or so. I always say, “ I'll be the fastest down in 900 van any 1200.”
Scott Brady: and the bike is less expensive, you use less Fuel, and it looks great, it doesn’t look lesser than, I think it looks perfect.
Allan Shenton: I put the accessories on and got exactly what I wanted. I do commute daily on that bike, my wife and I share a vehicle so that the bike is my vehicle, my daily. I put some dresser bars on the bottom, LED light bulbs, the luggage rack on the back for Kenya, it looks exactly what I want a motorcycle to look like.
Scott Brady: It seems to me that Johannesburg has such good weather that you can almost get away riding a motorcycle everyday.
Allan Shenton: I do ride a motorcycle everyday, I ride in the summer and winter and most of the people that I ride with do the same. The summer is actually the worst time of the year to ride because of the risk of rain, so we have this crazy thing in Johannesburg where at least two or three times a week in the summit it will rain at about 4 p.m. which is about the same time when you're trying to get home. We have these incredible electric thunderstorms, I always have my rain suit in the back and I always have a pair of boots on and I ride in the rain regularly. But this time of the year actually no from March right up until June or July when it gets really cold is the best running time of the year.
Scott Brady:We've had some rain, we've had some varied weather but for the most part it's been within a perfect little tolerance Zone I think.
Allan Shenton: We've been to Swaziland before where it's 42 degrees during the day and it's quite challenging. On these dirt roads for long hours, that's when you don't have a problem but if you have a problem it can be quite challenging to be in that heat. This has been the perfect weather, a little bit of cloud cover, a nice cool breeze. If the bikes are moving, you're cool.
Scott Brady: yeah it was totally cool. When we have to stop and solve a problem where we're fixing a tire, we had a flat yesterday and that was a good little Adventure, we got into some more challenging to rain and then this morning we had a really beautiful ride. It was incredible going through out to that damn.
Allan Shenton: We often ride up front and Joe will ride in the back, we go on these dirt roads that go to the side. I'll look back to see if he wants to do it or not, we even do that when we're based in a vehicle.
Scott Brady: I think that's Universal, I think every buddy that is listening to this podcast whether there in Norway or South Africa or in Arizona they're like yep I know that feeling when you pass by that dirt road that climbs up the side of a mountain. That's what we did yesterday, we looked for the road that went up to the side of the mountain. Joe nearly try to make it to the top, that was impressive. That was funny, you didn't go down anything like that but you were perched on the side of this Hillside, realizing, where am I going to go?
Joe Flemming: I'm just going to freeze here. I got to the point where I'm like, okay you've gone too far. If I went any further I think it could have been quite Disastrous. I just stopped, pulled the brakes and you guys were looking at me like what is he doing. I knew I could get some help. You taught me a very good lesson that I'll remember forever now, we'll be able to tell people as well that tip the bike into the incline and you can walk the wheel out little by little and then that got the bikes to turn 90° so that I could exit. That's something I could have done on the hike which is great. I think if I would have been on my own there then I probably would have just dropped to the bike and then drug it around.
Scott Brady:it's always nice when you pick up those little pieces of things. Speaking of Adventure bikes, we're all traveling extremely light. I'll lend you might have the most stuff on your bike but we're all traveling essentially with one bag. It shows how you can do that, you can keep the bikes really light. Especially in a country like Swaziland because we're staying at these little lodges or a, what was the name of the first place that we stayed at? La Mambu. Tell us the story about that little village.
Allan Shenton: La Mambu is an incredible little town, and I love the story behind it. How we found it I don't even know, but it's around the border of South Africa. It was a very successful asbestos Man by the British up until the early nineties. The place was closed, it was liquidated a couple of times but eventually it was completely closed and the town was abandoned. Everyone flew the town and they chose postures and Swaziland. It kind of coincided with the Ace of crosses and Swaziland at the time and there were a lot of orphans that were left behind. the town we went through, the town's changed every time but eventually we went through the church is hands. Bulembu Industries opens and operates the town and as part of the deal of them that they look after two thousand orphans in the town. How did they do it? They do it through tourism, with great mountain biking trails, there a beautiful residences that you can rent out, they make honey very successfully that they export, and they also make bread that they export. So there's a community.
Scott Brady: We eat a lot of that bread.
Allan Shenton: It's a nonprofit organization that looks after orphan children.
Scott Brady: It was really special and all of the people there you could see, so far everybody in Swaziland has this kind of Joy behind them but those people seemed very relaxed. We were sitting out in the morning about to have breakfast and you could hear the workers singing as they were working, it was really special. In our case, we decided to Askew camping and stay in these very affordable little lodges and little homestays and like the place that we stayed at last night, at vast roofs but the food was incredible. It's one of those things that it's important for the listener to know that you have this idea that overlanding has to include camping in this entire trip we're not going to can't because our experience was made a better by interacting with the locals and staying like right now I want a game reserve where we see warthogs cruising around and we see cactus- I mean there's crocodile in the Water behind us. Maybe I'm missing Arizona. *all laughing* I think it's made so much more Rich when you're able to interact with the culture especially one specialized allez. Maybe with the draw of a place like Namibia in addition to people being beautiful there but there's so much open space that you actually do want it to get into. Or if you're in the Kalahari where there's not a lot of people and not a lot of infrastructure, then the camping becomes the high point of joy of that experience. It also allowed us to pack super light and I've got a small duffle on the back of my bike strapped down, Joe you've got a Triumph top case. Allen you've got just one penny a.
Allan Shenton: I just keep the stuff I need like sunscreen, sunglasses, tire pressure monitor.
Scott Brady: It's nice to be able to travel that simple and that light and just kind of deal with it, maybe not all your clothes are always clean or whatever but you just kind of take each day as it comes. I did laundry in my room last night because I was running out of stuff.
Joe Flemming: Being a photographer and also, I'm not one of those big Gadget guys but I always bring a torch, this and that, the past couple years I've started taking notes of what I didn't use on the trip. Because I realized often times I just get so overwhelmed, like where is this, I need this. Except for this trip it was great to Pack Light. I packed 12 tall beers. The place we stayed the first night there's no alcohol in the town so we prepared, we had 12 Jack Black cans and I was so glad once those were gone because it saved weight and space and everything be basically fits in the backpack.
Scott Brady: I think it's an important reminder and it's something that we talked about on this podcast all the time is that whether it's a 900 or an 800, both are very affordable motorcycles even the 1200 X I'm riding on comes in at about $1,500 which can be $10,000 less than some competitors on the market. We're traveling super light, we don't have a lot of gadgets so it's experience Rich, we're not distracted. I think I had an apple adapter so I can listen to music but for the most part I just don't have a lot of stuff with me and that's making me worried or distracting me or fiddling with stuff on the bike. Then you can focus totally on the experience like getting here today, there's a pool so we did have swimsuits but there was enough room for that, that was important to bring along. So that brings us a little bit back to riding motorcycles in South Africa, Allen what would you recommend? Someone that maybe wants to travel in southern Africa on a motorcycle, who do they connect with to rent bikes, you guys do trips as well, what would you kind of say is a Hi-Point Adventure in addition to the one that I just did with you guys, what would it be a high point adventure for someone that wanted to come and visit southern Africa on a bike?
Allan Shenton: Mr Rayner this part of the world is so well documented for motorcycle travel. It is incredibly saturated, I'm sure if you went on Google right now you just search trouble by motorcycle in South Africa you would probably find 30 or 40 different credited sites where you can probably arrive at the airport and disappear with a GPX track. We ourselves specifically don't focus on that. One of the things that I battled with as a motorcycle rider getting into the industry so much later on in life I think it was 24 or 25, is that the traditional motorcycle model didn't appeal to me. We would ride out to *inaudible* which is where all the motorcyclists went out on the weekend. I didn't enjoy it one bit, it's so weird, I don't fit into this traditional model of motorcycling and it's the same with bench motorcycling. What we did was we kind of thought, I want to see Swaziland, I want to show Joe Swaziland. So we just kind of went and did road trips over and over again and figure it out that other people wanted to join us. And those other people that wanted to join us on those trips they didn't quite fit into the other crowds, whatever the crowd was, it's irrelevant what motorcycle it was, it's just this Persona that was going on this trip. What we did was we focused on the experience, the stuff we did in between riding the motorcycles because riding the motorcycle is only one part of it. It's the same like you guys always talk about overlanding lecture for overlanding is great but the destination is getting there safely, that's why we do it. What we really wanted to do was put together trips where the experience was everything. The people thought that we were Misfits and didn't fit in with traditional clubs or groups and maybe didn't have the skills sometimes. I found the same thing with like, sometimes it can be a lot of ego. It can be Super Macho and it's quite intimidating. My first one was a Suzuki Jimmy and I would arrive at these four by four courses and all these guys in Defenders and Land Cruisers and stuff like that. There's something Macho about it that makes you feel a little bit like you're not worthy or whatever. There's something about them that we wanted to remove. That's essentially what we are, Joe wanted to explore the country, I wanted to show him the country, he wanted to shoot photos of me showing him the country, and other people wanted to do the same thing as us. That was essentially how the business was born.
Scott Brady: So if you were going to give top three trips including this one here in Swaziland, what would it be your top three trips for people to come on in southern Africa if you were to list them all?
Allan Shenton: Swaziland is definitely there, it's one of the reasons why we took you here is that it's my favorite trip, the distance is short if you can make the distance. We're only 38 kilometers now from the water but we could take 30 minutes to get there tomorrow or we could take four hours if we chose to walk. if you're in trouble you're not far away from help, there's always a city or a station, there's a tire fixer somewhere. We have drum starting in the background. Swaziland is definitely my favorite trip and we've only scratched the surface, we're literally sitting on the Western border and there's so much more to see in this country but this is a really beautiful part. Any parts and suzu is a wonderful time, the roads getting more and more difficult due to the fact that no Road Works have been done yes. But it's a really great country to go to and on the other side is beautiful tour roads that we've been to, it's a great place to get a bit of both. Last year we did an amazing event in the Cedarburg which is not an area where I previously traveled in, and it is really beautiful so that's just in between Cape Town and the mountains which are beautiful. We spent four days in that region and it is a really special area. We grew up in Johannesburg and we live here and we're so close to decision so close to Swaziland so this is where we travel but if you grew up in Cape Town you would travel to Cedarburg. It's a beautiful place, it's known as a leopard country so there's hundreds of leopards in that area and it's just beautiful to rain. Beautiful dirt roads, it's a really special place. I'm only talking about South Africa, so if we go to Southern Africa Botswana is a couple hours to the Border it's really beautiful. One of the challenges is that there's a lot of straight long roads and if you go off-road and Botswana it's immediately in the sand. If you want to take 4 hours to do 20 km then that's the way to go. It's also really well documented for writing but it's also great for Adventures on dirt bikes but Joe and I have dreams to take modern Classics to those destinations. We've also, part of the tale of what our business model is to offer training. Because we realize that a lot of people don't need the best motorcycle to do these trips but one thing you definitely need is a little bit of knowledge in a little bit of help. We've really focused on that because then you will take the offers.
Scott Brady: I've always felt. If people would just invest the first dollar that they spend on their vehicle or their motorcycle on training, it would completely not only change how well they perform as a driver or Rider, it would change the things that they would buy two. They would realize what they actually need is whatever feels like a way to get unstuck. When all else fails when you need to fix a tire, you find that things are totally different when you need that training and experience. Is there a story that you've always wanted to tell? Is there an adventure that you've always wanted to go on and document with video and motion? Is there anything that you want to go there and do something specific?
Allan Shenton: I think I've done a couple trips to Botswana in the vehicle and I'm desperate to do that on a motorcycle and for it to be documented properly on a modern classic. What most people would think that I would do it on a motorcycle. I could probably go on YouTube right now and find a hundred videos of people riding more appropriate motorcycles in Namibia but I'd like to go do it on a vehicle with standard tires
Scott Brady: I think it could be done. Like we saw today, I'll be up on the pegs thinking that I'm all hardcore and then you come around the corner and there's somebody in a CRV, the locals picking their way through. To your point about sodding past, the one thing that a bike like the 1200 XC aloud's is a lot more speed, so you could travel across the train at a much higher speed because you could take larger events. Whereas if you just slow down, every local in the at 1:25 are there on a 150 little Honda with their buddy on the back in the Buddies holding a goat. They get through all of the same stuff that we do, so I think it's totally feasible in fact it might even be a little bit easier when your feet are closer to the ground and you're not traveling so fast.
Allan Shenton: That's always the case, feet closer to the ground at a slightly slower speed.
Scott Brady:That's been one of the things that I really like to enjoy during this trip, we have sections where we take the speed up and we let it hang out there a little bit but then we slow down, we have a great lunch where we stop and talk to the locals and take selfies with their cameras. Southern Africa is amazing, for me it is definitely the straw I continue to come back. Joe, tell the listeners where they can learn more about you, where they can find you on Instagram?
Joe Flemming: Being that I'm 6’7” I have a very appropriate Instagram handle, it’s @sotallrightnow I think it was kind of a spin-off of “ so hot right now” that I'm so hot right now but I'll take so tall right now. Most of my work is all on @sotallrightnow most of my stuff goes up there and that seems to be the best platform for me, so there's Instagram and both Allen and myself run the Bonafide Moto company Instagram right now.
Scott Brady: And then if somebody comes to Johannesburg and they need a haircut or a beard trim, tell them a little bit about part of your day job.
Joe Flemming: So the other pillars of bona fide, how bona fide Moto company started was that was through Bonafide beards. Backtracking, Allen had an amazing talent for growing facial hair and in the military they tempted to call him chop because I would push the limits on sideburns, I hated shaving because I had to shave everyday, I had my wife join me on Instagram because I had a handlebar mustache when I lived in San Diego so I've always had a facial hair. So my wife made a beard batch which was closed, then she made a second batch which was spot-on. We came out with Bonafide beards, had a website and all of our products that we've had through the years are all natural and after a couple of years of selling the product we were like, we need a retail space. There was a coffee shop near our house called Urban Grand, a big wood clad building. They make the best cup of coffee in Johannesburg and we got to know the owner and he had some space and he said look I'll build a shop for you. He started building the shop and it was the first time in my life that I actually had a hot towel shave.
Scott Brady: And that was probably one of the first times in my life that I was really jealous that I didn't have hair, I wanted to have the experience so being bald I have not been in many barbershops. Allen how do people find out more about you on Instagram?
Allan Shenton: You can find me @allanshenton on Instagram, otherwise Bonafide Moto company. Our website is bonafidemotocompany.com we run everything as it is. All of our announcements on there so it's a great place to catch up with us.
Scott Brady: It has been so fun hanging out with you guys, obviously you guys produce great content that we feature in the magazine but most importantly I consider you guys great friends and it was so nice to enjoy southern Africa with you and hopefully I'll get you both out to America for some Adventures. But I think we're going to wrap up in this podcast because the locals, they're dancing around the fire and there's a very cool Vibe happening right now and Swaziland. We're going to let you all go and we're going to get right back to the adventure, so we'll talk to you next time.