Flash inherited the travel bug from his mother. He, his sister, and mom travelled “just about any place you can think of” before he branched out on his own. He’s visited 66 countries, 43 of them including a motorcycle. Renedian’s Victoria Falls to Cape Town safari was the first time he was part of an organized, guided group.
Riding 42,000 miles around the US with his girlfriend on an R75/5 was only the beginning. In 1981, he bought an R80G/S, the first dual sport bike sold in Tennessee, to travel around the world.
His international motorcycle travel got off to a rocky start. “Before I even started the trip, someone turned left in front of me and the bike got totalled. My plans went into a tailspin. I ended up getting married and in 1983, we flew to Europe for a three-month honeymoon via motorcycle.”
Flash’s work with HP became the enabler for international motorcycle travel. “I traveled to Asia several times a year, racking up airline miles and hotel points. That helped with the budget. A transfer to France made it easy to ride to other places. Eventually I discovered some international colleagues were riders. They invited me to join them and that’s how I got to ride in Japan and Korea.”
Flash’s passion for the BMW F650 led to him becoming involved with the Chain Gang. A group of F650 aficionados, it became an active global forum. Early on, he and a local ‘inmate’ created a set of three DVD’s illustrating how to service and maintain their bikes. Forum members received them for free. “We did it because we could, with no expectation of a return.
“What the Chain Gang did was introduce me to riders, who in turn invited me to join them in their home countries. I rode in South Africa, Australia, Bulgaria, Turkey, the Isle of Man, Venezuela, and Romania. In 2004 I rode through Swaziland, Lesotho, and South Africa with another friend. I’d reciprocate if any of them were traveling to Colorado, where I’d settled. Chain Gang connections also got me riding in Ecuador and India.
“I and my partner Beth Dixon met Rene through the Chain Gang. In 2005, when our family planned a safari in Tanzania, Rene was in South Africa on his round-the-world trip. When I asked if there was anything I could bring him, he requested we courier a box of calendars from his brother in Edmonton. He sold those calendars at dealer presentations to help finance his trip.
“We crossed paths several times in Colorado after he’d established Renedian Adventures. He’d be travelling to U.S. motorcycle shows or to dealerships to deliver his presentation. A lunch with him in 2014 convinced us to start saving and get serious about joining one of his tours.
“After consulting with Rene, we put together a collection of friends to make up our own group. We invited friends we thought were compatible, and had the time, skills, and money. In the end, six couples, all individual riders, rode on the Victoria Falls to Cape Town safari. Two couples brought a teenage pillion rider.
“I’d always felt a packaged tour was not a good value for me. I have a wide comfort zone, can fix my own bike, and am not worried about finding a place to stay. On a value scale of 1 to 10, this trip was a solid 12. I realized I would have been better off taking Rene’s Mongolia tour rather than riding just renting a bike and riding Mongolia as I did last July.”
Flash and Beth have plans to move to the Isle of Man in 2018. Both work from home and the iconic destination puts them within range of a lot of other riding. Before that, he’ll probably ride somewhere in Asia. He’s fulfilling his dream of riding around the world, although not as he planned.
“I’m riding around the world, one piece at a time.”
Photo credits: Flash