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Touratech Travel Time 03_2011_en

85 Salzburg to Peking, I soon decided to make my professional life a bit more adventurous and give up my safe job. Travel Time: What was the attraction of tra- velling by motorcycle that even made you give up your safe job? Joe: The freedom of independent movement. You are faster than a bicycle and not as hemmed in as in a car. You feel the cold, the heat, the rain, all real close. And should you run out of road, I can always load my KTM on a plane or a boat. Travel Time: Can you give us a brief rundown of your travel and motorcycling career? Joe: The first trip on my own initiative was in 1981 together with a friend, when we toured southern France in a Ford Fiesta. Two years later we toured the south of Italy on motor- cycles – as I had become the proud owner of a Suzuki DR 500 since 1982. In 1984 I then saddled a Yamaha XT 600 Ténéré and toured the Mediterranean, riding through Egypt, Israel, Greece, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Spain and Portugal. My dream of great freedom turned reality in 1986 with my world tour. In 1990 I crossed South America in three months. 1993 took me to East Africa, 1996 to the Himalayas. The decisive step to becoming a professional was the »Trans Sahara« project in 1999 with coverage by Aus- trian television (ORF) and the national papers. Reports appeared in several magazines and I held my first lectures in Germany. As of 2002 things went in rapid succession. Nearly every two years I spend four to five months on the road. Africa, South America and Asia, again, are the destinations – and thus the topics of my live film and slide shows. Travel Time: Is it possible to be a full-time lecturer or travel author without sponsors? Joe: Definitely yes. Sponsorship is overrated by many readers and those attending lectures. Things worked quite well, even when I had fewer partners. After all, you control your travel costs. Travel Time: Nonetheless you look to some companies for support. Was it difficult to find sponsors? Joe: Looking for sponsors was never my main objective and my travels never depended on sponsorship. When I plan a new project I con- tact a few companies and ask whether they would like to support me. Support is usually given in form of material, there are no big monies involved here. Travel Time: You are known as an inveterate KTM rider. Yet KTM took quite some time to become established in the travel sector. How did they react to your sponsorship requests? Joe: My first request in 1986 evoked a friendly reply, however, the entire budget was required for motor sports. They sent me a list of dealers so that I could find where to buy a KTM. The pre- sent contacts to KTM were instigated in 1999 via Shell Aus­tria. They provided me with a KTM 620 Adventure in »Shell Advanced Paris Dakar« design for the »Trans-Sahara« project. After that things became somewhat easier. And since ente- ring the two-cylinder segment, KTM has suppor- ted me on all my travels. Travel Time: What made you decide in favour of KTM? Joe: For me, a motorcycle is not simply a means of transport to get from place A to B, I really enjoy breezing along tracks at speed. Even with Renate on the pillion seat and a full load of lug- gage we are often faster than single travellers. This is why the KTM Adventure with its sporty chassis is my first choice. I only reach my own driving limits, never those of the bike. Travel Time: How did you come into contact with Touratech? Joe: Touratech was already manufacturing accessories for KTM back in 1999. Which is why Mattighofen referred me to Touratech at the time for further equipment. Until then I had always made my own panniers. Although the people at Niederschach only had a vague idea of who I was, the team was soon enthusiastic about my concept. Since then Touratech has be- come an important partner for me. Travel Time: Your wife Renate not only organises your lecture dates, she often accom- panies you on your travels. Joe: That is true. Even during my longest travel in 1986/1987 (13 months through Africa, Asia and Australia), Renate joined me for three weeks in Bali. She then handed in her notice and we spent the remaining three months touring Austra- lia together. Travel Time: Is the stress of professional photography a strain on you as a couple on your joint travels? Joe: On average our travels last four to five months, so there is plenty of time to enjoy our tra- vels. Of course, we have our moments, too. For example, when I struggled through an icy river in Siberia, only to hear Renate’s dry comment from behind the video: »Please do it again, the first take was not that brilliant.« JoePichlerJoe Pichler Personal data Year of birth: 1960 Profession: technician,presently travel journalist Place of residence Elixhausen near Salzburg (A) Interests (other than motorcycle travel): skiing,mountain biking,mountain hiking,squash, tennis,photography,good food and drink