That one day on a beach in Mexico
One late afternoon, sometime during 2015, we rolled onto a beach in Baja California, Mexico to meet up with Leonie and Peter for an evening of wild camping. They were heading north to Alaska with their two Honda CRF250’s and we were on our way South to Patagonia with our Suzuki DR650’s.
All of us have been on the road for a good while. During the two previous years or so we had continuous contact via social media to check out each other's routes for tips and suggestions. This one evening fling was pure luck as our paths would cross that day on the famous Mexican peninsula.
It felt like we had been friends for years, although it was the first time we met.
We left everything at the bikes, took the rum and tequila and wasted no time hitting the beach and surf to cool off. As it always goes with overlanders and bikers, we soon started discussing the limitations, lack of function and pricing of motorcycle luggage and travel gear overall. All four of us were old hands at overlanding and motorcycle tripping, so the stuff came naturally.
At one stage one of us (no-one knows, the tequila also talked a bit) said so why do we not try and make our own stuff? For a few minutes, there was only the sound of the waves, laughter, and more laughter as we thought it was a brain-dead suggestion.
But it started to sink in and by 2am that morning the idea had grown on all of us. It was a good mix of people. And we were also out of tequila. We had previously started up, owned and successfully sold off an outdoor and motorcycle accessory business, and Leonie and Peter are both skilled in business and engineering. That night we realized it was in fact NOT such a brain-dead idea, as there are still many opportunities in the market for well-thought-out designs that can be used for the enjoyment of adventure and travel.
All of us have friends and know people who ride all kind and type of bikes. It does not matter if it is a rusted-up thumper, a Honda Cub, or a brand-new German land-yacht. They all love their bikes and the way they travel. Some are as rough as a bears-ass and drag the gear through hell and back and others just hit weekend trips - it does not matter, we want to try and suit them all.
We have met so many people travelling on long trips, short trips, seen some struggle with the expensive hyped products, others using old army kit, surely, we could find a middle ground that will tick the boxes on quality, functionality, and price?
In the next few weeks after that day on the beach, we decided our longtime friend Piet had to be part of this crazy idea. We met him later in Guadalajara to convince him of the idea. He is an equally besotted adventurer and business owner with experience of running adventure motorcycle tours across the globe, and also thought it was something that we should do!
And that, boys and girls, is how the idea of Turkana started. The name Turkana was shamelessly stolen from “Lake Turkana”, one of the most remote and harshest places in Africa - an area between Kenya and Ethiopia with a green border crossing.
It is not a route trotted to death by overlanders as it is so challenging and difficult to travel. Taking you between Kenya to Ethiopia, this almost 1000km route winds alongside the beautiful turquoise coloured lake.
It is extremely remote with virtually no infrastructure to provide support and therefore requires your gear, vehicles, and body to be reliant on itself as stuff cannot fail there.
As we have all ridden through this area and had to agree that this beautiful yet tough place was one of the harshest routes we encountered on our round the world travels, we decided to use the name Turkana as a symbol of our adventure inspired and functional, high-quality brand that we would like to build.