Arja, Pascal & Francois – The Riding2up Team

The three of us, Pascal, Arja and Francois, yes that’s right we count our BMW R1200 GS called Francois as one of us, after all he is the one that does all the work. We’re just along for the ride, and oh what a ride it has been so far!


Riding2up Trio in Cambodia

Arja Gullvik was born in Norway during the cold greed of the eighties and was taken to the far-flung shores of Australia when she was five. Her mother has told her she was a well-behaved child but stubborn, imperious and demanding. For Arja however, her childhood was a relatively carefree one where animals, traveling and the simple things in life were celebrated. Having attended six primary schools by the age of eight, in such diverse places as Melbourne, Kuala Lumpur and Bristol, she developed a thirst for travel that to this day has never quite been quenched.

Once her family settled in Brisbane, Australia, her life was one brimming full of pets. There was a succession of hermit crabs and goldfish as well as guinea-pigs, birds, dogs and a love of horses and horseriding. She gained an understanding that animals are irrevocably connected with human life and that without them we can do nothing. At this time she also felt an overwhelming sense of nostalgia and the need to know her Norwegian roots. So at the tender age of thirteen, armed with a rucksack, teddy bear and a notebook, she left Brisbane on her own to travel back ‘home’. This she did again at the age of fifteen with her younger sister in tow and for an extended year-long stint once she finished high school.

At the age of 18, she returned to Brisbane to study for a Bachelor of Law and Environmental Science degree at Griffith University. Whilst struggling to get by as a student, she has still managed to escape to the remote jungles of Sabah, Borneo and to the wilderness of Tasmania, where she came across a devilishly handsome rogue named Pascal. In fact, her first ride on a motorcycle was only after having met Pascal, and she fell in love with ‘Rhonda the Honda’ instantly. She gained an intense sense of independence and freedom on the back of the bike even if she wasn’t in control (although she does have her learners license now…)

An avid reader from an early age, Arja’s outlook on the journey Pascal and her are about to undertake is a little like sinking into a good book and then, instead of imagining the marvels that take place, becoming part of it. For her, an adventure of this scale contains a marvelous sense of possibilities, an enriching and absorbing conviction of change and growth.

Pascal Bosshard born in Australia has a long and colourful history of over 15 years with a variety of motorcycles. Going back back to his early years his facination of two wheels soon became an obsession and it was at age 15 when he completely rebuilt a honda 80cc scooter that was in disrepair. From then a passion for riding quickly grew and so too did the need for a faster motorbike. The next inline was a Honda CB250, this provided ample enjoyment but it’s age and continual need for maintenance soon gave way to a newer, faster bike, the  suzuki across. The Suzuki was a fantastic commuter bike as it was fast and nimble in traffic and it had a helmet sized storage compartment in place of the  fuel tank. Who said that motorcycles couldn’t also be practical?

After a three year stint in Europe without a motorbike Pascal’s passion to regain that seemingly unfamiliar riding position was apeased by another Honda, this time a VFR800. A fantastic sports tourer that provided much joy including a tour of Tasminia (or ‘rinding the map of Tassie’). This is where Arja and Pascal first met on an eco tour through the Tasmanian wilderness and where this enduring alliance was formed. Sadly a lot of trouble with ongoing electrical issues that repeatedly burnt the loom from wiring meant that the the VFR was soon to be replaced. The successor to the VFR and staying true to Honda was the VTR1000 Firestorm nick-named Rhonda. This gutsy V-Twin was an absolute pleasure and provided ample amusement. This included a variety of tours from Brisbane to the snowy mountains and a track day at Eastern Creek.

In the interests of preparation for this dventure through Asia the fun packed V-Twin gave way to the all-terrain boxer named Francois a yellow BMW R1200GS with ABS brakes. The aspirations for the new motorbike are high and with this tried and trusted motorbike having performed many an adventure the decision was made to trade in the sexy Firestorm for the all-terrain, go anywhere GS.

As a trained engineer graduating from Sydney University and having completed his thesis in France at Supelec, Pascal has a passion for knowing how things work and fit together. This curiosity combined with years of riding experience and technical expertise prove an invaluable asset both on the road and off it. All his  knowledge and experience will be drawn upon when embarking on an adventure of this scale.

Francois, our trusty steed, the piece of machinery with a heart and soul that is much a part of the trip as we are.

Find out more about our Francois and the preparations and accessories he has to make him the best of breed adventure touring machine here.