Five minutes with.........Bill Allan

Who are you?
William ‘Bill’ Allan

What do you do?
At the moment I have taken two years out of work to concentrate on organising and completing a Trans European Challenge for charity, but I normally work as a sales manager for the AA.

What does this entail?
Well my managerial role is to make sure my sales team are hitting their targets, also to keep them up-to-date with new training methods and to give support and help where needed.

Now the Trans European Challenge is a totally different ball game! I do everything from planning my route to fundraising, sorting out publicity for the event and visiting would-be sponsors. The trip is from Croydon to Iraq from the end of May in aid of the Army Benevolent Fund. The trip should be there-and-back in around 22 days or so and the distance is around 6500 miles. It’s just me and no support crew so I’m camping all the way! I’m aiming at raising around £50,000, so it’s going to be tough, but I have had some support from the likes of Express Insurance and backing from World Superbike rider Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne, so every little helps! Thankfully I also have some support from Avon Tyres who have supplied some fresh rubber for the trip!

What is the most demanding part of your job?
In both cases it is facing and talking to the public and to get them to be as passionate as I am about what I am doing, especially the charity ride. We all have good and bad days and no two people are alike, so you have to be smiling all the time and not show that you are having a bad day. You also have to treat every single person as though they are special and I’m sure I’ll meet lots of special people on my trip! I’ll write about it and let you all know on this website!

What do tyres mean to you?
Tyres are what keep me safe. They’re the difference between life and death in some cases as they are the only contact with the road and if they fail then you can crash.

What is your favourite tyre?
I have tried many different tyres in the past, but I have never been on such a long

trip on my bike before, so it’s going to be an interesting trip! I wanted to find out what tyre would be the best for the distance and the road conditions that I will be experiencing and after scouring the Internet and talking to people who have real touring experience I decided to go with the Avon Storm 2 Ultras. From what I can see, this tyre ticks every box that I need: dry grip, wet grip, longevity and quick warm-up. I will report back on how they perform!

What motorbike do you have?
At the moment I have a 1995 Mk1 Yamaha TDM850 – a much under-rated bike in the UK, but very popular on the continent. It’s the best bike I’ve ever owned and the one I’ve had most fun and pleasure on. I suppose I could have tried to borrow something newer to do the trip, but I know this bike well.

Best biking moment?
Well, this may change when I return from Iraq, but so far, I would say the best biking moment would be when three mates and I where touring the south of France back in 1985. We were riding through the French alps and Mick – an old friend of mine – wanted to get some action shots as we rode through the mountains, so I sat facing backwards taking the photos of Mick while riding the twisty mountain roads. Let me tell you, it was a very scary and unsettling feeling as you cannot tell when a corner is coming up and when you lean over, your first reaction is to try to grip onto something rather than take the picture! Luckily we did manage to get some great shots which are in pride of place in my photo album, but I’m not sure I’d do it again!