At the age of sixty two, with my kids now grown up, I set off to fulfil a long held ambition – to travel the world on my motorcycle. Why do I want to do this crazy thing? I think these lines, by Robert W Service, sum it all up nicely.
Why seek to scale Mount Everest,
Queen of the air?
Why strive to crown that cruel crest:
And deathward dare?
Said Mallory of dauntless quest:
“Because it’s there”
Why yearn with passion and with pain
To storm the sky?
Why suffer, – sullen goals to gain,
And fear defy?
“Tis not for glory or for gain
We darkly die”
Why join the reckless, roving crew
Of trail and tent?
Why grimly take the roads of rue,
To doom hell-bent?
“Columbus, Cook and Cabot knew,
And yet they went”
Why bid the wholly world goodbye
To follow far,
Adventures under evil sky
And sullen star?
Let men like Mallory reply:
” Because they are.”
My inspiration comes from those riders who’ve gone before, such as Ted Simon, Sam Manicom and Graham Field, to name a few. Their books awake the wanderlust. But I love to read travel books of all kinds, especially those that make you think, ‘I want to be there, doing that’. So that’s what I’m doing.
Why use a motorcycle? Simply because they’re the best compromise between speed, convenience and being ‘out there’ among, and in contact with, Arthur, Ahmed and Anya, who live in the places you’re riding through. And anyway, I’ve been riding bikes since I was sixteen, so what else would I be likely to use?
I worked for the Automobile Association, in the UK, for more than thirty years. As well as a useful pension I also gained the knowledge and ability to feel I can deal with whatever the road throws at me. And thus it has proved so far.
I go back to visit my family about once a year, an essential way of keeping in touch and recharging my batteries a bit. But I’m never back for very long before I’m itching to be returning to wherever I left my bike, and be back in the saddle.
At the time of writing this I’ve already been on the road over three years. If you want to see what I’ve been up to, and to see what happens next, find my blog posts here.
The bike in the picture is the Suzuki DR350 on which I started out. After 92,000kms it was worn out so I shipped it back to the UK and bought a new one.
This is my CCM GP450 Adventure. Made in England and in terms of size, power and weight, is perfect for the job. Only time and distance will tell whether it proves to be as robust and long lasting.
Sometimes I feel like some old duffer, bouncing off disaster and into the arms of delight. But the trip has managed to hang together so far. Let’s hope it continues to do so. As somebody once said, ‘Life always gives you another chance, it’s called Tomorrow’. Here’s to all those tomorrows.