UK to Australia
...and everywhere in between
Overland by Motorcycle
Horizons Unlimited 2009 Presentations (pdf format)
UK to Oz trip (29mb!)
Packing - What to take (4.8mb)
Link to shipping pages here.
Quick Progress Updates
17th May 2008
Having been away for over a year, the bike needed an MOT before I could get it back onto the road. It turned out that all of the wheel and steering head bearings were worse for wear, so replacement ones were fitted. Other than that, the oil was changed, as were brake fluids and fork oil. The suspension linkages were greased (they were VERY dry!) and finally valve clearances were checked (no need to adjust even after 36,000 miles). Oh, and a new set of Tourance tyres!
12th May 2008
The bike has now also completed the full circle (or at least two halves). I collected it from the shipping company in Basildon earlier today. All that it needed was a splash of petrol and it started first time. It is in need of some TLC for the bearings, chain, tyres etc. Full report coming after a big service later in the week.
29th March 2008
After over 10 months of travelling, it is time to go home to London. My bike should arrive back in the UK at the beginning of May, so check back for details of the fun and games in getting it released. I shall also post updates from time to time with how I am settling back into 'normal life' after this adventure.
19th March 2008
The bike h as now been dropped off at Port Botany to be shipped back home to the UK.
Sydney City Motorcycles kindly gave me a crate in which to safely package the bike for transport.
12th March 2008 (1.30pm)
I have arrived in Sydney!
After 269 days on the road and 27,687 miles, I pulled into Sydney Harbour, completing my overland trip from the UK to Australia. The arrival was more of a personal moment than a public one, without audience or fanfare - just a very big grin on my face.
11th March 2008
I finally escaped the hills and am now within a day of Sydney - my final destination. The weather was sweltering on the way across to here (Cowra).
6th March 2008
After planning to spend just a handful of days up in the mountains, I am still here over a week later! After a quick visit out to the coast, only to find more bad weather, I even came back for more. Perhaps, there's something in the air up here!
26th February 2008
The south coast was disappointing due to poor weather, although I did stumble across a small seaside village called Metung which cheered things up a little. I may head up to the mountains to see if their alpine roads live up to their reputation.
21st February 2008
A couple of days were spent meandering the streets of Melbourne. It seems like a fairly cool city, but then again, it seems like most other cities that I have visited around the world - it's just a little cleaner than Delhi and has fewer cows!
16th February 2008
I have taken down the pace a little after 2000 miles of nothing. Whilst I had visited them before, both the Grampians National Park and the Great Ocean Road didn't fail to deliver. Both were stunning as well as peaceful. Possibly the best scenery in Australia.
Between 21st May 2007 and 12th March 2008, a charity journey by motorcycle of 28,111 miles was ridden. It began from the UK, heading for Australia, overland on a BMW F650GS Dakar motorcycle. The route that was embarked upon went through Eastern Europe, Russia, Kazakhstan, China and India before heading to Malaysia and to the penultimate country, Singapore before reaching Australia. The trip was in aid of the charity 'Make-a-Wish Foundation', a very worthwhile cause, for whom money and awareness is being raised and your support is kindly requested.
Why on a bike?
The idea for a long distance motorcycle trip (known of as 'adventure motorcycling') came from a combination of a love of motorbikes and a desire to travel the world and really see the places visited. Most travel that one does in today's world tends to be restricted to the main cities and routes that tourist transport uses. Travelling independently opens up infinite opportunities to roam freely and stop as and when one chooses.
Why Australia as a destination?
Australia is suitably remote and reaching it entails traversing a challenging array of less developed countries across Asia. Looking at the key regions of the world meeting the remote and exploration criteria, the pockets of countries are limited to Africa, Asia and South America. The Eastern Europe-Asia-Oceania route appealed the most due to the diversity of cultures and terrain.
What inspired the trip?
Initial inspiration for the trip came from Jim Rogers' book, Investment Biker, a fund manager who decided to travel across the globe, looking at the world's economies at a 'grass roots' level. Jim Rogers narrated a fascinating contrast between having the world's resources at his feet in terms of money and the everyday rough and dirty environment that travelling by such a simple vehicle as a motorcycle presents. One day he camped rough, the next he would roll into a town, check into a five star hotel and call up the country's finance minister!
Ahh, you must have seen the DVD from those actor guys?
This is the most common question that is asked! Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman did the Long Way Round in 2004. The DVD series was a fascinating way of presenting the trip to 'armchair' travellers, however the UK to Australia trip being undertaken has been in planning since quite some time before our actor friends did their trip, so this is not a 'copycat' trip. Many people say that the Long Way Round was not real adventure as they had a support crew. My opinion is that there many ways of doing everything. The Long Way Round did it in their chosen way and, at the end of the day, they had a go and enjoyed it. That's all that counts!
(By the way, the second most common remark is 'did you see Borat in Kazakhstan')
Is this purely in the name of fun?
Along the road, the full horizon of cultures and people has been encountered and it seemed appropriate to pass on the experience to other travellers, friends and family as well as to take the opportunity to raise awareness for a charity. Given that the Rider experienced over 250 days of adventure and fascinating but challenging travel, it was thought appropriate to work with a group to help to offer others experiences to fulfil life dreams. The chosen charity is the Make-a-Wish Foundation in the UK. This charity "grants magical wishes to children and young people fighting life threatening illnesses." An account has been set up with Just Giving, which is a secure website through which people can donate money. All proceeds go directly to the Make-a-Wish Foundation UK and through the government 'Gift-Aid' scheme, a further 28% of whatever you give will be passed to the Charity.
Leading edge protective armour which, on impact, changes its molecular structure from a flexible gel to a rigid protective pad.
Manufacturers of high speed / light weight battery charging system for AA and AAA batteries.
Producers of shaving oils, an alternative to foam and soap. Light in weight and bulk. Hopefully, King of Shaves products will be the only close shaves that Riders encounter.
Manufacturer of technical clothing provided the Rider with natural merino wool base layers.
Keeps you warm in the cold and cool in the heat. It is quick drying.
Suppliers of specially moulded ear plugs for better hearing protection and comfort.
Suppliers of security bolts to prevent bike body panels from being stolen.
A motorcycling travel agent who can arrange excellent rates for ferry crossings. They kindly donated the tickets for the beginning of the trip.