• 101st Edition, April/May 2014

    "One of our highlights was the crossing of a densely forested area in the north-western part of Tasmania. One of the roads there was closed, and so we tried to get through on small 4×4 and foresting tracks. Giant fern trees, deep mud, plenty of birds and insects, mosses and beard lichen made the area look like a scene from Jurassic Park - after every corner we expected to find ourselves eye to eye with a snarling dinosaur... we had to fight our way through some really long and deep mud holes, over rocks, through deep ravines, and down steep slopes. Sounds more like a nightmare? No, we loved it - but it was strenuous..."

    Heike and Filippo Fania, Germany, in Tasmania

  • 100th Edition, March 2014

    "As I left I got confused about where the path I came in on was and ended up heading down the short cut. Realizing my mistake I just decided to plough a path through the mud and water which was a bit touch and go when the bike ended up in water so deep it was nearly over the exhaust! It was definitely deeper than the day before after all the extra rain. There were long stretches of water where you couldn't see any sort of dry exit so you just had to go for it and hope there was no unexpected trenches under the water..."

    Technomadic Jim, in Botswana,

  • 99th Edition, January 2014

    "Muttering 'Wall of Death' several times, I open the throttle and ride up onto the trail, aware that as a personal mantra, a phrase invoking the word death is possibly not the most positive one to use. But it works for me, or at least, it did until this point, I slowed, I dithered and oh dear, the front wheel slid down and over the bike went into the mud. With me close behind.

    I staggered to my feet, and almost fell over again, as by the front wheel the mud was well above my knees and sucking me down. I had to wait for help... between us with a great deal of effort, we got the bike up and then onto firm ground. We were both covered in mud. He headed off to the nearest river to wash, I didn't bother because with many more kilometres of this ahead of me, there was no point in getting myself clean now..."

    Tiffany Coates, UK, in Madagascar

  • 98th Edition, Jul/Aug 2013

    "I try to slip narrowly between a tree leaning half-uprooted, bent forwards in the sand from an ancient flood, and an area of softer sand cut by the few tyres that have passed this way. I catch one of the tree's tough branches on my body and tumble off, stopping with a jolt. I wiggle out painfully from under the bike sunk heavily in the sand, burning my leg on the engine case and hurting my ankle as I rush to tug it free from the heavy heat. I go to heave the bike up and as I do a spurt of blood surges out from somewhere on to the sand. My hand is cut and I wipe it on my trousers ineffectively...  vital fuel is leaking out from the tank; I have to get the bike up. I plunge my bloody hand amongst the soft sand and fix it around the grip and heave the bike a second time. This time my reddened hand slips from the now wet grip and I fall backwards and tangle in the tough tree branches, which I fight angrily against. I manage better the third time and push and run the bike along the riverbed and across to the far side."

    Nick Jones, UK, in Bolivia

  • 97th Edition, June 2013

    "...Three days, numerous rain showers and uncountable close calls later we finally start the climb into the cloud forest where we had organised a week or so volunteering in a bird sanctuary/lodge. What followed was a road that made the previous muddy track feel like a German autobahn. Once upon a time it was the main road from Quito, the capital of Ecuador. This would have been around the time of the Romans I think. Now it was a slippery, muddy goat track skirting precipitous drops into the wet depths of Hades. At one point I think my training as a whitewater rafting guide came in handy."

    Mark and Carlie, Australia, in Ecuador, 650 V-Strom,

  • 96th Edition, May 2013

    ...the skyline of Cartagena emerged on the horizon in the early afternoon. South America beckoned to us! For most of the passengers it was the first time on this continent. The Stahlratte anchored down a few hundred meters away from the shores of Manga Island, where the Aduana offices were located. Because it was expensive to rent a commercial pier to off load the bikes, we used a small public pier and dinghied the bikes to shore. It was a wild process to get the bikes on land and it's a testament to the crew's experience that we timed the off load to coincide with high tide...

    Gene and Neda, 'Lightcycle' from Toronto, RTW, in Colombia, R1200GS and F800GS,

  • 95th Edition, April 2013

    "After a couple of hours the roads got worse and the riding got harder. Roadworks after roadworks didn't aid our speed, but the 'making good' of the road suddenly ceased at what appeared to be the worst bit. Rough crevices across the road, rocky outcrops to navigate, and then mud, mud, mud everywhere were to be the order of the day.

    Thank God we had not tried to make this treacherous and exhausting journey in the short afternoon of the day before! Not to mention the other 'dangers of the road' that we had been told about, coming in the forms of armed drug gangs hanging about in the dense jungle-shrouded mountains. I don't care if I need a pee! I'm not going in there! Thankfully we didn't see any of those undesirables, but we did get stuck in a lot of mud!"

    Chris and Chloe Granger, UK, in Honduras

  • 94th Edition, November 2012

    "As the dusty day descended into dusk we came upon a perfect road, lined by lovely vegetation and with very few trucks. As we found out later, we had entered the county of Beijing where everything is beautifully well kept as the nation's capital. Then a few kilometres later, riding a lovely curvy road in the mountains we could make out a wall perched on a hilltop. Spotlights were lighting the wall and it made for a fantastic sight. The Great Wall of China.

    We had actually ridden our motorcycles all the way from Germany to the Great Wall of China. We had to pinch ourselves to confirm that we weren't dreaming."

    Ekke and Audrey Kok, Canada, in China

  • 93rd Edition, September / October 2012

    "We had filled up with petrol and were ready for 500km of jungle. Or so we thought. After 100km and a couple of these ferries, we passed an army base, the last of civilization for awhile. No private contractors were willing to rebuild the BR 319, so the army was sent in to do it. The road was originally built to maintain the communication towers every 50 or so km that connect Manaus to the rest of the country. It had not been maintained since the 80's. At the time the 10-15km after the army base was the worst part of the road.

    We had to repeatedly unload as we sunk stuck into mud up to the bottom of the bags, push the bike through and reload. After valiantly battling through 8km of mud in 2+ hours, the bike decided to completely consume her clutch..."

    Chad and Kyla, NZ, 2-up on a Chinese 250 in the Brasilian jungle

  • 92nd Edition, June 2012

    "The road wound and twisted and doubled back on itself forever climbing. I rode through lush palm forests and skirted along the sides of mountains. The road was treacherous to say the least and had broken away in several places.

    I was out there on my own, no cars or vans dared this road. At least I didn't meet any. I only met locals on motorcycles, though bigger than mine and with lovely telescopic front suspension with several inches of travel.

    Hill climbs were especially difficult made worse by the heavily broken rock road and having so much weight over the front wheel which served to add weight and worse still momentum into the steering and made it difficult to control as the wheel bounded against rock and stones."

    Seán Patrick Dillon, Ireland, in Guatemala, Honda Cub

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