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Overland Bicycle Travel Overlanding questions for two wheels, no motor!
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  #1  
Old 30 Jul 2009
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Sold my R1150gs and bought a bicycle.....

Last year I decided that the cheapest way for me to see the world was to sell my motorbike and by myself a bicycle.

I set off on 18th July 2008 and here I sit in Kathmandu, Nepal a couple of stones lighter. I haven't quite given up on motorbikes though and was lucky enough to borrow a 500cc Enfield in Pushkar, India and a 350cc Enfield to ride the Manali - Leh Highway.

I've got a webstie Bicycle Touring: Acoustic Motorbike - A bicycle journey around this small blue planet which has a blog and also links to some videos / photos. I've just uploaded a video to YouTube of my ride down the Rothlang La (pass) and you can view it here: YouTube - Rothang La (India)

Feel free to contact me if you are planning a similar trip.

Aidan
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  #2  
Old 30 Jul 2009
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Stunning photos by the way! Looking at them really doesn't help my mood as I sit writing reports at my desk!!
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  #3  
Old 31 Jul 2009
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Oh mate thats so cool. Those pictures are fantastic! Will be following the blog.

Good luck
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  #4  
Old 18 Aug 2009
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Same thought had crossed my mind, swop the engined two wheeler for a leg powered one. Will be following your blog!

Good luck!
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Old 18 Aug 2009
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Bit more extreme than myself. I sold my bmw r80rt and bought an Enfield.. think it is abit up on a push bike
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  #6  
Old 28 Aug 2009
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Lovely photos, Aidan.
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  #7  
Old 1 Sep 2009
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Thanks for the comments on the photos.
The trip has been great so far and I certainly don't miss spending money on petrol / spairs and repairs.

Aidan
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Old 24 Feb 2011
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I'm planning to swap an engine for muscle power on my next trip too....

Did you find it an easy transition ? Ever frustrated with lack of progress ??
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  #9  
Old 25 Feb 2011
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I did the swop last year for a tour of SE Asia and found it hard but enjoyable work, you see a lot more on a bicycle and get more interaction with locals. A couple of times I put the bike on a bus or train when I didn't fancy the road ahead. For my next trip I am considering splitting the difference and taking a 125cc motorbike now that I am use to the slower pace. The medical insurance is also a lot less on a bicycle or small motorbike.
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  #10  
Old 25 Feb 2011
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Hi MArk,

just get yourself a Yamaha Serow!

I've never regretted the day that I sold my R1200GS and took the tiddler option.

Regards

Reggie
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  #11  
Old 25 Feb 2011
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Second what Reggie said.
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  #12  
Old 25 Feb 2011
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We're slowly taking over the world. Serows rock!
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  #13  
Old 26 Feb 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by *Touring Ted* View Post
I'm planning to swap an engine for muscle power on my next trip too....

Did you find it an easy transition ? Ever frustrated with lack of progress ??
I did about a year or two ago, gradually doing more bicycle and less motorbike. all the clichés that motorbikers claim, "...part of the scene..", "maps becoming 3-dimensional", etc, apply even more so to cycle touring.

my motorbike touring seemed to have evolved into a long list of goals, and I just rode around ticking them off. it seemed a bit, disconnected with where I was.

as to lack of progress, it's exactly the opposite. my motorbike touring is measured in 'fuel tanks'. you look at the map, and think, "that's one and a half tanks away, I can make that today." but on the bicycle, even touring at home, the slower you go the more that seems to happen. on the bicycle I measure progress in terms of how little I think about the next place on the map.

for example, I've just been doing some touring at home; over the last few weeks. I took 7 days to cycle Inverness to Orkney. the time it took was neither intentional or unintentional, it was just how long it took. but those 7 days were packed full of all the stuff touring is supposed to be about.

I could ride (and have ridden much further) that on a motorbike in a couple of hours. I would have missed out on so much.

I think what killed, or seriously wounded, motorbike travel for me was taking that GS back from Bamako to London. I did the Bamako to Barcelona in 8 days or something. to me these big bikes rob any sense of achievement because they are so damn easy to ride. even the enfield across west africa proved to be a pretty straight forward experience. I was just whizzing past so much stuff, because I had this idea that I have to so see some 'progress' on the map.

don't get me wrong, there are people doing exceptionally adventurous things on motorbikes, and there are others who are doing less exceptional things and thoroughly enjoying themselves. but I think the days of romanticising about Ted Simon's first trip, for example, are over for most of us. Simply because we're not able to conjure up the same state of mind that was possible back then. these days we are people who seem to want to pre-plan, have insurance, have bomb-proof equipment, have instant communications back home, etc, etc.

I have a sense I'm now on the lunatic fringe of things. I want to break that cord with home, when I'm away. I don't want continual contact with the familiar things. Even if I'm only in Inverness I can feel free by doing away with phone, internet, plans, etc. a lot of people seem to be heading towards the commercialisation of touring, and I'm running away from it :-)

two books I've read in the past year or so sum up what I'm thinking. A Time Of Gifts, Tim Fermor Leigh. And, Full Tilt, Dervla Murphy.

I don't think we can ever get back to that form of travel, we seem to know too much these days. but the bicycle, I think, makes it easier to travel more naively in today's world.
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Old 26 Feb 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DougieB View Post
I did about a year or two ago, gradually doing more bicycle and less motorbike. all the clichés that motorbikers claim, "...part of the scene..", "maps becoming 3-dimensional", etc, apply even more so to cycle touring.

........

I don't think we can ever get back to that form of travel, we seem to know too much these days. but the bicycle, I think, makes it easier to travel more naively in today's world.
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Old 26 Feb 2011
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Dervla Murphy is, IMHO, one of the best travel writers of all time and Full Tilt is one of my favourite travel books of all time.

She writes with a style and distinction that's from a time which, as you say, has long gone. No harm in employing a bit of that style in your own travels though...

Be careful though, If you read some of her other books you could find yourself trading the pushbike for a mule...
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