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Travellers' questions that don't fit anywhere else This is an opportunity to ask any question, and post any notice you wish that doesn't fit into one of the other sections.
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  #1  
Old 18 Oct 2005
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First inspiration

Hi folks,
I'm bored and should be working.
However, before I jack it in for the day and go to the post office to collect my new Touratech racks (you can't see it but I'm rubbing my hands with glee at the anticipation!) I thought I'd ask you all a question:
Is there one definative moment you look back on that inspired you to do the big trip on a bike? That first realisation that THIS was what you wanted to do?

For me it was India 1992. Backpacking round with a buddy. This grizzled looking German guy turned up at our Hotel in Udaipur on a Honda dirt bike caked in dust and mounted with two battered ammo boxes. He'd come overland from Germany through Iran and Pakistan. I thought "This is the coolest thing I've ever heard of!" It took years and a reminder in the shape of seeing the cover of 'Desert Biking' in Waterstons a few years later but I'm finally doing it!

I'd love to hear what/who inspired other folk, if only to kill more time when I'm meant to be working!
Matt
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*Disclaimer* - I am not saying my bike is better than your bike. I am not saying my way is better than your way. I am not mocking your religion/politics/other belief system. When reading my post imagine me sitting behind a frothing pint of ale, smiling and offering you a bag of peanuts. This is the sentiment in which my post is made. Please accept it as such!
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  #2  
Old 18 Oct 2005
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Hi,

I guess my brother inspired me to take more interest in off road bikes. We both rented a couple of scooters in Greece a few years ago and had a bit of a laugh tearing around on them.
Since then, we have both done our DAS licences and owned quite a few different big bikes and funny little ones - I even have a C90 at the moment :-)

On TV, the Mondo Enduro/Terra Circa chaps and also Nick Sanders have made me want to explore further away places than the normal European countries...indeed I went with Nick on one of his trips to Morocco. It taught me that I could do the trip myself - I don't need to rely on other people if I don't have to. Although backup/help/friends are always useful to have.

I'm in the process of looking for a house now, but once I am settled I would like to visit a few more countries in Africa and N/S America.

Regards,
Simon
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  #3  
Old 18 Oct 2005
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I was already travelling a fair bit but didn't think of doing it on a bike until I read "Running with the Moon".

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  #4  
Old 18 Oct 2005
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I've always had a passion for bikes. My Dad bought me a field bike when I was about 7, raced moto X between the ages of 12 and 19. Loved them ever since.

My GrandPa was a Haulier and always gave me old maps when i visited. I loved reading maps
of foreign lands (foreign lands was anything further than 30 miles from home when I was a kid)

Then I watched Michael Palin in 'around the world in 80 days' - fantastic. I had to do what he did and was lucky enough to take a few months of work in my early 20's and travel the world with a couple of mates.

Now i'm in my early 30's putting all the above together. I love reading old maps and planning routes, preparing my 1150GS and heading off to foreign lands.

No RTW on a bike yet but I have done quite a bit around Europe!
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Old 19 Oct 2005
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When I was in Port Sudan in 1984/5 a grizzled looking German guy turned up on a BMW too! His name was Werner. Where are you now, Werner?
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  #6  
Old 19 Oct 2005
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Jupiters Travels...read it donkeys years ago.

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  #7  
Old 23 Oct 2005
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There was an article in "Bike" magazine in approx November 2003 called "Jack It All In", which, irresponsibly enough, suggested dumping your job and home, getting on your bike and going somewhere a little bit more... exotic. By Feb 2004 I had bought a 5 year old Dommie, and by September I was in Cherbourg. I'm now in Malawi. What a hoot!

Simon
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Old 23 Oct 2005
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I would like to add Simon (sime66) as an inspiration. Excellent!
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  #9  
Old 23 Oct 2005
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Wandering around the local library in Banbury aged 14 looking more gormless than usual, for some reason a librarian took pity on me and steered me over to a shelf and picked out a book for me: 'Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance'.

Twenty five years later, cycling to work through rainy Hackney, very bored and generally unhappy, I thought, hey, why I don't I do *that*? I even stopped and got off, I was so startled that I couldn't find a convincing answer.

Three months later, I had got a bike licence and was heading east.

Simon
(not the inspirational one, the other one)

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  #10  
Old 24 Oct 2005
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While travelling through Thailand in '99, i stumbled upon an oportunity to buy an XR250 in excellent shape from an American ex-pat. Travelled for six weeks with my backpack strapped to the back and bleeding sores on my ass, but i was hooked! Sold the bike before i left to an English bloke, got all my money back.
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  #11  
Old 26 Oct 2005
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My sister brought my partner "John" a book one xmas, yes you have guessed
"10 years on 2 wheels" by Helge Pederson.

It was not placed on the coffee table but in the bathroom next to the loo. The morning's rituals now involved reading this book, until one morning he came down and declared we were going to go RTW on motorbikes!

I had a confidence failure at this point even thought I had been riding a motorbike for years, but he said we could do it. He booked me on an off road day course with John Deacon, who looked after me and taught me loads of stuff. After falling off numerous times, falling off into a barbed wire fence ripping my jacket, learning how to go over the handle bars several times whilst the bike stayed upright in the mud, which I do not think was part of the course!, watching the bike go down a slippery hill without me, I did finish the long, hard days training. John Deacon said he was impressed that I had finished the day, considering I had participated with 9 blokes. He put my confidence back in tact, told me to go and he inspired me to do the trip.

After 3 years on the road on two BMW R80GS's we returned home. The book is still in the loo and the one thing I take great pleasure in, is that in the book on page 65 is a photo of Helge at the Geiser del Tatio, Chile, 4,300metres above sea level. I have the exact photo shot but it has our motorbikes and camping equipment in the frame not his! and as he says after spending a night in the freezing temperatures up there it was great to slip into that hot tub in the morning.

You want inspiration, buy this book, the photgraphs alone will make you want to go if you look at them long enough.

Annette

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  #12  
Old 27 Oct 2005
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Almost ashamed to admit it but it was the old Cliff Richard movie "Summer Holiday" where they went to Greece in an old London bus.
I saw it when it came out in the 60's and as soon as we were old enough I was off to Morocco two up on a friend's 250 Yamaha DS6. Luggage was two old suitcases on a Tower rack tied on with his mum's washing line!
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  #13  
Old 7 Dec 2005
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I was initiated to riding by the sound of the Beating thump of the NOW Indian - ROYAL Enfield Bullet. If in India it is THIS bike that you should ride!
All the military/ police people had this bike and and since then I too wanted to be in military ride this bike to the exotic hills and stations in the Himalayas! Part of the dream has now come true, I have the bullet , not in the army though (was rejected for medical reasons)! Surprising dreams do come true if you just hang on to them, mine did after 15 years of dreaming:-)
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  #14  
Old 7 Dec 2005
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First inspiration I got was on a trip to Australia where I met a couple who was sailing around the world. After 7 years they were not even half way round. I never really got to speak to them much, but the short meeting made me dream about the world. Though I realised that sailing was not the way I wanted to do it, and I also realised that I did not have it in me to burn all bridges and leave for years at a time... which was very depressing.

Then I read about two germans who were spending a few years travelling in their own airplane, which sounded really exiting... but also really expensive... which was also depressing.

Then a friend of mine showed that it is possible to divide the world into shorter legs, shipping ones bike in and out of every destination, making a RTW trip possible without having to burn all bridges... not as grand of a trip maybe, but still beats the hell out of a package trip under the sun.

At the same time I was getting into vintage Vespa's, and I read about this Betinelli fella who had done RTW+++ on a beaten old Vespa (he is currently spending 4 years doing every country in the world). I now knew that it was possible not only to travel the world bit by bit, but also on a Vespa. Initially idea was extremely facinating, but very daunting. Then I started doing research, and the more I did, the more I discovered that this was anything but impossible. People of all ages (babies to people in their 80's cross all sorts of continents, at all times of the year, with all sorts of vehicles (Vespa, Harleys, Camels, Vintage Enfields, Vintage cars, Enduro Bikes, Land Rovers, Bicycles, and even by foot). I immagined most extremeties to be even greater than they actually are (though some are still very severe)... I couldn't in my wildes fantcies for instance have immagined that you could ride from Paris to Dakar and barely have to leave the pavement... nor that a two seniors two uping on a huge Harley could make it through the muddy backroads of warring Congo... and I could never ever have immagined how many are actually doing this, it is simply amazing.

For every discovery I made (and still make), for good and for bad, I got ever more convinced that I have to do this. I have yet not left, but my planning and preparations are riding two up in over drive right now. I am making huge modifications to my 1960 Vespa (brand new 200 cc engine, hydraulic disk brake and clutch conversions, fork conversions, 12 v conversion, autolube conversion, shock absorber conversion, wheel conversion, luggage racks and panniers, and many other conversions). Hopefully I will have it ready for this summer so that I can ride one of three planned legs in Africa... if not, then I will do something closer to home, like the arctic highway, or Norway-Spain or something.

But nothing inspires more than this website!
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  #15  
Old 8 Dec 2005
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Matt
For me it was a mixture of events and feelings from a teenage boy.Back in 86 learned to ride a bike with a CX 500.The first 100 meters where enough to know the way of transporting! Imagine a hughe country as Argentina....and i love the smell of open.So no cars for me.With 17 and no drivers licens my first 900 km trip to Cordoba(what where my parents thinking!!!).
After that more in Europe with a G/S for about 5 years,then back in south-america with a XR 650 L.(and three sons....now)
Again it was the smell of the open.....
KH

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