November 01, 2006 GMT
About us

The plan has been long in hatching and slow in execution. For the last couple of years we have talked about doing this trip but finally, with Sascha finishing studying and me reaching a point in my job where I was happy to have a change of scene, all has come together.

The trip:
We are setting off from home with the intention of getting down to South Africa. Once there we'll take a rain check and decide what looks to be the best move next. We've got about 10 months to make it there before Sascha flies home and I continue alone... If all goes to plan the route should take us through Europe, Turkey, Iran, UAE, Oman and Yemen and then into Africa through Djibouti and head South from there.

Richard:
Having been working recruiting students from overseas to British Universities for the past 6 or so years, I have been lucky enough to have a job that nourishes my passion for travel. My other great passion (apart from Sascha of course!) is for vintage motorcycles. Combining the two is, if logic follows through, the finest thing I can spend my time doing. Previous big trips have included riding a '58 Bullet back from India and taking a '97 Bullet to the Sahara in Morroco. My experience of Africa has so far been quite limited and I'm really looking forward to finding out more...

Sascha:
I came to travelling a bit later than Rich with a trip a few years ago around Asia. Suffice to say I am not the hardy outdoors type so managed a fair few injuries, misshaps, robberies and a lot of moaning. Since meeting Rich I have discovered the joys of sitting pillion on a motorbike but steer well clear of the mechanics. So with all that in mind you may (as I am) be asking why am I doing this trip? I feel that as my experience of Africa has been limited to the news and I want to find out another view of things.

in blandford.jpg
The two of us nearly ready to go...

The bike:
Is a 1955 Royal Enfield Bullet, made in Redditch and for most of its life an inhabitant of Liverpool. This makes it a scouse bike, what that means in bike terms, I'm not too sure. Time will tell. The first question for many would be, why choose an old bike? I shall spare the cod philosophy I may usually spout forth about this but in simple terms in my mind there are several distinct advantages to travelling with an old bike:

1. It's cheap - parts are cheap, it was cheap to buy and you guys with a new BMW just think how much money you would have saved on your carnet if your bike had a value of 500 quid

2. I know how to fix it. That could turn out to be a rash statement as the trip progresses but suffice to say I can fix it better than I can a new bike with such horrors as electronic engine management sytems

3. It goes slowly. This of course to many would be a major turn-off but I'm travelling to meet people and see places, not to race. And slower is safer..

4. Old bikes open doors. It's pretty amazing how much more interest and hospitality you get with an old junker compared to a modern plastic rocket. Somehow too it blends into the environment more in developing countries. It is still worth way more than many will earn in several years but that's a scale more can relate to than a bike that many wouldn't be able to afford in a lifetime

5. Breakdowns are fun. Yes, really. Thought I'd leave that to last as it may seem the least convincing part of the argument. Some of the best experiences I have had and most I've got to know people travelling have been through breakdowns.

That's pretty much all on the bike. For those wearing vintage bike anoraks it's best to just say that the bike has been very modified and looks like something the cat has dragged in. Mail me if you are interested in it more than that and I'll happily bore you for hours..

Get in touch with us:
Of course we want to hear from friends and family but anyone else who is interested please do contact us. We'd really like to hear from anyone who has done a similar route to us and has any sage advice. Equally if you are planning something similar we'll be happy to help however we can. You can sign up to the blog and get notification of new entries and our email is on the footer of the page.

Posted by Richard Miller at 07:30 PM GMT
November 23, 2006 GMT
Not left yet! 23 November 2006

Dammit! Delays galore. Everyone says that in planning a trip such as this preparation takes a lot longer than you expect and they are not wrong... From packing everything up at home and cleaning it up to rent out to sorting out the paperwork and getting the bike in order all has guzzled up precious money and time away....

Our scheduled departure was back at the end of October and now a month later we are still here whittling down our travel budget. The Iranians have not yet obliged us with a visa and the bike is having more teething problems than Jaws as a child. Hmmm.. maybe I should have suspected that resurrecting a 50 year old bike that has been off the road for more than 20 years and preparing it for a two up trip through Africa would be a task that would take slightly longer that 3 weeks. But still, if it weren't for a strong sense of optimism we wouldn't attempt such ventures would we? Actually, all on the bike was sorted fairly early on. It is just that is has shown itself to be a keen smoker and really reluctant to break the habit. No amount of fettling and new parts has persuaded it that giving up is the best option. Normally one could live with a little wisp of smoke tailing us from the exhaust but this machine has a real 40 a day habit and the thought of slating its thirst with a pint of oil a day seems a bit over the top. We had been planning to carbon offset our trip but at this rate instead of purchasing a few trees we would have to be investing in the entire treelife of Borneo.

Still, we remain optimistic and all going to plan we should be off this weekend. Sorry to those friends we haven't managed to catch up with before leaving. Hopefully the next posting will be from Turkey in a couple of weeks' time...

bullet in workshop.jpeg
The noble steed itself in its natural habitat, the workshop, being dismantled for the umpteenth time. Not looking too good to depart in a couple of days' time!

Posted by Richard Miller at 09:53 PM GMT
 



Renedian Adventures

HU DVD Summer Special!

Now that summer is here, get On the Road! Take 30% off the Achievable Dream - On the Road! 2-DVD set until August 31 only. Get On the Road! Learn the tips to staying healthy, happy and secure on your motorcycle adventure!

Our veteran travellers share their tips (and great stories) for staying healthy, happy and secure on your motorcycle adventure.

"A fantastic, informative and inspirational DVD."

"It's brilliant - thank you very much!"

Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'ONTHEROAD' on your order when you checkout.

What others say about HU...

"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada

"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia

"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders

contest pic

10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!

NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!

HU 2014 T-shirts now in!

Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!


What turns you on to motorcycle travel?


Global Rescue, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!


New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.


Books & DVDs

amazon

All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.


Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!

Motorcycle Express

MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!

Story and photos copyright ©

Sorry, you need a Javascript enabled browser to get the email address and dates. You can contact Horizons Unlimited at the link below. Please be sure to tell us WHICH blog writer you wish to contact.

All Rights Reserved.

Contact the author:

Editors note: We accept no responsibility for any of the above information in any way whatsoever. You are reminded to do your own research. Any commentary is strictly a personal opinion of the person supplying the information and is not to be construed as an endorsement of any kind.

Hosted by: Horizons Unlimited, the motorcycle travellers' website!
You can have your story here too - click for details!