October 21, 2011 GMT
Previously on Rat Round the World …

OK, so the eagle eyed amongst you may have noticed that our intro says we are hoping to set off in August, it’s now October and we are still here. Who knew that organising round the world trip paperwork could be a full time job, so it’s handy that I no longer have an actual full time job.

I won’t bore you with the details, but after much faffing about with DVLA, the passport folks and the local council we now have a log book with the correct bike details on, new driving licences, new chunky passports and regular rent payments YAY!

In the meantime we have been having fun and quite a few weekends away (I know, I know, priorities), but it’s keeping us sane and stopping us saying “sod it lets just go round Europe, we don’t need paperwork for there.”

Posted by Nikki Robinson at 12:30 PM GMT
Such fun – or how to avoid the hard work of planning your trip.

On August bank holiday Sunday we met up with Martin and Mark. They had just returned from their RTW trip and a thoroughly good time they had. You can read about their exploits on their blog here http://strimstrum.blogspot.com/. They were really nice chaps and full of useful advice and info. So many thanks to them for giving up their Sunday afternoon to face our barrage of questions.

The first weekend in September was spent at the Horizons Unlimited Autumn meeting near Cheddar. We went to lots of useful and entertaining talks from people who have been there and done what we are setting out to do. It was a real morale boost to know it’s not impossible and we left with a “yeah, let’s just do it” attitude. Useful contact was also made with the chaps from James Cargo who have since sent us loads of useful information on shipping the bike across the more watery sections of our route plan.

The 11th of September was our 1st wedding anniversary…..Ahhhh. So we took a weekend off from planning, bike building and kit collecting and went to Devon for the weekend.


If you happen to be in that neck of the woods we can thoroughly recommend a trip to The House of Marbles in Bovey Tracey. Marble runs, games museum, glass works, pottery museum, the worlds largest marble marble (according to their leaflet) and the biggest cream tea I have ever seen in my life. Sunday was spent in Haldon Forest where Ant and I had a go on Segway’s. They are the best thing in the world ever! OK that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but they were a lot of fun. If you ever get the chance to go on one, take it, you will be converted.


The 17th and 18th of September was a party / rally to celebrate our friend Mouse’s 40th year on planet Earth. We spent the weekend on a farm in Penkridge messing about with bikes, wearing ginger beards and drunkenly sitting around the fire.


Most of our friends from the ratbike zone were there, for the uninitiated readers check out website here http://ratbike.org/.

The 25th of September we took part in the MAG demo to protest against proposed changes to legislation that would have an (in our opinion) adverse effect on motorcyclists and what they are allowed to do to their motorcycles.


If you would like the details check out MAG’s campaign page here http://www.mag-uk.org/en/campaignsdetail/a6883 . It was a lot of fun riding on the motorway in such a large group and we were on the news. We can now boast “as seen on Midlands Today”!

Posted by Nikki Robinson at 01:11 PM GMT
Pins and needles – well just needles really

Ant and I had our jabs for Yellow fever a couple of weeks ago. I wouldn’t recommend it. Random parts of us would ache for no apparent reason, but it only lasted for a week or so and I’m sure it’s much better than actually getting Yellow fever. We’ve just got 2 to go on the 25th of October and then we will be immune to everything the world has to throw at us ………. Well mostly.

In other health related news we have refreshed the stocks in our first aid kit and added a few exotic extras, like a snake bite kit. We have tried out the little suction cups and they seem easy to use, but probably become a bit more challenging in the panic after being bitten by a snake! All together less appetising are the tick removal tweezers. Stuff the possibility of encountering bears, it’s the ticks that freak me out. Hope we never have to use those…..eeuuww.

Posted by Nikki Robinson at 04:48 PM GMT
Route Plan – Erm, can you go round the world making it up as you go?

After having spent the last several weeks surrounded by maps, rulers, map measuring devices, calculators and the always scientific bits of string, my grasp of world geography is much better than it used to be, but we still don’t have a proper route plan.

We are now on version 7 which is the plan where we don’t have a plan. Every time we have reached a decision over the last few months, some civil unrest or war has broken out which has meant we have had to revise the countries we plan to visit. This changes week to week and has a knock on effect to visa applications etc. So we have decided to go and make it up as we along!

The plan so far is;

Friday 28th October – Leaving party at our local community centre.
Saturday 29th October - Travel down to London and stay with our lovely friends Hoon and Channie.
Sunday 30th October – Go to Halloween rat review at the Ace Café in London, then travel down to Portsmouth and catch the 10pm ferry to Bilbao in Spain.
Tuesday 1st November – Start going round the rest of the world!

OK, I know it’s not a detailed plan, but we still intend to go East through Europe, into Asia, down to Australia, round to Chile and then work our way north through the America’s. We will pick the actual countries to visit as we go depending on how safe they are at the time.

Posted by Nikki Robinson at 05:32 PM GMT
October 24, 2011 GMT
Squeak, pop, bang, or about the bike


If you where wondering why our blog is called "rat round the world" then one look at the bike and it should all become clear. I'm not going to go into the philosophy of the whole bike genre just go look at ratbike.org.


It's mostly an R80 BMW, with a few bits of Honda Superdream and some bits found in a skip, lots of cable tyes and duct tape. We have made our own pannier racks out of scrap metal from skips, these are designed to keep the panniers locked.


A reserve fuel cage was made from concrete reinforcing bar to take a 1 gallon can, using a old belt to make secure.


The seat is made from high density foam, raised at the back so Nikki can see the road signs and give me orders (sorry I mean directions). We did look into getting gel seats, then found air seats meant for a car but fitted the bike well, also saving a fourtune as they where only £4 each! bargain.

After doing some basic maintenance I have decided to ignore any niose that isn't the wind or the birds in the trees. Oil leeks have been fixed by replacing the sump gasket or what was left of it!....I just hope it wasn't put in like that.


not much more to say really, other than we shall see........

Posted by Nikki Robinson at 10:30 PM GMT
October 30, 2011 GMT
On our way

We're off! Still doesn't seem real.

We had a fantastic leaving do at our local community centre on Friday and we left yesterday at 1.20pm. Which was only twenty minutes after we intended, not bad.

Good ride down to London yesterday, a bit cold, but a BBQ, bonfire and good company soon banished the chills.

Off to the Cafe for breakfast and then to the Ace Cafe later. Looking forward to seeing everyone, but not as much as getting on the ferry tonight and having a good nights sleep. There are only so many nights of drinking in a row I can manage.

Posted by Nikki Robinson at 11:06 AM GMT
October 31, 2011 GMT
We are sailing – and lots of thank yous

Hello from the Cap Finistere ferry to Bilbao. The crossing has been reasonably calm so far, but we haven’t got our sea legs yet so much bumping into things is occurring.We sailed away from Portsmouth last night after a couple of manic days.

Thanks to all our friends and family who came to our leaving do on Friday night and big thanks to Nessie, who is a mad cake making genius.


Thanks to everyone who came to wave us off from home and to Rich, Rog and Tommo for keeping us company on the trip down to London.


Thanks to Hoon and Channie for your wonderful hospitality and a cracking night in your back garden as always.


Thanks to everyone who came to the Ace Cafe to see us off, we'll miss you all loads. Thanks to Hoon and Esox for the company on the ride down to Portsmouth. Massive thanks to Sophie and Issy for the quick stop off at their house, I have never been so glad to see a bacon sandwich!

But biggest thanks must go to Mom and Dad. Thanks for letting us live with you for the last 5 months (sorry it was bit longer than we anticipated) and thank you for all the support both moral and financial.

Can't believe we're on our way. Let's go have adventures! YAY!

Posted by Nikki Robinson at 06:59 PM GMT

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