Five go east

I recently took part in the inaugural Adventure Travel Sessions in Bucharest Romania. There is a thriving adventure motorcycling scene out there populated by some hardcore riders. We met one family that had travelled 17,000 miles in a Ural sidecar outfit, a local cartographer who is mapping a network of off-road trails across the country, and the guys from Heavy Duties, a homegrown business building super tough motorcycle luggage. 

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Cyprus Thrill

My story begins June 2016 at my daughter’s wedding in Edinburgh, Scotland. A few days after the ceremony and we are in a bar when the TT comes on the news. I look up and mention to my wife and daughter that I would love to go. As one they say I should. It turns out both think I’ll fly into the Isle of Man from our Cyprus home, but I have other ideas...

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It’s not all about the sand...

Sometimes things go smoothly, but this isn't one of those times. We have both completely run out of water as we foolishly thought we’d eventually come across a river or a lake at some point during the day. Needless to say local knowledge would have been helpful in this area locals refer to as the high desert. Rookie mistake and now we are both very thirsty and there’s a lot of riding ahead.

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Vive la différence

Priority from the right. European suburbia is a perilous place if you don’t understand that traffic coming from the right has priority. ‘Priority from the right happens whenever there are no other signs,’ explains Edelweiss Bike’s Christian Preining. ‘It happens everywhere in Europe, from French suburbia to small Austrian villages where they’ve taken down all road signs.’ Look for yellow diamond signs, though. These tell you that the route you’re on has priority over routes joining from the right, but it’s cancelled by a yellow diamond struck out by a black line. 

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Seize the day

My plan is to travel from Singapore to Europe on my Vespa scooter. I set off from Singapore in May 2015 and have ridden through Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar, Northeast India, Nepal, India and Pakistan. After Iran I will head to Armenia, Georgia, Turkey, then to the Balkans and towards Western Europe. I do not have a fixed route in Europe. I prefer to let spontaneity guide me.

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March of madness

When I received the instruction that this issue was to feature The Craziest Trip of the Year, I knew there was only one person for the job. It had to be Ed March and his C90 adventures. Infamous among motorcycle travellers, Ed’s insane escapades over the last few years have provided a welcome antidote to the army of identikit GS riders ploughing the same old routes. If you’re not familiar with his crazy world, here we go...

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The tough way round

We’re riding Yamaha WR250Rs. We wanted the lightest and most capable bike we could get to ensure we could go anywhere we wanted. Having the same bikes has advantages when it comes to spares, diagnosing strange noises and having an identical machine to compare to. But mostly it means neither of us has an excuse for falling off when the other guy hasn’t! 

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When a birthday present turns into the adventure of a lifetime...

In 1948 Brian Adams turned 21. For his birthday his father offered him the choice of a slap-up party or a motorcycle. Brian chose the motorcycle – a 500cc Matchless G80. It cost £112. Brian added the option of a pillion seat, which brought the price up to £120. During the war the Ministry of Supply sent Brian to university. He graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering. Had the war persisted Brian was destined to be a boffin at Farnborough, but with the outbreak of peace he had two weeks to kill before starting a career in industry. What to do...?

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An English biker in New York

Filtering is illegal in New York – it’s a ‘moving violation’ apparently – so I sit obediently in the morning traffic heading to Manhattan, peering down a tantalising gap bisecting the queue crawling along Interstate 495. Beneath me the Busa cooks my thighs while the sun bakes my back – it’s 26°C already and it’s only 7.30am. I look at the sat nav again: still eight miles to Wall Street, time to complete: 51 minutes. Sweat trickles down my back. Feck this. 

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One step two far?

We’ve been discussing this trip for two and a half years since we met, and planning for the last year. Our route covers 15 Central and South America countries including Cancun, Mexico and Brazil. We want to prove you don’t have to have a big, modern adventure bike to do a trip like this, and also that you don’t have to be of a certain age to appreciate and ride classic bikes. We’re lucky enough to have no time limit and we reckon it’ll take six months.

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Sea-sighting tour GB

After 32 years in the NHS as a nurse and nurse manage I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to retire at 55. I was still young and fit enough to hoist my short legs over a motorbike. For a long time I have loved lighthouses and the serenity and seclusion they offer (a bit like a motorcycle). I have worked closely with people all of my life but I am an introvert by nature and people sap my energy. I need restoration hence my love of motorcycles and lighthouses.

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Chasing the Dragon’s Tail

If by 'crashes' you mean leave the road, slide into a ditch and get back on again, there’s probably 10-20 of those a day on a busy Saturday,’ says Killboy, who’s been photographing at the Tail of the Dragon for 16 years. ‘The sportsbike guys fall off at higher speeds, but they tend to be wearing more gear, the bikes are lighter and they’re fitter. The cruiser people tend to wear less gear, the bikes are heavy and they’re maybe not as in shape to take the beating. Those guys tend to get hurt more.

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Six months from home

I’ve been travelling for six months so far, starting in Barcelona, Spain. Then I rode to Andorra, France, Belgium, England, Scotland, Wales, Holland, Germany, Austria, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro. I am now flying to South East Asia, landing in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam where I will buy a small motorcycle and start a whole new adventure. A Suzuki Marauder is unusual for a long ride.

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Secondhand Heroics

To spend two and a half months exploring Arunachal Pradesh, a wild and inaccessible region between Tibet, Burma and Bhutan at the eastern edge of the Himalayas. It was closed to foreigners from 1950 up until the late 1990s and is still subject to permits and military restrictions. It’s an incredibly remote region and is probably one of the least explored corners of the planet. My journey is taking me about 3000 miles from the dense tiger-riddled rainforests and opium clad hills of the east, to the snowy peaks of Tawang in the west. At times it’ll be shivering cold, at others sweatingly hot.

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Globetrotter goes home

On 16th December, just over five months and 30,000km after its departure on 4 July, Ducati’s Globetrotter project Multistrada Enduro made it back to Bologna. The route went from Italy to Scandinavia, then Russia, Siberia and Japan. Across the USA then back to Europe. There were seven different riders, picked from 3000 applicants and each rider rode one leg of the journey. I was lucky enough to be one of them.

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Men of the world

We left London 14 August, 2016 from the Adventure Travel Film Festival. So far our journey has taken us across Europe, into Turkey, then Georgia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Russia and South Korea. Now we are in the United States, probably the last country before we head home.

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Holidays in the sun(and rain)

Rider Hugo Wilson Bike 1981 Moto Morini Camel Destination: Oliana, Spain Crossing: Portsmouth-St. Malo High on a Pyrenean mountainside Mike and I are in discussion. He thinks that we’re about to find the marker that we’re looking for, I’m not convinced. Maps are unfurled and magnifying glasses utilized. There’s even a compass.

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How to kill a Honda (or why it pays to take your old man along on a trip)

Sometimes life can feel like one big mechanical fault. I’d been readying my 26-year-old Honda VT400SP for months for this overseas adventure with my dad, Mick, who would be riding his bike – a 1996 Harley-Davidson Sportster. But his was the first machine to blip. Our father/son convoy left for the Eurotunnel at Folkestone with the sky a smudge of cloud and our unprofessional touring baggage – a few holdalls bungeed to our bikes – wrapped in bin bags, to protect from rain.

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THE WINNER TAKES IT ALL...

I’d always assumed this adventure, any big adventure, would start when I got on the bike. Now, as I slump on cool white bed sheets in Casa Buena Vista, I realise the transit days are part and parcel... It starts, of course, with the long haul flight – a battle for sanity with nothing but movies about transgender choirboys for company, followed by the opportunity to say, ‘I didn’t pack that myself,’ to a suspicious, bubble wrapped package at customs.

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