1.) It’s official: I am a
fraud. Having failed to drive the last 200 miles beyond the 'Arctic
Circle' sign to Prudhoe Bay, I will never be able to truthfully
say I have driven around the world. Apparently (according to some
dodgy bloke who must remain nameless) you have to drive as far as
the road takes you from the furthest north to the furthest south
twice on the same bike in one uninterrupted journey. i.e. a full
circumference. Driving all the way from New York doesn't count for
sh*t. My living lie is compounded by the fact that on my Africa
jolly, I only rode to Cape Point, near Cape Town. The southern most
point in Africa is Cape Agulhas: I did go there by car, but this
probably doesn't count. It also stinks of rotting seaweed.
Haven't been to the North Cape in Norway either,
but I'm sure I'll make it there at some point. I wonder how many
other 'frauds' there are out there, who drive in selected countries
of the world and miss out the bits in between, but still claim to
have done the RTW thing? :-)
A bemused outsider
2.) People seem to have difficulty
relating to you when you reappear from a long (fraudulent) round
the world bike trip. Then again, maybe I have the problem relating
to them. The first couple of weeks were particularly 'bad'. You
just seem to observe the world as a bemused outsider. All these
robots scurrying around shouting into mobile phones with stupid
ringing tones, hyper-stressed, watching naff TV programs like 'Big
Brother' and 'Survivor'. If this reality TV is the 'reality' of
this 21st Century, then 'buenos noches'. I have been regularly tuning
into the 'Jerry Springer Show': Pure genius. A friend who has spent
a fair bit of time in Manhattan says he's getting tired of it. He
voiced the desire to be able to drink whiskey on and fire guns from
the back porch of his house. I know where he's coming from...
3.) A few of my correspondents have said that
previous global reports have left them geographically challenged.
Here is a map of my journey. Click
here or on the map to view a close-up. Apart from a brief spell
(?) in Yurop and a some months in the Land of the Free and Brave,
mostly I was, (and will continue) dodging dragons and cannibals
(Shame I wasn't as successful avoiding sheep and drunks!) and fraternising
4.) Here is also a pic of my new 'exwife'. Very
similar to the old goat, don't you think? The German bird's bits
were a tad more horizontal though... Anybody wanting to be removed
from my mailing list please let me know!
the Silver Vixen not be up to it, I'll have to continue on the old
scratched up Penalty-winning, Lederhose-wearing bint. Now there's
an idea.... The bike is still in Chile and I'll be returning in
a little while to begin the 'No-Pressure-Tour'. The plan for the
first half is to search out every dirt road between Bolivia and
Sane people might attempt this on a light weight
dirt bike. Me: I'm going on a fully loaded 300kg (nearer 400kg if
you include some fat Pommie bloke and a full tank of gas) airhead
GS. I'll also be carrying a spare shock absorber and driveshaft....
The strategy for dubious terrain: If in doubt, accelerate!
After reaching Cartagena, we (Bright, Ex and Norman
MkII) will hang a right and head through Venezuela to Brazil, before
flying out of Buenos Aires in time for Christmas at home in Yurop.
After that, it will be time to hang up the bike keys and get a new
6.) On the trip so far, the bike
wasn't so much unreliable, but more prone to major component failures,
namely.... Where do I start? Basically everything except the engine
and clutch. I sincerely hope this is not to continue. The other
weakness was the rider. His wishes for the future include: not to
collide with sheep/drunks/dragons or drive straight ahead in a left
curves/get served up as 'Pollo con Brightsalad'.
7.) 'Who is Norman MkII', you ask?
Or maybe you don't give a monkey's... Please see his image here.
Norman MkI was a little African good luck devil, called locally
'Togolosh'. He was abducted at a x police x road x block in x Mexico.
Don't know whether you've ever noticed, but armed uniformed types
the world over are card-carrying x. (x = f, get it?) Anybody would
think I'm bitter... I'm not bitter.
A superb South African chap, Kevin van Blerk, went
way beyond the call to organise a new Togolosh from Malawi. After
failing to locate one in Cape Town, he spammed the entire Malawian
email register and one chap who could help, responded. The new Norman
went by courier from Malawi to South Africa and then by post to
Argentina, where he was picked up from Post Restante, Ushuaia in
time to visit the End of the World. This sort of story made my trip
worthwhile. Thanks again Kevin and that man in Malawi!!!
8.) If I am expressing thanks,
then a few of the many who made this jaunt happen as well as enjoyable,
deserve a mention: My parents Rene and Inge for their unquestioning
love and support (my dad knows nearly as much as I do about my BMW,
which is not bad, considering he has never ridden it), (Tante) Tini
and Dan (for bringing a chocolate motorcycle and a shock-absorber
to Chile, as well as the many other acts of kindness), Ben and all
the hospitable people in the BMW bike clubs in South Africa and
Costa Rica, in addition to the kind members of the BMWMOA. A special
mention also goes to Ricardo in Ecuador for being my 'hermano' and
all the bike mechanics (there were quite as few.... and none tried
to rip me off) who learnt more about BMWs (particularly the 1989
R100GS paralever model) through me.
9.) Grant Johnson of HorizonsUnlimitedDotCom
for bringing the family of bike travellers together and trying to
give me good advice (unfortunately, I ignored most of it!) and Neale
Bayly of Motorcycle Journal dot net (the website seems to be down...
for his support and belief in my project, as well as a superb pair
of bike pants to replace the crash destroyed ones) should also have
my gratitude expressed to them.
It may seem strange to an outsider, but virtually
without exception, everybody I met 'on the road' or who had something
to do with motorcycles was kind, helpful and friendly. In my opinion,
this trait is not prevalent in society (particularly the Western
version) in general.
10.) I can't say how much news
you'll receive from me when I'm back in South America. I won't be
carrying my laptop (space is needed for such random items as shocks
and driveshafts and weight must be saved...) and I have an intense
desire to spend less time and money in internet cafes and rather
more productively: reading, up a mountain or 2, hanging out in coffee-serving-cafes,
together with sampling the sights, sounds and culture of this beautiful