Travelling in 2015…

Serow at sunset

Bike Upgrade

It’s time for a change. So, I’ve upgraded to a motorbike for my travels.

Call me lazy, that’s fine. The bicycle has gone into storage, but it’s not the last I’ll see of it I’m sure. I’m still convinced it’s the best way to travel.

But I remember those times when I didn’t take a side road or detour because of the effort and time involved. Perhaps only 50 kilometres away, I chose to bypass it… now, with a motorbike, I’ll take those detours.

I’ve cycled long monotonous roads and I know I can find the willpower and perserverence to continue. I don’t need to prove anything to anyone or myself any more. On my last cycle ride, I sometimes chose to get a lift across those long tedious parts. I probably gained more from the experience that way.

Now with a motorbike, I can cover the boring parts quicker – so that I can spend most of my time in the places I really want to be. And this is perhaps the slightly ironic thing – I’m motorbiking, because I want to do more of the other things. I want to go on long walks, another horse ride – to travel even slower and to be able to go places I can’t on a bike.

What Bike?

My criteria was for something small and light and cheap and easy to fix. I don’t need lots of gear, I don’t have lots of gadgets, I don’t know much about bikes.

So I bought a Yamaha XT225 Serow.

Yamaha XT225 Serow
Yamaha XT225 Serow

It’s an old bike, but with very low mileage. I’ve had an Acerbis long range fuel tank fitted, have changed the tyres to Mefo Explorers, and that’s about it.

It’s got a sticker of sheep on the front mud guard, a souvenir I picked up on my first jaunt up to Scotland. The bike now goes by the name of Shaun.

What luggage?

For luggage, I’ve got a 50L Enduristan dry bag, small tank panniers that fit over the back and a Wolfman bag for the front. Then I’ve got a small daysack for extras and for carrying round town.

In those bags, I’ve got all the usual stuff you’d take on a bike trip – camping gear, clothes, bike tools, journal, camera, electronics and, of course, food.

Where to?

Isn’t that the question… for now, this summer, I’ll be travelling through Europe. Then, maybe, back to Africa… I’m keeping the plan vague, the way I like it.

Who with?

I’ve got company this time. I’ve had enough conversations with myself on my last trip through Siberia.

Jimmy’s riding a Serow too. Since predictive texting got confused with the word ‘Serow’, the bike now goes by the name of Jack Sparrow.

Jimmy on his Serow
Jimmy on his Serow

Who’s Jimmy?

Jimmy’s Scottish. We met in Mongolia – he was riding east on a motorbike held together mostly by duct tape and cable ties, I was riding west on my bicycle.

He knows more about bikes than I do (not hard), which is handy. He’ll also claim he’s carrying half my luggage. The truth is, he insists on carrying the tent; but then, I insist on carrying all the food.

How to follow the journey…

Hopefully, I’ll get round to writing a few blog posts – sign up here if you haven’t already. Although, for the time being, I’m focussing on writing a book about my last journey – the Siberia winter cycle ride. I’ll definitely be posting up plenty of photos.

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