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Intrepid Motorbike Ride.
Recently a high profile financial wizard has done some intrepid motorbike rides—in Asia, Africa and other places. I was in Central Asia recently and came across a small group of Czech bikers riding overland—and like our Kiwi counterparts—they had 1000cc BMW bikes, a 4X4 truck riding shotgun, complete with supplies of spare parts, a mechanic and all the usual GPS gear etc. And sponsors.
This took me back to an intrepid ride that I did in 1964—two of us on one old (1958) Matchless 500cc single, with a cargo sidecar that we fitted. Some spare off-road tires, spark plugs, a spare chain and that was it. We started in London, north through England, across to Norway, through Europe, behind the “Iron Curtain” to Turkey, across Asia Minor and down into Iraq to Baghdad, across the Syrian desert - three days riding at walking pace, fourteen hours a day. No road. We were told to follow the power lines across the desert.We slept rough, in the open, (see picture) under bridges, camped, and very occasionally roof class in the “hotels”.
The people were fantastic. Not sure that it would be safe nowadays.
Through Syria, Lebanon and Jordan into Israel, where we had some recuperation time on a Kibbutz. Then ferries to Cyprus, Rhodes, Italy and back to London. Three and a half months in total.
It was an amazing trip. We were both architectural graduates, with a keen interest in the antiquities of the Middle East, and had a great time in Iraq, where the army fed and watered us for several days in an antiquities hot-zone in northern Iraq. It was also a war-zone with the Kurds and the Arabs at one anothers’ throats. I have a fantastic collection of slides and memories. I became fascinated with the architecture of Islam, and subsequently traveled in Morocco and more recently the Silk Road.
We were 23 years old. No GPS. No cell phones. No back-up truck with spares. No sponsors. We were either silly or just plain adventurous compared with the molly coddling support the bikers get these days.Anybody else done anything like that?