Thursday, October 01, 2009

Round Antwerp In A Trug by Five-Centres

I don't know if that was real or not before, but no offence meant to the author.

Anyway, let's move on. I got this press release today. Again, it's for a book. Before you read on, I"m still amazed that people still do this kind of thing. Haven't we read about this sort of journey a million times before? Just because you call your moped Dorothy and run out of petrol in Kazakstahn, does not an interesting read make.

Still, it's an enterprising way to make money if some sucker's willing to pay for it. I'm going vacuum my way around the Falkland Islands listening to Aussie pop dressed as Tony Hancock. There must be a book in that. I blame Tony Hawkes.

"Sydney to London on a moped called Dorothy in aid of Comic Relief

Englishman Nathan Millward and his trusty 105cc moped called Dorothy has proven size isn’t everything by riding 23,000 miles on their way from Sydney to London in a bid to raise money for Comic Relief.

Dorothy, a semi-automatic scooter with an extra petrol tank to make her look tougher, was originally employed to deliver mail around the Australian city of Brisbane. After four years and 25,000 miles of service she was all set for retirement until Nathan bought her thinking she was the perfect motorcycle for riding home to England. Amazingly she was.

In the eight months that have passed, the pair have ventured through 18 countries, been hit by Indonesian buses, transported in Malaysian vegetable boats and almost frozen to death climbing the 5,300 metre roads over the Himalayas into India and Pakistan.

Their toughest test came in Kazakhstan 4,000 miles from home when the 29 year-old from Mansfield forgot to top up Dorothy’s oil level. Since then it’s been a nail-biting final push through Russia, Ukraine and Europe to the Dover finish line at speeds never more than 35mph. Riding 14 hours a day, sleeping in hedge bottoms and carrying more weight that she was ever designed to, poor Dorothy and her mechanically-challenged rider has once and for all proven that you don’t need BMWs and support vehicles to discover the world. Just a roll of gaffer tape and a puncture repair kit will do.

With their feet finally rested, the pair now reflect on a journey that began in haste after Nathan failed to convince Australian immigration they should let him stay longer. He explains;

“I was in Australia chasing a woman I’d met at speed-dating the year before when immigration said I’d been there long enough. That left me two choices; fly or ride home. I’m scared of flying and the motorcycle trip had been in the back of mind for a while, so in two days I packed and planned as best I could and then hit the road with just a fortnight to ride the 3,000 miles to Darwin before immigration put me on the wanted list.

“Blazing out of Sydney with the throttle wide open and Dorothy loudly screaming, we had no clue what hurdles we would have to leap along the way. They would be high and frequent – visas, shipping, foreign tongues and exotic borders – that much was certain, and yet for the all this blind ambition and faith in something foolish, deep down we knew we could make it.”

Having the time but not necessarily the budget for the trip, Nathan adds; ‘For footwear I had Converse, for storage a milk crate, for accommodation a tent, for finances my two good friends Mastercard and Visa. We didn’t even have any maps. But I’m a firm believer that where there’s a will there’s always, absolutely, a way. And I think together me and Dorothy have proven that.”

Having picked up a book deal with an Australian publisher, along the way the pair plan to spend the winter writing about the adventure in the hope they’ll sell enough copies to cover the £8,000 debt the trip has got them."

1 comment:

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