Enjoying the madness of India
In the space of just a few hours bumping across the Persian Gulf, I went from Iranian gritty to Dubai glitzy as the dramatic skyline of the United Arab Emirates revealed itself amid a haze of heat and pollution. Inside the catamaran, the sickbags were being handed out – and filled – but I managed to squeeze out onto a small front deck where the warm ocean wind warmed my face, settled my stomach and lifted my spirits. I was on my way again and had made it to the Arabian Peninsula.
Well, I’ve made it out of Iran and managed to get the bike on a boat bound for Dubai, from where I’ll search for a passage to India. While the shores of this vast Islamic Republic slowly recede from view and the Persian Gulf sparkles all around me, this crossing gives me a chance to reflect on my time in this country.
Getting out of Iran is proving to be more difficult than getting in. Imagine my surprise when arriving at the huge port of Bandar e Abbas to find out that it was closed for the Persian New Year holiday celebrations. I was told to use this exit route to Dubai after my Pakistan visa was rejected, leaving me no choice but to ride 2,300km across this arid, hostile landscape to the southern tip of the country, where the United Arab Emirates is within striking distance, just several hours away by boat across the Persian Gulf.
I’m proud to say that I’ve made it into Iran safely, having been chased by rabid dogs, held up at numerous military checkpoints and nearly flattened by huge trucks bearing down on me while I tried to stay upright in a blizzard. The thought of having ridden there all the way from the UK in 11 days is hard to fathom. One thing’s for sure though: I couldn’t have done it without the support of the adventure biking community, who have made things happen for me in a way I never could have alone.
Or at least I think that’s what the Turkish police guard said, only without the ‘please’. I’m on the outskirts of a shit-hole town called Yuksekova and really close to the Essendere-Sero border, where my Iranian ‘fixer’ is waiting for me on the other side. He has told me several times that I have to get to the border by 4pm or I won’t get through, it’s now 3pm and I’ve been held here for an hour already.
Finally, I’m waking up to beautiful, blue skies after six days of the kind of weather I’d hoped to leave behind in the UK. I’ve had the deepest sleep I’ve had in weeks and have woken up with the satisfaction of knowing I’m 3,500 kilometres into my journey, the Turkish frontier is just half an hour away and I’m well on track to making it to the Iranian border on time. Continue reading By ‘eck I’ve made it to Bulgaria
Talk about cutting it fine. It’s the day before I’m due to leave family, friends, home and everything I know for the round-the-world trip of uncertainty and I’m sitting here in a mild state of panic waiting for the postman. You see my Carnet de Passage still hasn’t arrived and I can’t leave home until it gets here. Passport aside, it’s probably the most important document I’ll be carrying, because I can’t get the bike into certain countries without it. Continue reading A rollercoaster ride of emotions
Well over a decade ago, I followed double Guinness World Record holder for endurance motorcycling Kevin Sanders on a section of a ride down to the Bavarian Alps for a BMW biker meeting. He wasn’t going particularly fast on his GS, but he kept on riding for hour after hour, without stopping. How could this be…? Continue reading This could save my arse, big time!
Don’t be fooled by the title. With just weeks to go before I set off on the RTW ride of my life, I’m definitely not ready. Visas, carnets, vaccinations and budgets are all being slowly and painfully dealt with, but fearing that too much paperwork would make me a dull boy, I traded a day in the office for a day on the saddle and booked an adventure bike training course in the wilds of north Norfolk… Continue reading Ready for the adventure?