Epilogue - What I Learned on My Travels

Trip Start Aug 07, 2007
1
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Trip End Nov 07, 2007


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Flag of United Kingdom  ,
Saturday, March 29, 2008

If you're thinking of doing something similar don't be so much of a muppet as I was.  Here's a short list of things I learned, mostly the hard way.

Always top up with petrol whenever possible, regardless of whether you think you need to or not.  Never rely on your supply.
 
Preparation and research is everything.  You CAN find the information if you really want to.  It will mean wading through a lot of garbage and obsolete advice.
 
Don't scrimp on preparation.  Panniers/frames/parts.
 
Check that all your spares fit/work BEFORE you leave.  Check you have the right tools to fit them.
 
Store them all carefully - oil filters for example.  Get a hard tin.
 
Stop immediately if you hear or feel a problem.  A stitch in time saves nine.  Don't wait till the next nice bit or even 10km.
 
Test jerrycans FULL, preferrably on difficult roads.
 
Don't scrimp on waterproofs.  Test them ON the bike - trouser length.
 
Rubble sacks are great for keeping everything separate and dry.
 
Cable ties and duct tape are wonderful inventions.
 
Cloths are light and useful - filters/cleaning etc.
 
Double the number of bungee cords you think you'll need.
 
Portable disc drive is great.
 
Lockability of luggage is a weight off our mind.  Think/weigh against accessibility.
 
Don't believe a mechanic.  Don't trust them.  Watch them.  Don't ever accept their first price.
 
Ask three times and take the average for directions/distance estimates.
 
Roads are always good acording to locals.
 
Police checks and borders are always 'fine'.
 
Distance estimates over 20km are rarely reliable.

Distance estimates under 10km are rarely reliable.
 
Bus journeys are a good indicator or actual time needed - including rests, lunch, photos etc.  They give a good upper limit.
 
Learn how to drive through check points.  Confidence, speed, hiding, eye contact and the wave.  Use any excuse of ambiguity.
 
Jump when you fall.
 
Loosen levers on bad roads.
 
Get good, strong lever protectors.
 
Put glue etc. in ziplocs in metal tins.
 
Waterproof cover for everything. Tie it down.  It also acts as a security device.
 
More haste less speed.  Don't get distracted.  Don't chase the blue skies.
 
Use your whole lane.  Hog it baby!
 
Find friends.
 
Don't do it on a 250.
 
Don't do it on a 15 year old bike.
 
Don't do it on a Honda in N Africa.  Make sure the bike is popular through all the countries you are going to.
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Comments

katherine1965
katherine1965 on

Thanks for a great evening's read! I should have been in bed hours ago, but I couldn't stop reading your blog. And you sure can write too - very entertaining. I would almost like to do it myself, being and adventurous person, but there are only two problems: 1. I'm a woman, and 2. I don't ride a bike! (Maybe this is where teenage son comes in handy). Anyway, you should make a packet printing this blog into a book, and selling millions of copies! Good luck!

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