Saturday, 25 July 2015

New Route

The new route...
 A few weeks ago I spent about four hours working out the accumulated cost of all the formalities we would have to face to get to our intended point in East Asia; visas, import permits, ferries, insurance etc, and it came to a surprisingly large amount. It's a shame that we live in a world where we need demanded pieces of (sometimes incredibly difficult) paper to be able to cross borders. I had a lot of idiosyncratic, bureaucratic hurdles to jump through whilst I made my way around Africa, with one notable time of having to bribe officials to become a recognised citizen of another nation to be able to get a visa. It was all a lot of fun in the end, but it does get quite tiresome having the doubts of whether you are going to get turned back constantly looming over you head. Both of these reasons are the main causes for the change in direction.  

I worked out the other day that we could ship ourselves and our bikes to South America for the same cost of what the paperwork would be in order to get to South Korea. And with Canada being the destination of choice, once we arrive in visa-free South America, we won't have an Ocean to cross on our way there.

I've always wanted to visit the Stan's of Central Asia. And if you've followed this blog for a while you'll know that when I first set out on a bicycle, I was heading for the mountains of Central Asia on my way around the globe.  Looks like I'll be travelling the opposite way round to what I originally planned! Asia will have to wait. But it will happen.

Still, I've always wanted to travel around South America also. I'm really happy with this plan! I'm quite dubious of actually planning out direct routes now, so all I'm planning is that we'll land somewhere around the East coast and then make our way north from there. Sometime around the end of this year is the intended departure date.
 Will give my girlfriend more time to actually get a bike! Calling on anybody with a decent cg125 they're willing to part with..? Blue, apparently...




Wednesday, 22 July 2015


Liam and c90 around the world is no more! It's just the name mind, I'm still travelling. I just have a new bike.
 I came to the decision to abandon the idea of travelling on a Honda c90 a while back. If you followed my journey into Africa, you'd know that my bike broke down, then it broke down again, and again, and again. Then it broke down again, I went a bit mental. And then it broke down again. The course of all that wasn't really much fun, and it did take quite a lot of enjoyment out of the whole experience. I'd still do it all again in a heartbeat... I'd just leave again with a different vehicle.

I did still hold onto the idea of travelling on a c90 after I returned home. I actually ended up buying another one. But after it broke down on me after only a hundred miles it drew the final straw.

I'm sure that Honda c90's do deserve their reputation as been one of the most reliable bikes made. They have to with so many people singing their praises. But from my experience, I don't want one between my legs with myself wavering in doubt, wondering when it will die as I try and explore the world.
 There were many reasons why I chose one in the first place. With 60 million sold worldwide they are certainly the easiest vehicle to repair in most countries. They were also cheap, good on petrol, and slow. But from what I learned on my journey into Africa is that most smaller bikes can be fixed anywhere at a push, and there are definitely some more suitable bikes to travel on out there are are actually cheaper. That's another reason for the change; Honda c90's just aren't that cheap anymore. For me, it was just a method to travel cheaply and reliably, nothing more. That all changed. Enter the Honda cg125!

 A good few weeks ago I caught an overnight bus from Leeds to Inverness, Scotland and met my new travel bike. I bought it second hand off a lovely lady with only 675 miles on the clock, at a cost where you'd be hard pressed to find a c90 with less that 30,000 miles on it.

I'm confident it was the right decision. The same criteria applies; it is produced worldwide so spares are easily accessible, it's cheap to run with mpg equaling the c90, people praise its reliability... and it's pretty slow by nature so I can still tootle around taking in the scenery.


















It was nice been back out on the road again, if only for a little bit, spending the five day transit with my tent on my back, sleeping wild again and getting to know my new bike.
 I have some other news regarding my next departure, which has somewhat changed quite drastically. I'll post the details one I get some maps together.

Cheers, Liam and another bike.









Saturday, 21 March 2015

Winter still clings onto the nights in early spring, and frost forms through the windows outside. But I've go my fire roaring in my back cabin and the first draft of the book
 about my journey into Africa has finished at 107,000 words. Now to start again from the beginning.


Friday, 19 December 2014

Update.

Well three months late, I've just uploaded the photos from what I have from DRC. As usual they're in the photo gallery. It will be a while yet before some more go in there... But more will come eventually!

Friday, 7 November 2014

Update.

Well that took a while. After six weeks back in the country I'm no longer an unemployed statistic. I think I've got over my post travel trauma too... which is personified with this brand new route! It's a rough, preliminary, hastily drawn line, but in a roundabout way this is where I will be heading next. I have in my possession a new (well, seven years older... 1983!) Honda c90 also, so it's now a case of making the bike travel worthy, pocketing some more travel coins and waiting for the weather to turn before I set out on this one... with the girlfriend too!

I like this map.   



Wednesday, 17 September 2014

The premature end to Africa.

Hello! First up, I think I need to make a sincere apology for not posting anything over the past weeks due to the amount of messages I've received asking if I'm okay... Thank you, I'm very touched :-) The truth is, I've had access to the internet for the past three weeks - there was an internet cafe around the corner of the family I was staying with in Kinshasa after the 'incident.' As some of you already know through my Facebook page; I am back in England! I've known of my imminent return for a long time, well, since the 'incident' and refused to let anyone know where I was or what I was doing for the pure sake of surprising everyone at home. When I poked my head around the living room door at my Mum's house when she was asleep on the sofa it's the first time I've ever seen anyone wake up and cry before... I shouldn't find it funny but I do a little bit. I managed to persuade my girlfriends landlord to let me into her flat before she got home from work and his in her bed. I just couldn't help myself!
 I've been very well looked after by a Congolese family for the past three weeks and I've been very comfortable... so apologies again to anyone who has been worrying... and I need to put out a true and heartfelt 'thank you' to Marcell and Filo for looking after. Things would have been very difficult if it wasn't for them... and it was an adventure in itself getting back home. SO, this 'incident.' As people who have been following my blog will know; I have been blessed a constant stream of good fortune, (Pah!) so as luck would have it, when I was crossing over the Congo river on a boat there was an accident... resulting in myself, my bike and all my gear falling into the water. My unending thanks go out to the three Congolese guys who jumped in straight after me without a second thought. Fortunately I had put my camera, laptop, spare money and passport in waterproof sacks, as standard, and we managed to get most of my luggage back onto the boat with the help of many hands.We had pinned the bike up against the side of the boat, and as I fell in the captain put the engine in reverse and did a very good job at stabilizing the boat. The fact of the matter remained though that we couldn't hold onto my bike with the current as well with the moving boat, aside from the fact that I was still wearing all my bike gear... and that the engine had filled up with water... so I told everyone to just let it go. And there it is... my c90 at the bottom of the Congo river. So that was the end of that! And no, to anyone who's thinking "why didn't you just buy another bike and ride it round?" We don't live in a simple world where you can do that; the paperwork was the most valuable thing for my bike and to cross borders - an Englishman on a Congolese bike would be a nightmare and I'm not sure if it would be even possible. It certainly wouldn't be possible to get it into the US or Canada or maybe even ship it to South America. As some of you may know from previous posts my aim was to get to Canada with my girlfriend, and as my bike sunk down into the depths that was the end of Africa for me and the end of trying to get to Canada that way.