How Motorcycling Affected My Life
“Tourists don’t know where they’ve been, travelers don’t know where they’re going.” Paul Theroux
I was 27 year old, living in Montana, US, when I had my first experience with a motorbike. It was a Suzuki Intruder, 1985, in perfect shape, given to me by a cowboy friend who was keeping it in his barn. It wasn’t used for many years and it wouldn’t start.
I called Al, a Harley Davidson biker whom I knew, and together we fiddled with the bike for weeks, without success. The benefit of this exercise was that I got excited in the prospect of having my own bike, one that would actually take me places.
I was a world traveler long before I was a biker, so the call of distant and unknown places was in my heart already. When I discovered motorbikes and the exhilarating feeling they give you, the freedom they pump into your veins, it was the perfect crowning of my travel dreams. I started shyly, going few kilometres at a time, until I got my “sea legs”. Then, as soon as I felt comfortable enough, I jumped straight into the craziest trips:
Congo to Namibia on a 125cc Chinese Shineray (2400 km)
Cape Town – Zanzibar – Cape Town on a Yamaha 1100 V-Star cruiser (14.000 km)
Vietnam, from the Mekong Delta to Sapa Mountains, on a 125cc Cubtom Chinese bike (2400 km)
Round South Africa on my Super Tenere, 1200 cc (6500 km), Botswana several times, Namibia, Zambia, etc.
Present RTW Expedition for Zambia Orphans, from Africa to Africa, 75.000 km, on our Yamaha Super Tenere.
If you find yourself somewhere in Southern Africa, write to us and we will show you a side of Africa that tourists don’t see (by motorbike of course).
How has motorcycling affected my life? It deepened my love for this world and its people and as I ride through its villages, cities, fields or mountains, I become closer to them. I cannot do that in a car, strapped in a belt, stuffed in a box, looking through a screen. My bike takes me places I cannot touch by car and sitting on the saddle, I feel like the Bedouins of Sahara or the Apaches in the West, with nostrils flaring wide when they saw a new horizon. I not only see this world, I smell it, I touch it and even though I am rained on, beaten by the wind, hit by dust, burned by the sun, I feel exhilaratingly happy and in the end, this is what is all about!
This post is a part of the Blog Tour, which leads up to the Power of the Road Conference, hosted by Liz Jansen. I’m thrilled to be a part of an event that inspires motorcyclists to take action while helping create more opportunities for others in need, focuses on interconnection and common ground and champions non-partisan change. You can be the change you want, by signing up for the Conference here. http://www.poweroftheroad.com