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Jof’s World Tour: Traveling the world on a motorbike: Inspiration....

Updated: Apr 8, 2023

By Jon Newey

I read Ted Simon's book 'Jupiter's Travels' more than 20 years ago. I've dreamed of riding a motorbike around the world ever since. Ted spent four years riding his Triumph across the globe in the 70's. His book is a masterpiece and a must-read for any motorcycle adventurer. I've re-read it so many times. It's the dog-eared book in the middle of the photo.

I met Ted at a book launch - to launch Ted's latest book of many - a few months ago. They say you should never meet your heroes, but chatting to Ted was a revelation. The fact is he's just a normal bloke who has done some extraordinary things. When he set off on his travels he hadn't even ridden a motorbike before. I came away from our chat thinking if Ted could do it half a century ago then surely I can do it now. I'll have all the help of modern communications, GPS, wifi and a mobile phone and I'll be riding a modern Triumph that, unlike Ted's, doesn't need an engine rebuild every few weeks.....

I also met Heather Ellis once. She rode her TT600 from Durban to London alone in the 80's. Then she worked as a despatcher in London for a year before riding home to Oz via central Asia and China. She also seemed very normal when I met her. Her two books 'Ubuntu' and 'Timeless on the Silk Road' are gutsy to say the least. Her stories will make your hair stand on end. She's currently in South America somewhere preparing for a third installment.

Sam Manicom's another great adventurer. He took his BMW to Africa in the 90's and he's still globe-trotting today. I met Sam at the Scottish 'bike show one year and I have a signed copy of each of his four books. He's working on his fifth (or is it his sixth?) right now. Sam's partner, Birgit, was at the same book launch where I met Ted Simon. She's a global motorcyclist in her own right too.

Sam and Birgit are not the only couple with a shared interest in 'bikes. Austin Vince and Lois Pryce have both done separate motorcycle adventures. Austin went round the world with a group of pals on Enduro bikes. Their film 'Mondo Enduro' is a blast. Lois took her 250 Serrow down the length of the Pan-American, from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, and followed that with a solo run the length of Africa and tour of Iran where women are not allowed to ride motorcycles. Her three books 'Lois on the Loose', 'Red Tape and White Knuckles' and 'Revolutionary Ride' are proof if it were needed that you don't need a 350Kg adventure bike to have an adventure. I met Austin and Lois at Motocentral in Dalkeith one evening. Austin's advice on the best bike for a round-the-world trip was to use whatever bike you already own. His view was that any modern motorcycle is capable of doing the job, no need to get all the bells and whistles of the biggest and newest adventure bike. Maybe that wasn't what Motocentral wanted him to say!

Other inspirational books on my bookshelf include Dan Walsh's 'These are the days that must happen to you' - Dan is the Shakespeare of travel writing, a true bard on a bike - and Bob Pirsig's classic 'Zen and the Art....' which has been compared to the writings of Dostoyefski. Chis Scott's 'Adventure Motorcycling Handbook' has been a big inspiration too, now in its Eight edition. Finally a shout-out to Elspeth Beard's 'Lone Rider', a fellow Architect who encountered more than her fair share of challenges on her circumnavigation, Robbie Marshall's 'Triumph around the World (he got shot at in Bolivia and rode most of his tour with a bullet stuck in the side of his helmet), and Gordon May's 'Overland to India'. Gordon's got some other projects on the go and I'll need to keep an eye out for his latest book.

And that's not to mention the modern trend of Youtubers making videos rather than writing books. Itchy Boots, Kinga & Chilli, Charlie Sinewan and several others are currently making overland motorcycle travel look as easy as falling off a blog. Believe me, it isn't!

So. Here's the Plan:

The plan is to take my Tiger 800, Tigger, on a world tour. I'll start with a quick flit around the various parts of the UK then I'll go across the pond to Canada. I'll ride from Nova Scotia to Alaska, popping in and out of the USA as I go. From there my original plan was to hop over to Vladivostok and ride the length of Russia back to Europe, but right now Russia is a no-go area due to international sanctions so I have to go a different way. Shipping the bike across to Kyrgystan is currently part of the plan, then riding the silk road and the Pamir Highway, crossing the Caspian Sea, and getting back into Europe via Turkey.

That's the plan and its all well and good, but I have Austin Vince's advice in my head, that while its good to have a plan - and good planning is absolutely essential - no plan is likely to last more than a week into the trip before it starts to unravel. It seems no plan ever survives contact with reality!

As things stand today there are some countries whose borders are open and others whose borders are closed for various reasons of political unrest, international sanctions, armed conflict and ongoing pandemics. These situations can vary day by day, week by week and month by month with very little warning.

Still, I'm itching to get going and keen to see how far I can get. I'm not getting any younger! Over the past few weeks Tigger has been stripped, overhauled and reassembled and I've had my arms turned into pincushions by the Travel Vaccines clinic. I've got my International Driving Permits and my visas for 'the Stans' so I think we're ready to get going.

If you want to see how Tigger and I get on keep reading the blog and I'll keep you updated on our progress!

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3 Kommentare

Unknown member
01. Apr. 2023

Good luck Jon, hope day 1 went well for you.


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Unknown member
10. März 2023

If you are heading up the Dalton I can recommend Dan at Adventure Cycleworks in Fairbanks for tyres and oil change Will look forward to following your adventure blog.

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Unknown member
10. März 2023

Good luck on your trip Jon. Drop me a mail on I'll send you some contacts which might be helpful for your ride across Canada.

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