Sunday, October 31, 2010

2K5 Africa Charity Motorcycle Ride

Here is a story for all adventure nuts interested in a trans Africa motorcycle trip. In an earlier posting I wrote about Mark Kirby a seasoned adventure rider who is about to embark on another ambitious journey the Enfields to India Challenge.

In 2005 Mark & Jason managed to ride from London to Cape Town in just over 4 months. I have been lucky enough to get my hands on the journal for their Africa adventure. Over the next few weeks I will be posting a day to day rundown of what went on in his own words. I will be starting out a day before they were due to depart.

Friday 01/04/05 London, England

The day before we are due to depart and the day started with 3 very excited guys frantically trying to get all our paperwork sorted and the final few things that we needed all in order. At about midday we got a phone call from Overland Solutions (the company modifying the bikes) saying that Doug’s bike, the XL600, had a perished oil seal at the output shaft and that the bike probably wasn’t in good enough condition to go to Africa. The advice was that it might make a couple of thousand miles, but that it wouldn’t go all the way as it was leaking oil at a rapid rate. Major panic from all sides as we are just about at the final hurdle and now one of us may be in deep water. Not to be daunted, we made a few frantic phone calls to various mechanics and suppliers and ordered a part which was due to arrive on Tuesday from the Honda parts department in Brussels. This of course meant that we had to wait for this part and postpone our departure. At 23:30 Friday night, we got the call that the 2 Africa Twins (AT’s) were ready for collection and that the XL600 could be collected, but that it was advisable to replace the part.

Watch out for my next post to find out what happened next:)

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Explorer & the Explored

Do expeditions benefit the explorer or the explored?  
The Intelligence2 debate hosted at the Royal Geographic Society posed this thought: Exploring is good for the explorer but not much good for those being explored.
Twitter Feed

With these questions in my mind, I set out to the RGS offices to attend a talk hosted on the topic of exploration.  Six guest speakers presented at the event which included Ed Stafford, Benedict Allen and a host of other well known authors, expedition leaders and explorers.

Each guest had ten minutes to present on a topic related to the above. Here are few highlights of the evening:

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Rugged Road by Theresa Wallach

"You are going WHERE? - You'll never get there."

Not very encouraging comments for any overlander, let alone in 1934 when you are planning on using a motorbike with a sidecar!
Theresa Wallach and her friend Florence Blenkiron did what no man had yet achieved - and that was to ride a motorbike from London to Cape Town.

Extracts from the book: 
The Rugged Road by Theresa Wallach

Monday, October 25, 2010

Gravel Roads: London To Cape Town

Two mates, Dean and Erich, have taken six months out from their hectic lives to ride down Africa on their trusty motorcycles. They set off on the 3rd of September aiming to reach Cape Town around March 2011. They are riding to raise money for the charity Born Free.
Take a look at their website. It makes for good reading.

These two guys planned and organised their trip on a relatively tight budget with a little help from friends and family. While I am writing this they are in Mali. Good luck guys!

Sites of interest

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Trip Report: Radio Baobab (Lubumbashi to Kinshasa, Congo)

Always choose the alternative route overland... that was my motto for my trans-Africa trip in 2005.  Easier said than done!  Well, here's a trip report from Radio Baobab who did just that...

I recently blogged about The Lost Routes in Africa - those routes that are slowly being forgotten and where once the the preferred route during an overland expedition.  It's very rare that current overlanders head near those routes... until recently that is!

Introducing Frederik & Josephine from Radio Baobab.  This couple completed the South to North-West crossing of the DRC.  They crossed the border in Congo and headed North-West from Lubumbashi to Kinshasa.

You can read all about this unique crossing on Expedition Portal or The Horizons Unlimited website.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

What is needed for an African Motorcycle adventure?

Have you ever been scared off by the logistics of organising an overland motorcycle adventure? I was about five years ago. I thought it was almost impossible for an average Joe like me to pull it off, but after a lot of research I found out that it is not as difficult as it seems if you plan it correctly.

There are a few points that need to be taken into consideration and NOT over looked e.g. weather, route, terrain and clothing to name a few. There are a lot of websites that have some really good tips on offer for the basic preparation e.g. . These websites are brilliant but they don’t really get down to the nuts and bolts of the trip. What people seem to do is try and scrimp on things like tyres, spares, tools etc. These are some of the most important items you will need to complete your journey and make the difference between an enjoyable trip or a logistical nightmare. I have listed one of the reasons below.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

London to CT in 13days?

Would you be up for this challenge?  London to Cape Town in 13days?  That's how quick your overland adventure needs to be in order to beat the current world record.

My local newspaper had this article on the topic:

Max Adventure - London to CT
 Having departed on 16th October 2010, Mac MacKenny & team are attempting the record. You can read more on the following website:

The previous record was set in 1963 by Eric Jackson. You can follow Eric Jackson on Facebook: Damn Long Way

Additional Reading:
Cape Cold to Cape Hot
Cape Cold to Cape Hot, Story Epic Drive Arctic North Cape to African South Cape

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The best motorcycle to take to Africa

Have you ever thought of what would be the best bike to take to Africa?
There are quite a few bikes that could be used on a long haul adventure in Africa. A lot of people think that they have to go out and buy a brand new bike to go on an African adventure which invariably puts them off due to the cost. In my eyes this is not the case. If you have a good understanding of the bike’s workings and make the correct choices in preparation for the trip you could use almost any bike you want.

In my opinion, it doesn’t matter if you have latest BMW R1200GSA or a Yamaha XT660, you can still complete your trip. Each bike has its pros and cons. For example, the BMW has all the modern equipment such as electronic suspension, ABS and traction control which makes it more stable and comfortable, but they are heavy and not as easy to work on.
On the other hand,the Yamaha XT660 is an older bike without all the modern electronics so it is easier to work on and lighter but it’s not as comfortable. It all comes down to your own preference.

Over my next few blogs, I'll be thinking about the considerations anyone should make when planning a motorcycle adventure.

We welcome your comments and opinions on this. What bike would you take to Africa?

Check out these links:

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Exciting times ahead!

Hi overland lovers!
My name is Bruce Paice, a bit of an adventure nut. I would like to thank Martin Solms for giving me this opportunity to jot down my thoughts on Overland Live. I was originally born in Zimbabwe where I spent the first twenty years of my life riding motorcycles on some of the most awesome terrain Africa has to offer. I competed in Motocross and Enduro when I had a nasty accident whilst competing and broke both legs. This put my riding career to an end. But that did not stop me from getting back on a bike! Since then I have been riding socially and commuting whilst sharpening my skills as a mechanic.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Overland Expedition Film Festival

Once again its time for the Adventure Film Fest.  This event is held annually and is free to attend the showcasing the best independent adventure films from the previous year.
Last years event was a huge success - you can read about it in this blog post:
Independent Overland Films

Regardless of the year, overland expeditions have always been filmed.  Here are a few clips from the past decades (1930's to 2010)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Quick Introduction: Bruce, our new blog author @zimbo243

The Overland Live blog has been a good project to get involved in. My initial idea was to start blogging about all topics related to independent overland travel - this evolved into historical overland trips, alternative vehicles plus a good mix of random thoughts (See Contents). A year after starting the project I have voiced my thoughts on enough topics that it is time for some fresh content and thoughts.

Time to evolve a step further: Introducing Bruce Paice.
Bruce is a keen overlander with a passion for his motorbikes. His enthusiasm and knowledge on the topic is excellent, which, as a result for Overland Live Blog, he wants to jot down his thoughts.

Be sure to follow Bruce via

Please feel free to contact myself or Bruce if you have any comments, thoughts or ideas.

Additional Reading:

Monday, October 4, 2010

Enfields to India challenge

Ever fancied buying a classic Royal Enfield Bullet motorbike and heading to India?
Here are four guys that are undertaking an awesome challenge. They are riding four classic Royal Enfield Bullet Motorcycles on a 10000 mile journey from London to India.
See the website Enfields to India for more information
The expedition leader Mark Kirby is not a stranger to the adventure riding scene. Mark and a mate rode two 1998 Honda Africa Twin from London to Cape Town in 2005. The photo below was taken in Sudan. It just goes to shows that you don't need a brand new bike to go on an awesome adventure.

Recommended Reading:
Living in the past: sampling the Royal Enfield Bullet 500 Classic ES. (Ridden & Rated).: An article from: Rider

Friday, October 1, 2010

Feel the dust... Africa's Roads

The dust layers the Defender dashboard, whilst the azure African sky blurs the horizon.  A faint smell of EP90 invades the cockpit.  The gear lever quivers in its rubber gator as the diesel engine idly clunks under the spare wheel on the bonnet.  Two wheel tracks guide you forward...

Engaging the clutch, selecting the gear and feathering the accelerator gives forward motion. Dust rises from the XZL tyres as they roll over the track.
This is the life of the overlander and these are the roads Africa offer...