Am I ready for this?


One of the hardest parts of planning this adventure so far is Has been deciding where I should go, for how long and whether to do it on my own or book myself on a guided group trip. Any one that knows me well will testify to the fact that I'm a chronic procrastinator; although I prefer to think of it as optimised living - I only make decisions and do work when it has to be done. That's not to say I spend my time doing nothing. On the contrary, a lot of time and effort goes into ensuring the right decision is made.

Taking four months off work to go on an adventure is a big decision for me, so a lot of background work has gone into it. I've owned a BMW R1200GS since 2006, and since then my ideas about what a big trip would consist of have changed. When I first got it the biggest I could think of was a ride around Europe, probably as far as going back to the north of Norway, down to Spain or Italy. Back then I hadn't experienced camping on motorcycles trips and the longest I'd travelled on the bike was a week. Camping wasn't an alien idea to me, after all I'd been in the scouts, it's just that I hadn't put motorcycle travel and camping together.

Not only was my imagination for destinations limited but I was also limited to riding on tarmac. Whislt I'd bought a bike that was techincally capable of around the world, I wasn't. However, all that changed in 2009 when I headed to Wales with a group of friends for some off-road training at Off Road Skill with Simon Pavey and his team - the same people that trained Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman before their round-the-world adventure. That was my first taste of what you could to with a bike like the GS. Most people regard them as lumbering beasts that people only dream of taking off-road but I now had a first hand experience of what they can do if only you open your mind to the possibilities.

It was also during 2009 that I met a group of people in Guernsey that were into trail riding - albeit on smaller bikes - that encouraged me to join them on their rides. The synical side of me thinks they were pushing me to see when I would break. In fact, on our first outing I managed to flip my GS upside down, but I picked myself back up and carried on. Time and again I picked myself and my bike up and carried on. Over time the crashes diminished and my speed off-road increased.

In 2010, out of the blue, the guys I went off-roading with in Guernsey invited me on a trip they were planning on Morocco. That was a place I'd only dream of visiting. A land of sand, palm trees and legends of the Dakar Rally. In April/May 2011 my dreams became a reality and I found myself in a state of euphoria whilst flying across desert pistes at 60mph. OK, so I had a few off's and broke my foot (and carried on riding) but now I had a thirst for really adventure.

That trip to Morocco had suddenly expanded my horizons. No longer were my ideas limited to western Europe. From that point on I could take on the world!

from Longer Road

Adrian Ritchie

Adrian Ritchie

Aidy has been riding motorbikes since just after he left university in 2003. His first bike was a 1988 Suzuki GSX-R750 bought for £1000. His second bike was a Suzuki GSF600 Bandit, bought for his adventure to Norway in 2005. Two years later he sold the Bandit to Shane (for him to learn on) and upgrade to a BMW R1200GS... which was promptly trashed one month later by a SMIDSY. Having had the R1200GS repaired, Aidy has spent the next three years giving it a damn good thrashing off-road. 2011 saw the R1200GS take to the remote tracks and desert pistes of Morocco... it managed to keep up with the 650 enduro bikes that make up the rest of the group and made it back to Guernsey in (mostly) one piece. In January 2012, he traded in the R1200GS for a new R1200GS Adventure, planning to use the Pegaso 650 for off-road racing. However, the lure of smaller enduro bikes proved too strong and in April 2012 purchased a BMS G450X