2011 Motorcycle Expedition
"Discover Our Earth" motorcycle Expedition Reaches Thailand after 35,000 miles; brand new route through China awaits the team.
The longest around the world group motorcycle expedition ever attempted has now completed the Australian fourth stage of its five continent journey. Australia followed earlier stages which took the expedition from Austria to Africa and then South and North America. "Discover our Earth" (1DE) is a joint project between GlobeBusters Motorcycle Expeditions and Edelweiss Bike Travel and is an eight month, five continents ride, taking in epic routes such as the Atlantic Route, the Pan American Highway and the Silk Road.
Thirty international riders from Brazil, Canada, USA, Italy, Germany, Austria, UK and Switzerland are all participating on this life changing challenge that has been organised and led by GlobeBusters.
The team have now left Bangkok on the final 12,500 mile (20,000 KM) ride back home to Europe. Ahead lies Thailand, Laos, a complete crossing of China from east to west on a new route, Kazakhstan, Russia, Ukraine and Slovakia.
Commenting on the freshly completed Australian stage, Expedition leader, GlobeBusters’ Kevin Sanders, said: "I don’t think until you get to Australia that you can understand how vast the distances are with nothing but desert and wilderness in every direction. It’s just absolutely vast in a way that you cannot imagine in Europe.
"You can ride for a thousand kilometres without a traffic light or junction and only one of two roadhouses along the way and plenty of lay-bys for rest stops. We travelled through the Outback at quite an extraordinary time. Despites its "Red Centre" title, it was very green for us. The huge levels of rainfall have left the plants thriving and we are there just at the start of the dry season, so the effects of all this rain are very visible.
"The open emptiness of Australia was just mind-blowing, as were some of the very straight roads we had to take to travel through this great country. Uluru was magical – even though on the first night we arrived, it was raining and there were black storm clouds, remnants of the exceptional rainy season. Thankfully by our second night, the weather had cleared and all the team rode out to watch the sunset at Uluru. I think we all found it a magical experience.
"It’s easy to forget the start of our journey, but on leaving Sydney, we had the most stunning riding. The Great Alpine Way and the ride through the Snowy Mountains through Kosciuszko National Park was as good as any motorcycling roads that I have had the pleasure to ride and just went to show that Australia is not just about the outback. All the riders thought this was absolutely spectacularly perfect roads and scenery. Mountain roads and motorcycles are made for each other!"
Most of the 1DE team are on a mix of the BMW GS range. The bikes have done about 40,000kms in the past six months and 12,000kms have been in Australia. Kevin, and his wife and business partner Julia Sanders, who joined the team for the Australian stage, both rode BMW R1200 GS motorcycles. Kevin commented: "In my mind there’s no doubt that a R1200GS Adventure is the bike to go for, if you are planning your once in a lifetime trip. I’ve travelled on GS bikes constantly since the mid-nineties and I’ve never had one of my bikes fail on me. Just fantastic, proven machines." The expedition is supported by BMW and Miles Davis at BMW Australia has assisted and supported the team.
The 1DE team is multinational, with German, Austrian, Italian, America, Canadian and British riders. Team spirit is holding up well, despite many gruelling miles and shared experiences, both wonderful and challenging. Kevin added: "We all do have a very individual sense of humour. But I think that is what keeps the interest and camaraderie going – try explaining Cockney rhyming slang to the Americans or getting some of the Germans to have a full "English / Australian" breakfast of bacon and eggs – it’s very funny, but we all get the hang of it."
The 1DE team have now commenced the final leg of the journey, which takes them on a brand new route through China, east to west. This is probably the toughest stage as there is a concentration of challenges from language and culture, though to food and mixed road conditions.
But life changing cultural experiences also lie ahead. From visiting the Giant Pandas, marvelling at the Terracotta Army, walking on the Great Wall, admiring vast caves of Buddhist art, riding elephants, wandering through Tibetan temples and watching Cossack dancers. All this combined with riding the old ‘Tea & Horses’ route in Yunnan, the Silk Road, the Kazakh Steppe, the Urals and the Carpathian Mountains.