Sydney to london on a moped

Hi guys,

I just came across the site and thought what better place to mention the trip me and my 105cc Australian Postbike called Dorothy are on as London’s the place we’ll be finishing.

We left Oz seven months ago now and have slowly sped our way up through Indoneisa, Thailand, India, Pakistan, China etc at a crazy top speed of 60km/h.

We have no sponsorship or corporate support, ride in Converse and can’t even find a pair of gloves that match. But we’re doing alright, even if our budget was blown four months ago.

We’re now in Kyrgyzstan - neighbour to Kazakhstan - waiting for some spares to arrive from Australia to stop Dorothy leaking. She’s a bit under the weather having been thrashed for 27,000 kays but once they arrive I know she’ll make it. She’s a tough old bird.

Hope to be home mid-October before winter sets in.

Pics and stuff at but here’s a few from recently.

See you in London.

Nathan and Dorothy

What an amazing trip!! Welcome to LB, when you get to London you have to have to make a trip one of London’s biking mecca’s, The Ace Cafe, usually a few of us Lber’s kicking about at the Ace :slight_smile:

Good luck with the rest of your trip, hope Dorothy gets better soon, stay safe :cool:


wow, superb skills that man and good on ya Dorothy

Looks like an amazing trip, good on yer mate for having the chutzpah to go go for it. I was considering doing the postie bike challenge as an option if I was made redundant, however, this makes that look like a mere trip to the shops! :smiley:

Best prepare yourself for the inevitable onslaught of abuse when the legions of ‘all the gear all the time’ safety nazis on here see those converse/flip-flops though…

Great to hear of your adventure. Best of luck and keep in touch!

We really should try and organize an escort from the coast - I am sure Jetstream will find an interesting route - even at 40mph! As suggested, the Ace is an ideal finishing line.

Let us know when you are likely to arrive.

I was thinking the finishing post could be BM wednesday night, with a massive escort up to the Ace. What an entrance :slight_smile:

but first off i did think to myself WTF!? :w00t:

Ta for all the support guys, Dorothy’s really keen to see England so the thought of her being escorted the road from Dover will send her over the moon.

We reckon the middle of october is a realistic arrival date, any longer and it’ll be coming into winter and not much fun over the Alps in a pair of sandals. Probably going to hit on a saturday though as it’s most convenient day for parents and friends and what not. But that’s all still a long way off, we’ve still got Russia to cross.

We originally planned on it taking us four months but we’ve really been delayed by visas and stuff. In Bangkok we had to wait around a few weeks to get the bike on a plane over Burma because you still can’t ride through, then when Iran started refusing the British their visas we had another long wait getting th paperwork sorted to get Dorothy into China.

It’s a real pain that place which is a shame 'cause the people once you’re in are lovely. Same goes for Pakistan. We were really worried about riding through but no problems at all. I think India’s been the hardest place so far, just because of the traffic and the hassle you always get. Thailand the favourite.

I don’t know if it’s of any interest but I’ve been writing Stage Reports; Here’s the latest from Pakistan, Iran and India. It’s a bit long but so you might get bored and fall asleep. I did warn you…

STAGE FOUR – Nepal, India, Pakistan

If every story has a beginning and an end then me Dorothy are very much in the middle. We’ve set forth and ventured, flew our Australian nest and ridden like rampaging drifters through the badlands of East Timor, Indonesia and into the kinder, gentler bosom of Malaysia and Thailand. The first leg then is over, leaving Dorothy with an extra 15,000 kilometers on her clock and me with just a little more faith that one day we might just make it to England…

Now the next step, the bit in the middle; Pakistan, India and Nepal. Of course that’s not in the right order because we’re riding the other way, but it s the sequence, as I sit reminiscing now, that my preference remembers them. Pakistan was a blast, a real burst balloon of surprise as everything I thought I knew about the country was blown immediately to pieces and replaced by something much better. India was more predictable, being largely the place I expected and yet, in the same palm, more bonkers than I could possibly have imagined. That leaves just Nepal, a place that now barely registers as I spent so much of it on the bog.

You may or not remember but to get there from Thailand we had to fly. It’s Burma you see, they just won’t let you through. And so with me slumped in economy and Dot boxed in the hold we left Bangkok on a plane bound for Kathmandu. The sky that night was thunder. A menacing blue-black abyss, struck electric by lightening that gave me and my red lady the willies. I sat marveling at it all. Just thinking. Wondering. Who’s really in charge of all this. The lightening, the plane, the clouds, the ground, why does it all work and how does a metal tube made by a man named Boeing still stay in the sky? This planet of ours really baffles me. And for once, up in this electric sky, I realised that.

Then we landed, now in Kathmandu. It’s here that trekking groups prepare for Everest and local kids sniff glue. On the corner they’d stand fluttering like blades of grass in a breeze; stoned, high and red-eyed, trying to sell stuff to send you off the same way. It might just be me but Kathmandu – Nepal in general – just never seamed settled, the people always on edge, just waiting for another protest or riot in the street after the Maoists recently put on the government shoe. It’s certainly not how I imagined it. Of course the mountains were spectacular, the prices cheap, but the everyday people I kinda felt sorry for. They deserve more peace in their politics and fuel in their petrol pumps. I can’t see them getting either of it for a while.

Me though, I made friends with a few French folk and a Spaniard who flamed my interest in hiking and said wouldn’t it be cool to plod the Himalayas. I said yes and off we went, the four of us to the source of a meandering 14 day walk that would take us around a mountain the map calls Annapurna. How marvelous I thought. A new adventure, one giving Dorothy a well earned break and chance for me to use muscles other than the one in my right wrist. It sounded so easy, just a stroll.

But after two days I was completely buggered, leaving a note and an empty bed the next morning to say ‘sorry guys, I‘ve headed back.’ Surrendering; in the company of the French, I‘ll never live it down. But I realised in those two days that my challenge wasn‘t to climb a hill or ruin a perfectly good pair of Converse trainers in the process. No, it was to ride Dorothy home, across the other half of the world. I had no energy nor desire to embark on challenges secondary to that. The mountain could wait for another time. My place was back on the bike, heading west.

Only we didn’t get very far. Diarrohea in this part of the world is a common as a cold and for the next week it kept my bottom glued to the hotel loo. Fortunately it was one where you could sit not squat so at least my legs were allowed a full recovery and with nothing else to do I sat and read a book; Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, a document I liked very much until the bit about the author’s bike just being just an assembly of metal and bolts. I said this cannot be. My Dorothy is alive, like you and I. She has a soul, a mood, a manner. To compare her to a can opener is to ignore her very essence, to forget what it is that she’s achieving on this global adventure. When we met she was retired remember, her life’s work already completed. Now look at her; 3,000 metres up a mountain on an adventure around the world and still going strong. That, I believe, is where the author of this book got it wrong. Bike’s do breathe.

But in India she very nearly stopped.

If I’m honest, until now the trip had all been rather easy. Australia was a real blast with the dynamite of excitement propelling us all the way to Darwin with plenty of gun powder left to spare. Indonesia was a harder slog but also, with hindsight, an easy cruise. Malaysia and Thailand, with their super-highways and welcome arms, were an even easier breeze. But heading south, to India was a whole different chunk of cheese. I’d heard the warnings about suicidal traffic and all the filth and squalor but nothing, not a bean of information, can prepare you for that first time you ooze through a city trying not to kill or be killed. People, goats, donkeys, bikes and monster trucks… everywhere, not an inch uncovered. And then there’s the heat.

As I arrived in the holy city of Varanasi the mercury was already boiling at 46. And that, to someone leaving all their fluids in a Nepalese toilet bowl, wasn’t much fun. Nor was the hassle from people trying to sell you all sorts of things. Postcards, tea, drugs, clothes… wood to help the bodies burn down by the river, boat cruises along it to watch the face of the deceased melt more closely. Everything here was for sale, 24 hours a day, seven sodding days of the week. I had a massage from one man who said he‘d do it for 20 rupees. When he finished he demanded 250. I said ‘**** you’ and flicked him the 20. I’m not normally like that, but it was these tricks and treachery that would make my blood boil from the day I arrived to the day I left almost two months later.

I never intended on staying that long, just a few weeks to pick up visas then on through Pakistan, Iran and into Turkey. That’s when the Iranian post-election riots kicked off and everything changed. Somehow the blame for it all was pointed at Britain, with the Iranian embassy in Delhi confirming our worst fears; ‘There will be no visa for Americans, Canadians, Australians or… British,’ commanded the man at the desk. The Americans and British were refused for political reasons, the Canadians for nothing other than being America’s neighbour, while the Australians, including Dot, were temporarily excluded for beating Indian students up in Melbourne. Apparently.

Either way it meant we were stuck. The only slim chance we had to pass through Iran now was to enter Pakistan and give it one last shot at the Iranian embassy in Islamabad. They may have had a different view to their colleagues in Delhi and wave us both through, but it was huge gamble. If they’d said no, me and Dorothy would have been stuck in Pakistan, no visa to carry on nor any choice but to go back. And with the Taliban still taking ground in the north and bombs going off in the south, Pakistan really wasn’t the place to linger.

For a few days I hung around Delhi eating KFC soft-serve cones while deciding what to do. There was no other option; we had to come up with plan Two.

Posting my predicament online came up with all sorts of alternatives, some sane some stupid. Some recommended I get a boat from Pakistan all the way to Egypt, others suggested we fly from Delhi to either Turkey to the west or Kyrgyzstan to the north and carry on from there. Another popular suggestion was to ride the Karakorum Highway from Pakistan into China, but with expensive guides and paperwork needed to take Dorothy that way it was a difficult choice to justify. One man had a solution to this. He said I should try and smuggle Dorothy over the border by hiring the Han Solo I’d find drinking down the Indian arm of Mos Isley. He didn’t say if I should also hire his Chewbacca, but hell, why not?

It sounded quite romantic, me and Dorothy crawling barb-wired borders below the strafe of Chinese search lights, but to do that would take ******** far bigger than mine, and with little time to fertilise them, I bit the bullet, made a phonecall home and borrowed the $2,200 I’d been quoted for a seven day guided trip though China. I know that’s a fat stash of cash and yes, flying to Turkey or sailing to Egypt would have been cheaper, but this is an overland trip, this is Sydney to England by moped, and while over Burma we didn’t have a choice, now we do. And if a Chinese guide through to Central Asia is the only way of keeping Dorothy’s wheels on the ground then so be it. Either way, we now had Plan Two.

Waiting for the paperwork to come through I thought it wise to altitude test Dorothy along the Menali to Leh highway; the second highest paved road in the world at 5,235metres. Motorcycles suffer at high altitude, just like humans, you see, and with us having to cross equally high Himalayan peaks in Pakistan I thought no way in the world do I want to be discovering Dorothys vertigo as a Taliban truck fires bullets at my back.

Rocks, sand, dirt, cliffs, waterfalls and streams, the battered road to Leh had it all. To cross most of it I had no choice but to wring Dot’s neck in first gear at 20km/h. Sometimes, when it was really steep, she just collapsed and died in my arms. A couple of minutes later I’d fire her back up and put her through it all again. At one point I even thought about turning back until a man on an Enfield called me gay.

I just wish I’d been wearing socks. I suppose it’s obvious really, but at this altitude the weather is bitter evil, with snow along the road and icy waterfalls you have no choice but to wade through. Of course Converse aren’t the shoe of choice for such an adventure and so a puncture at 5pm somewhere around 5,000metres made me swiftly realise that for Pakistan I need to be better prepared. After considering tenting in an abandoned roofless shed without any sleeping bags, me and my temporary German riding buddy Sascha finally fitted a new tube and we were on our way, rolling in to a campsite well into darkness. It was my lesson learnt; pack socks next time. And a sleeping bag just in case.

Looking back it’s fair to say I didn’t always like India. At times in fact I hated it. Yet I have to balance that with the realisation that here is a country with barely any government control or coordination. In many senses it’s a shambles; the roads, the social welfare, the sanitation. And yet, even without these pillars of society we take for granted in the west, the place does not fall apart. In fact it shows just how successfully people can live when they’re left alone by the state. So I will try and leave India with positive memories, and to do that I have to ignore the man I saw drive over a dog’s leg without a blink and think more about the ten year old boy, already speaking five languages and more intelligent than I, who tried to sell me postcards in Varanasi. That boy deserves better, from his community and from his government. One day me and Dorothy hopes he gets it.

But for now, we have a date with Pakistan.

Rolling up to the border I really wished I was religious, at least then I’d have someone to say a little prayer to; someone on my shoulder to stop me feeling so exposed. Instead it was just me and Dorothy, alone, with only our daft talk of angels to keep us on track. I don‘t mind confessing that we were scared. I‘d sent my internet login codes to a friend just in case we didn‘t make it, I‘d wrote a rather apocalyptic group email to everyone else and was genuinely fearing that this was mine and Dot‘s last ride, especially given the Frenchman yet to reappear having been kidnapped here last month.

But perception, it’s a dangerous thing, because with my own eyes I realised Pakistan is a great place. I arrived safely in Lahore with the help of several road-side spectators who guided me the right way having first warmed my belly with a nice cup of tea. One man even combed my hair while I drank. But of course Pakistani hospitality isn’t all like that, with some villages, especially in the north, quite open in their loathing of outsiders. One man almost smashed the Coke bottle through his own counter in an attempt to demonstrate just how unwelcome I was in his shop. But you can deal with that because at least you know where you stand. No one’s pretending. And in that sense there’s a real integrity about the place. A spade’s a spade, not whatever the tourist wants to call it so long as he’s paying. After the mendacity of parts of India is was rather refreshing … even if I do think the Manali to Leh highway is a far more spectacular road than Pakistan’s KKH.

For me though Nepal, India and Pakistan were the countries that the trip really came alive. It was a hard slog, one with difficult decisions to be made and all sorts of scoundrels that stood in the way. But it also included the moment when we stood back and went ’holy ****’, we’re really doing this, we’re really riding this show all the way to England. And that made me and Dorothy proud. For while we still have many miles to journey, we also have many more to look back on and say what a blast, what a ball. We set off from Sydney with nothing; no plan, no clue, no idea, and here we are, having stitched enough of our random rags together to somehow make it this far. I’d call it quite incredible, I think we’ve earned that right.

Next stop China. Hope to see you there.

Fantastic write up, not a camera crew in sight or a 4X4 !!! Good luck hope to see you at the Ace !!:smiley:

Enjoyed that. Good luck with the rest of the trip.

Blimey seems like a great trip. Your write-ups are every entertaining. I recommend you write a book about your travels when it’s all finished.

I hope Dorothy holds up for the journey to England, and I look forward to welcoming you here and hopefully meeting you and Dorothy in person.

Great write up, I’m on for a copy if you’re gonna knock up a proper book about the journey.

PMSL at the line - “At one point I even thought about turning back until a man on an Enfield called me gay” :D:D

Incredible stuff! What a great trip. Welcome aboard and please keep us informed!

Ta again guys, we’re just chuffed our trips of interest. We’ve been posting a bit on the American site ADVRider but haven’t really found anywhere in the UK to share the journey. Until now…

Here’s a few pics from the early stages in Oz. The change in bike is down to the first one - Dorris - blowing up in Brisbane on the third day. I only had ten days to get to Darwin before my visa expired so I sadly had no choice but to replace her. But if I’m honest Dorothy’s a far better bike and stands a much better chance of making it than Dorris ever would. So it’s a good thing Dorris blew up.



Makes great reading, which makes great sympathising and enjoying. Great opportunity youve created for yourself. And I for one would enjoy reading a book about these travels :slight_smile: And your views on the world you encounter.Best of luck with the rest of your journey!

I’m a tad concerned with your love for Dot… but in such situations… a mans gotta do :-p

what a great adventure!!! If i haven’t move to New York by the time you get here, i’ll join the welcoming committee :slight_smile:

Brilliant stuff mate, a great read and I look forward to the updates, that’s an adventure and a half right there!! :w00t:

I wish you well on the rest of your trip and I, like many others, would be honored to welcome you to our shores.

Hope to meet you and Dorothy in person once you arrive in blighty! :smiley:

Fantastic write up and good luck for the rest of your trip.

Re-affirms the majesty of human spirit taking on a trip like that.

Fantastic trip, what an adventure… keep us posted

Cant wait to see Dorothy :smiley:

Brilliant - doing what a lot of us dream about (maybe with a little more comfort!). Have a great trip.