This will be the last blog entry, though I might write a book about it someday. I’ll probably add some new top level pages in time, things like product reviews for the stuff I used. (If I get around to it!).
It’s been an absolute blast and all I can say to anyone thinking of doing a big trip is…. Go for it!
To all the watchers, people who commented, helped with preparation, tagged along (or lead the way), helped me out, let me stay (and let me go!), to anyone I missed – Thank You doesn’t even begin to cover it. But Thank You anyway. I’m not naming names because there are too many, and in any case – you know who you are!
If you find yourself here for the first time, scroll down to watch me reverse from Birmingham to Melbourne. If you’re returning because you suddenly wondered what happened to the bloke riding home, well now you know…
I made it! Hurrah! (And goodbye!).
Adding up the totals is quite interesting, sometimes surprising and in places a tad disappointing. I’ll let you decide which is which!
33,956 km or 21,100 miles.
2 Sets of Brake pads
7 Oil Changes
3 Oil Filters
2 Spark Plugs
1 Set of sprockets
2 Sets of Tyres
0 New Headlamp Bulbs
0 Punctures !!!!
0 Breakdowns !!
2 Accidents (Mongolia)
3 Encounters with the police
(Kazakhstan, Latvia & Russia)
The best I got from a single tank of fuel was 908 km, or 564 miles. I could have pushed for 600 miles, but I trust my inner chicken – maybe next time. I topped up with exactly 36 litres, which gives me a very respectable 71.33 mpg.
How much did it cost? I’m not an accountant, but the ‘on road’ costs I’d put around $10k AUD. The most expensive part was definitely shipping the bike between major land masses, import duties and visas. Some of these were paid before I left. Certainly not a fortune, and a drop in the ocean next to the $45M for a SAAB 37 Viggen.
Taking of which, there IS still a model one hanging up in my Dad’s loft!
I made the last mile in safety and reached the official finish line. Without a big fanfare, thousand bike escort or surprise party – just how I like it. It was a bit of an anticlimax, but thinking about it, it should be. I didn’t really have any great hardships, the bike performed superbly, I took less time and spent less money than I expected. (Delivering my last project early and under budget – must pop that one on my CV!).
I’d been wondering why Chip hasn’t done a ‘home’ update to his blog, effectively leaving us on the plane. Now that I’m home myself I know why! It’s an emotional rollercoaster, the elation at having ‘done it’ and excitement of seeing everyone, in sharp contrast with the emptiness of knowing it’s all over and the uncertainty of what to do next. I suppose that not doing the final blog entry is a form of denial? (Or maybe I should leave the psychology to psychologists?).
Anyway, the trip is over so I need to wrap things up. I’ve got some final statistics to work out, which I’ll post up shortly. In the mean time, the news today is that I’m big in Holland! I made the front page of the Harlingen Courier (though if I’m honest it’s all Dutch to me!). Thanks to the guys for sending me a copy.
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Ready for Adventure
The ferry crossing was uneventful. I had a cabin and spent most of it asleep. There was the usual cabaret, disco, bingo etc, but I just didn’t have the energy! When we docked and I returned to the car deck there was a crowd of people standing around my bike.
Oh dear. Had it fallen over? Leaked fuel? Been damaged on some other way? Nope, they were just curios as to how I’d got it here. I told them I rode it, a little puzzled – I mean, how else would I have got it here? People still seem to think it’s an amazing achievement.
Maybe I’ve had incredibly good luck, but (so far at least) it’s been fairly straightforward. But now it’s time to catch up with a couple of old friends in Newcastle before heading home.
Oh yes, and drive on the left. <-
Left. OK. Got it! <-
I’ll soon be on my last ferry of the trip, followed by a short hop through the UK and home. I’m not sure exactly how I feel about that. Of course, it’ll be great to come home and see everyone, but there’s also a distinct sense of anti-climax.
I think the finality of it all is starting to sink in. It’ll soon be over and it’s going to be a little hard to adjust from riding hundreds of miles every day, to not going anywhere at all! I wonder how Chip and Ken are doing?
It’s not over yet though, they say the hardest miles are the first and the last and it’s certainly true. I’ve got to remember to ride on the left now, and be extra extra careful not to crash on the last day!! I’ve known others do it through lack of concentration, as the euphoria of finishing kicks in.
For now though I’ll just concentrate on boarding the ferry and not riding into the sea. (I’ve seen that done too). See you on the other side!
No, wait up. That’s not right. Bikes on dykes, that’s more like it! If you came to this page looking for something else, well shame on you! (But thanks for helping with the hit count).
The Dyke is an impressive piece of engineering. You need to see it up close to fully comprehend the scale of it all. Of course there’s not just one Dyke, but a series of complex flood defence mechanisms working in tandem. However, the part I rode over immense! I thought I was riding along the seafront, until I realised that the sea should be on my right, not my left.
On the left was a huge freshwater mass that looked like the sea. It was that big. When I came to a parking spot on the top, it became evident how large it was. Taking to Jouke he tells me they had some scientists staying who were studying the dyke. The weak point is the lee side, not the front. If waves break over the top, the turbulent flow at the base of the lee side breaks down the structure from behind. So now you know!
I looked for holes and had my finger ready, but Holland didn’t need a hero today.
This is the statue of Hendrik Lorentz,
the physicist who contributed towards the engineering of the dike and the pumping stations to evacuate the water. His calculations for the tidal flows and forces made the feat possible. In fact, the entire project was completed early and was less troublesome than expected. He’s looking inland rather than out to sea, which I thought was a little strange?
The statue is located where the dike was sealed by the last bucket of till. Till is a form of clay dredged from the local waterways, used to coat the sand used in the construction on the Dike. The top layer of grass is kept by sheep, which do a better job of compacting than cattle. So it says anyway!
What an amazing technical achievement to see built in your lifetime as a local eh?
Talking of technical, for some reason my email account has been disabled and I can’t unlock it with my phone. It means I have to update the blog by web page online, which is a real pain! At least it’s near the end of the trip, and hopefully not long before I can get to a ‘real’ computer. They also have WiFi at the ferry port 🙂
I’ve just had my first press conference! Jouke’s friend Ubbo from the local paper came round to interview me. Jouke acted as translator for me and it was a lot of fun. They took some pictures and particularly liked my Viking helmet!
I’m not sure when the next issue is out, maybe Friday or Tuesday? Either way, I’ve given Ubbo the blog address and if it’s printed there’s a chance my blog might just tip a million views! I’m only short by 970,000, which I get the impression may be their circulation!
Or was it 970? Or maybe 97? I’m not good with numbers.