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Saturday, December 08, 2007

Longer Way Down

I'm sure, like me, you've enjoyed the recent Long Way Down series staring Hollywood moviestar Ewan McGregor and a fat bloke called Charley Boorman. It has been excellent. Full of 15,000 miles worth of fascinating and enlightening insights into Africa and the peoples thereof, but at the back of my mind is the fact that there is said international moviestar, megastar's best mate, two 4x4's full of equipment, a relatively bottomless pit of funding, and a team of thirty six people helping to lubricate their way across Africa's many turbulent nations. Now there's absolutely nothing wrong with that, indeed I would say that anyone who is considering an expedition of such magnitude should try and take as much help, equipment, and funding as they can muster and make the best use of it and whatever celebrity status they have to help them on their journey . . . but there is another way.

Let me introduce you to 46 year old Dutch horticulturalist Sjaak Lucassen (he's on the left, the denim-clad sepo is chat show king Jay Leno). He too decided that he'd like to see a bit more of the world so in March of 2001 he loaded up his totally standard Yamaha R1 sportsbike, and set off.

Destination: Adventure!

He returned five years, five months, and 155,000 miles later!
No back up crew, limited funds, and all he could take with him were the items that would fit in the panniers of the bike, and he still has time to get his knee down!

In the words of Aretha Franklin - R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

To give all you non-motorcyclists an idea of his achievement, it's the equivalent of putting a roof rack on the top of a Porche 911, loading up with Ginsters pasties, and driving round the planet . . . twice . . . on your own . . . and finding a petrol station every 150 miles or so.

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