Some of the longer in the tooth members may remember me, probably most of you have no idea of who I am, that being said I thought some of you would be interested in my upcoming solo on and off road adventure through North, Central and South America in 2022.
In 2018 I decided that it was time to get really serious about travelling again after the Brexit referendum result forced me out of my European IT career. So I started to think about a really long overland trip. At first the enormity of what I would need to plan for, test and complete before even stepping on a bike was a bit overwhelming. So I broke it down into smaller chunks that could be simply achieved. Where to go in the world, solo or a tour group, what bike, how will I navigate, how will I stay healthy, accommodation, carnet de passage, first aid, search and rescue, the list was almost endless? This is why I initially allocated two years to planning and slowly over time I have now got a tick in 90% of the boxes on the list. I have managed this mostly on my own and with the help of the internet I have completed, or know what I need to do to complete all the tasks required for such a trip.
My initial intended start date was March 2021, now revised to February 2022. I had always has a hankering to see more of North America so adding Central and South America was an easy decision. Next up, with a tour group or solo, this was not too hard to decide as almost every tour I looked into was passing through each country far too quickly and I wanted lots of time to explore, stop and start as I wanted to, so going solo was the answer for me. However, going into these countries solo added at least one additional complication if/when I got into difficulty or worse, how will I communicate to get myself out of difficulty. So the first task was to learn Spanish which I am still doing with my now friend Eric all the way from Mexico City; got to love Zoom.
The next big decision was what bike?
As I am short, the “off the shelf” adventure bikes were just not going to work without lowering the suspension at both ends and I felt compromising the handling of the bike. Not to mention these after market rear suspension linkages breaking somewhere stranding me in the middle of nowhere with no passing traffic to assist. I also felt that the “off the shelf” bikes are built to a price and not so much built to do a job. As the bike was going to be my home, office, entire world for a long time I wanted a machine that would not let me down.
Having followed Lyndon Poskitt on his races to places and through his Dakar racing a bike like Basil tailored to my short stature seemed to be the right idea. Knowing he built the kind of bike I wanted I contacted him asking him if he would build me a similar bike. This is how Goliath became part of my life and a ruthlessly money-sucking machine.
More updates in future installments.
First published in Slipstream August 2021