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He's actually been to Timbuktu and back; on his motor bike
At Mick's MotorCycles, 485 Main North Road, Evanston, on Saturday, 12 April at 10.30 am, you will be able to meet and hear Allan Roberts talk about his adventures travelling on his 'Mothership," a Honda Africa Twin 750cc motorbike, through exotic locations from London to rural Victoria, Africa and Asia in 899 days.
Allan's 'Mothership', a Honda Africa twin 750cc.
Allan Roberts, in conjunction with ghost writer Paul Greenway, has produced his book The Hard Way Home. It describes first-hand some remarkable adventures as Allan travelled 102,000 kilometres through 59 countries across four continents from London to Cape Town via the Sahara and through East Africa to Yemen; then to Central Asia, Russia, Mongolia and China before heading to South East Asia with a detour to ride the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge rally in Dubai.
The rugged Mountains of Central Asia offered their own challenges.
In 2004, Ewan McGregor, the famous Scottish actor, embarked on the Long Way Round Challenge to motor bike with his mate, 20 000 miles across 12 countries in just 115 days. This was accomplished along with the additional help of office staff, medical officer, security officer, TV camera crew, support and service crew with fuel and spare parts. Roberts did his journey the hard way - without the sponsorship and support offered to celebrity riders. As he said, "And, my God, what I would've given for a 'fixer' to sort out my visas for me and paperwork for my bike at the innumerable border crossings across Africa and Asia."
Crossing rivers on makeshift pontoon in South East Asia.
On two wheels, Roberts encountered plenty of variety in his experiences through some of the toughest places in the world; surviving dust storms, off road desert trails, avoiding landmines, finding love, friendship, adventure, maggots in his leg, lying in a malaria fever for three days on the concrete floor of an Angolan police station, and even had his bike stolen in Dubai.
Robert's journey wasn't all hardship as shown in his photos and beautiful descriptions of locations seeing wild camels and their calves being herded by nomadic tribesmen; giraffes crouching awkwardly with their legs splayed as they drink from a waterhole; a shipwreck at the gateway to the Western Sahara.
Being stuck in mud along a 'road' in Central Africa.
In January, 2014, in South America, Roberts took part in Dakar, the toughest motorbike race in the world. Only 78 entrants from 180 finished this 14-day race across Argentina, Bolivia and Chile and one rider even died on the rally. He started at 165th and finished 39th.
Kids were always curious about Allan and his bike.
A travelling band of more than 3000 people followed riders around, and each day Roberts joined this remarkable community for food and have his bike looked over and serviced. He was entirely self-funded, having raised the $120 000 so he could participate. Roberts is currently seeking sponsorship for the Dakar 2015.
Allan Roberts will be discussing his experiences along with footage of Dakar to be shown, followed with a sausage sizzle. There will be opportunities to meet Allan and he will be signing copies of The Hard Way Home.