Monthly Archives: October 2011

Shove it up Rabat

Actually, that’s a bit harsh, Rabat is a pretty cool city. Everyone’s friendly (except for our hotel manager), the hassling is minimal and everything works. They even have a modern tram system.

Rabat, Morocco and the start of Africa

We have stopped off in Rabat, the capital of Morocco; for a few days to arrange our Mauritanian visas. Rabat has a distinctly European feel, it’s clean, laid back and there is far less hassle than in most other Moroccan cities. We were planning to just pop in, get the visas and leave. But as we arrived on the weekend and with the embassy closed, we stayed longer than planned. And it has been a lot nicer than expected. The medina is quite new, at only 400 years old it is not as impressive as the medinas’ of Marrakesh or Fes, but when the new marina is complete I can see more tourists coming.

Have we actually left yet?! Read on! (says Adrian)

Yes! I thought about stringing you on a bit more for added suspense, but with the all the problems we’ve had, it’s such a relief to finally be on our way.

Bike recovered, it’s all back on!

Wow, what a roller coaster the last 3 days has been. I’d found replacement bike, almost picked it up and nearly cancelled the old bike’s documents. Then on Wednesday night, I got a call from the Police to say that they have recovered my bike. You can’t believe my relief.

The thieving reprobates had parked the bike a few neighbourhoods away and left it too ‘cool off’. They do this in case the bike has a tracker that leads the police to their evil lair. Whilst the bike was cooling off, another thieving reprobate tried to steal it! Fortunately a member of the public saw this happening and called 999. The police came immediately and almost caught the punk. They then checked up on the vehicle and noticed that it had been reported stolen, which is when they called me. Ironically, it was reprobate #2 that lead to my bike being recovered.

Fortunately there is no major damage apart from a broken ignition barrel and stolen panniers. BMW have repaired the barrel and Bernie from Stahlkoffer has sent replacement panniers overnight.

With Adrian’s crash last week and my (2) thefts, we are quite happy that we have used up all of our bad luck before we have even left! Touch wood, it should now be plain sailing all the way down to Cape Town.

Both bikes are now recovered and repaired, but we have pushed back the leave date to Sunday 16 October as there are a few loose ends to tie up.

P.s. I’d like to thank everyone for all the support over the last 3 days, it’s been incredible.

Russell’s bike stolen

Yesterday was not a good day, I woke up to find the beast missing. A walk up and down the street and it is definitely not where I parked it the night before. Knowing that we are supposed to be leaving on Friday, I can’t begin to express my shock, anger and disappointment at finding my bike had been stolen.

I frekking love that bike.

Looking back on it now, I’m seeing this as a test of my determination to do this trip. That and that I could possibly set a new world record for finding a replacement bike, get it up to spec, register it, process carnets, all before we leave. Something always works out, it always does…  Dont get me wrong, Im still angry, fuming in fact. But I’ve have been quite touched by some of the support I’ve received from various friends and acquaintances.

Within seconds of posting on UKGSer about the theft and needing a new bike, I got a call from a member offering support. The RAC reckon they can fast track a new Carnet in a few days, reissuing paperwork is my biggest concern. I only hope that the various other agencies that I need to deal with are as helpful.

As I ran out of fuel 20 miles from Gaya, I tucked my gloves into my helmet and stood my the bike wondering who was going to help me this time, and what it would lead to this time. I did not doubt that help would come, and with it most probably some unexpected twist in my fortunes. It had taken years to achieve this measure of confidence and calm, and as I waited I allowed myself some pleasure in knowing it.

Ted Simon, Jupiter’s Travels

P.s. If you came to this site becuase you nicked a bike with Pikipiki Safari stickers on, you can forget all that hippy stuff I’ve just said. On the trip, I will be actively seeking out some of West Africa’s best voodoo, putting the strongest curses on you and your dog.

Disaster! Adrian’s accident

Bike accident

Not how it's supposed to be

Fate, if it exists, has dealt me a very cruel blow indeed. My Monday commute was very rudely interrupted by an accident. It was one of those accidents that are the equivalent of winning the lottery.

An incident on the other side of the road, caused by a truck rear-ending a taxi, forced the taxi right into my lane in a millisecond. I braked VERY hard, but not hard enough and I collided with the side of a black cab that was now parked sideways in the middle of my lane.

I fortunately didn’t sustain any major injuries. The force of the impact bent both my thumbs down to my wrists spraining my thumb knuckles and wrists. When the paramedics asked me if I was ok and if I had any injuries, I stuck up both my thumbs. They took this as a good sign and left me alone.

So BMW Battersea have the beast and are compiling a quote for the damage. My biggest fear is they rack up such a bill for the repairs, the insurance company decides to right it off. I can only hope and pray it’s not that serious. Update to follow.