Long ride marks mile­stone

North Shore Times - - CONVERSATIONS - ZIZI SPARKS

Mo­tor­bikes have al­ways been a key part of Trevor and Au­drey Stafford’s re­la­tion­ship. Trevor showed Au­drey his bike the sec­ond day they met, then on their hon­ey­moon they drove a mo­tor­bike around Europe.

So it was only fit­ting that the pair cel­e­brated their 40th wed­ding an­niver­sary with an 84-day ride across Europe and Asia. The Tor­bay cou­ple ar­rived in London on their an­niver­sary - March 26 and spent a month sort­ing out what was to come, Trevor said.

‘‘We trav­elled to 17 coun­tries so the plan was to find a mo­tor­bike, to get all the visas,’’ he said.

They left London on April 21 and started their jour­ney which would cul­mi­nate in Bei­jing, China 84 days later.

The route had been worked out for them by a tour company they were go­ing with, Globe­busters.

Armed with four pairs of socks and four pairs of un­der­wear, they were with about 18 rid­ers. Au­drey was the only fe­male to com­plete the 12-week ride.

Trevor said rid­ing a mo­tor­bike unites peo­ple.

‘‘You get a sense of free­dom and you’ve got friends world­wide,’’ he said.

Over the course of their more than 21,000 kilo­me­tre jour­ney, they en­coun­tered a va­ri­ety of peo­ple and things. The fa­mous Pamir High­way was, at times, a dirt track full of pot­holes.

‘‘You’d go around the cor­ner and there was a herd of sheep. If you went over the side, it was straight down.’’

Most days they rode for six to eight hours. In the ‘‘stan’’ coun­tries, there was a black mar­ket for petrol with mer­chants sell­ing it on the side of the road us­ing cutup coke bot­tles as fun­nels.

The pair agreed that the high­light was rid­ing to the Mt Ever­est base camp.

‘‘To be there with the high­est point on planet earth in front of you was amaz­ing,’’ Trevor said.

When they fi­nally reached China, it took 18 hours to be pro­cessed to cross the border.

De­spite such a long jour­ney, the pair say at the end they felt stim­u­lated.

‘‘When you’re on a bike you have to con­cen­trate 100 per cent of the time,’’ Trevor said. ‘‘We got to Bei­jing and were burst­ing with health and fit­ness.’’

They ex­pe­ri­enced tem­per­a­tures from -2 de­grees cel­sius in the Hi­malayas to 42 de­grees in the deserts of Turk­menistan.

The cou­ple re­turned home in July.

SUP­PLIED

Trevor and Au­drey Stafford say a high­light of their 84-day ride was see­ing Mt Ever­est on a clear day.

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