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