Christmas in the desert for marathon motorcyclist
HARDY adventurer Spencer Conway spent Christmas ploughing through the Ethiopian desert on his motorbike.
Mr Conway is 59 days into his epic solo circumnavigation of Africa in aid of Save The Children.
He left his home village of Biddenden on November 1 as he set out on his journey of 24,000 miles through 28 countries.
His journey has attracted support from far and wide, including from actor Richard E. Grant, who has become the mission’s patron, and even from Prince Harry.
Mr Conway’s father Michael last heard from Spencer, thanks to the occasional online connection, just before Christmas.
He said: “We believe that he is on the border between Ethiopia and Kenya. We heard from him on Christmas Eve from Addis Ababa.
“He got through Sudan and travelled for seven hours through the desert without seeing anybody.”
His infrequent contacts have often been filled with incident, such as his bike being vandalised by an angry gang while he was in Egypt last month.
Michael Conway said: “He went on a very unknown route and was stopped by the military, who told him it was a very dangerous road and that he couldn’t come that way.
“He went back 100km – they pointed him east and he followed that.
“There was nothing, just some sticks in the road pointing upwards every kilometre or so. He followed them and eventually got to Khartoum.”
He added: “On the road to Ethiopia he was stopped again because he didn’t have an Alien Certificate and was sent back to Khartoum – another 100km.”
A troublesome flint road saw one of Spencer’s tyres get ripped to shreds. Having repaired that he battled on only to have another tyre destroyed.
He was stranded in the desert for a day and a half, his mobile phone out of range, until some passers-by helped him source a replacement tyre.
Mr Conway said: “He was also bitten by some horrendous insect in his tent and got a hideous fever.”
Despite such setbacks, the trip has had its blessings.
“Spencer said Ethiopia was the most magnificent country he has ever seen,” said his father.
“He was feeling a bit down when we heard from him because it was Christmas and he had had a bit of rough time, but he’s fine and he’s enjoying it. He’s taking the rough with the smooth.”
Mr Conway, who lives with his partner Catherine and their two daughters, is expected back in about six months’ time.
Anyone wanting to sponsor him or read more about the journey can visit www.africabike-adventure.com
Spencer Conway of Biddenden prepares for his mammoth motorcycle trip across Africa