TRAVEL

Mark Holmes, 61, spent his life run­ning a TV and video equip­ment busi­ness with his wife. But then it all went wrong, so he hit the road…

BIKE (UK) - - CONTENTS -

When Mark Holmes’ life hit the buf­fers, he hit the road to find his so­lu­tion.

Where are you right now? I now live in Lyon, France, learn­ing how to live a new life as a French­man. You’ve just re­turned from a ride around the world. What was your route? Af­ter two months rid­ing around Europe I headed east via Tur­key, Iran, Dubai, In­dia, In­done­sia, Aus­tralia and New Zealand. A quick hop over the Pa­cific got me to Chile, Ar­gentina, Brazil, Bo­livia, Peru, Ecuador and Colom­bia. The US State Depart­ment de­cided my ten days in Iran was a threat to them and would not is­sue me a visa. So I en­joyed Canada in­stead. I fin­ished in Mon­treal af­ter 506 days, five con­ti­nents, 36 coun­tries and 39,000 miles. What bike did you ride? I knew from pre­vi­ous trips on a 2300cc Rocket that my Tri­umph would be com­fort­able and al­most un­break­able. More im­por­tantly it would at­tract at­ten­tion and this would help me en­gage with peo­ple in a way few other bikes do. With no punc­tures, two mi­nor break­downs quickly fixed by ex­cel­lent Tri­umph deal­ers in Jakarta and Rio de Janeiro, it proved to be a great choice. And I didn’t even drop it. Had you ever done any­thing like this be­fore? I had pre­vi­ously en­joyed lengthy rides around Europe and the Mediter­ranean, mostly with my late wife. One year we flew my first Tri­umph Rocket to New York and rode it in a gi­ant zig-zag to Los An­ge­les. Af­ter ev­ery trip I just wanted to keep rid­ing. So, that’s what I did, this time, now that I had the op­por­tu­nity to. But it wasn’t just about the rid­ing… No, I had a cou­ple of mes­sages for the world, and pas­sions to share. I knew the Rocket would at­tract at­ten­tion, so it was quite easy to en­gage with peo­ple who stopped to ad­mire it. I told them that I wanted peo­ple to please stop smok­ing, be­cause they are killing them­selves, but also to ride a mo­tor­cy­cle, as it can be so much fun. One or other mes­sage al­ways got a re­ac­tion. Many would go on to ask about my jour­ney. Where are you from? Where are you go­ing? Why are you trav­el­ling alone? What is your job? At first I won­dered whether or not I should tell the full story. Af­ter all, they were only mak­ing po­lite con­ver­sa­tion. I soon re­alised that I might as well blurt it all out: my wife and I ran our own busi­ness for 28 years, but Novem­ber 2016 we went into ad­min­is­tra­tion. 11 days later, af­ter 39 years of mar­riage, my wife died. She had been fight­ing can­cer for quite a while. So, with no wife, no job, no in­come, no best friend, no soul mate, I de­cided to ven­ture into

‘No wife, no job, no in­come, no best friend… I de­cided to ven­ture into the world…’

the world, share my pas­sions and love, and ask the world to de­liver me some­thing in re­turn. I got on my bike and left the UK. Im­me­di­ately, their ex­pres­sion would change. At first their eyes lit up. Then their mouth would open. Then their jaws hit the floor. They never ex­pected that an­swer to their sim­ple ques­tion. What was the best mo­ment of your jour­ney? Not one best mo­ment but thou­sands. The peo­ple I met made my jour­ney. I have felt noth­ing but kind­ness from al­most all. Just a short ex­change of life sto­ries with them often re­minded me that there is far more love in the world than hate. In fact, I now do my best to avoid use of the word hate. Many con­ver­sa­tions have been filled by laughter, but one or two have in­volved spon­ta­neous tears. What does your fu­ture look like? There is an­other story that has threaded its way through my jour­ney, but I have not shared it yet. My friends tell me the real story is scarcely cred­i­ble. I am now at­tempt­ing to write it in a book. Find out about Mark’s ad­ven­tures at… markholmes.me Face­book @Markholmes­rtw Twit­ter @Mark Holmes RTW In­sta­gram markholmes366 Youtube Mark Holmes

Tri­umph Rocket: not your usual ad­ven­ture com­pan­ion

Start ’em young and they’ll ride for life

Above: If you’re go­ing to ride to some­thing as big and in­con­gru­ous as Ayres Rock do it on a big in­con­gru­ous bike Le‹: there are places big Tri­umphs can­not go. And this is oneBe­low: it’s al­ways wise to keep the lo­cal law sweet

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