This is a record in chronological order of all of the preparation we did for the trip ahead of time.
Brunhilde reconnects with Simon's roots today and receives a sticker identifying her as a Silesian. She will carry proud message of (unrecognised) autonomy throughout the world. Tomorrow she's going for her last, before the journey commences, ride: from the heart of Silesia in Poland through Weimar in Germany back to the UK - for the leaving party...
While Alex enjoys her country rides in picturesque England Simon gets beaten down (and more so his Brunhilde) at BMW Enduro Academy at Enduro Park at the Heart of Silesia. Amazing weekend with amazing people introduces Simon to riding off the beaten track, across fields and forests, up and down the hills and especially biggest killer of all: sand! What a joy and hecto-litres of sweat. Photo 1: Backstage of exercises, Photo2: Lets face it-we all do it for free T-Shirts, Photo3: Silesian Flag next to Polish one at the base camp
While Simon gets trained up at the BMW academy in Poland, Alex tests out the GoPro and goes on an adventure with Freja to Edenbridge and back. The winding country roads were good fun and a welcome break from commuting in London. Here are some stills from her mini-adventure!!
A month to go before the pair take off! Alex and Simon finalise their Indiegogo funding: check it out on our About page! There are loads of cool souvenirs you can have and opportunities for participation.
Time that Alex said goodbye to her little Honda CBF125! It took her across SE England on many adventures and kept her safe from all the London drivers intent on bulldozing motorbikes.
The BMW 700GS makes its maiden voyage from Tunbridge Wells to London!
Alex's collection of bikes is growing! The time has come to sell her faithful little Honda CBF125 which got her through her tests and through many adventures!
Today was the day Alex picked a bike! She booked into BMW Cooper's Tonbridge Wells to try the 700GS. It's important that the bike feels good and is the right size.
The pair set off for the test ride, this is the closest they've come to riding the real thing.
They use an hour to make the most of the sunshine in Tonbridge and the verdict? Alex loves the bike, they seal the deal!
Simon and Alex enjoy a well earned cider after completing the 12 mile Tough Mudder London West 2016. The pair demolished all the obstacles and finished in 3.5hr with their amazing teammates.
Alex arrived at the test centre ready to take module two, and there was a positive sign waiting for her from the beginning, as although two things were different to the last time- the instructor and the bike itself- she was being trained next to a guy called Simon.
The bike, although the same model, was different enough to cause concern to an already slightly anxious Alex, however, the test time came sooner than expected and despite taking a wrong turn during the "independent ride" section of the test, Alex passed with only a few minor faults!
Many thanks to the amazing instructors, Nick and Mick (not kidding) at Advantage Wimbledon for training Alex up so well. If you're looking to learn, check them out! Anyone who has the patience to teach Alex can teach you, no problem!
Today's the day Alex passed her Mod1!! This means she is one step closer to a full license and being able to get her bike for the journey. She passed with one minor for going at 49kmph instead of 50kmph. Tough crowd!!
Next step will be Mod2 which is town driving this time...
En route back from BMW Tonbridge Wells, Alex and Simon spot a familiar looking vehicle! It's in pretty good nick considering the journey it must have been through. Inspiring! Alex spent the day looking at BMWs she could fit on for the journey ahead. It looks promising, one model was the right height and weight for her 5'8" frame and need for balance.
Alex checks out the book that started it all for Simon. His maternal grandmother hoped he'd be inspired by the amazing sites of the world hiding in the pages of this book, just waiting to be discovered by a young adventurer! The inscription she left was quite lovely and clearly effective.
Of course, he's since gone on to see many of them for himself, but Alex soon spotted many which will be new for them both come July!
Today is the trailer shoot at Beachy Head. Alex achieves most hours ridden in a day (7.5 total) and thanks to the utter professionalism of Michael, Darren and Helen (film crew extraordinaire!) a lot of footage is secured.
Having missed the sun all winter (and especially the evening before) it comes out for a splendid afternoon's worth of filming. Beachy Head is superbly beautiful and fun to ride on bikes!!
Simon and Alex test the tent and sleeping bags on the wild beach front of Whistable bay. The wind reached gust peaks of 70mph on an average of 20mph. It made for an interesting night's sleep but all in all, good practice for any poor weather while traveling!
Alex updates the blog whilst drinking delicious coffee at The Micro Roastery in Canterbury.
Well worth a visit- it even has the stamp of approval from coffee addict, Simon. Alex drank the Colombian roast and was very pleased.
Having successfully ridden across London and the A2, Alex and Simon work on improving Alex's riding skills. Alex is chaperoned through the winding country roads of Chilham and Canterbury.
Alex gets wheels! Now the hard journey learning how to be a competent and safe rider begins in earnest.
We gotta be sure that we have the right equipment for the trip so we had better test it out in a real environment and the British Coast in the Autumn is almost as wet as South American jungles.
Conclusion: 2 person tent is a no-no (3-4persons is needed because of luggage storage) and (thanks to our trekking master friend Dr. Agnieszka Kozlowska) we know, that no rubbish mats or sleeping bags will do, Rab Down Sleeping bag and Therm-a-Rest mat are absolutely necessary, if one wishes to sleep outdoors for a year.
Learn all you can.
One should never stop learning and improving...especially preparing for a one year round the world bike trip...well, was a flying lesson absolutely necessary? Probably not, but it was definitely fun!
Another step closer.
Having cashed all his savings from the 'Ireland years' Simon gets his bike at BMW in Guildford, amazing BMW R1200GS Adventure 2011...within few days she is named after Icelandic and German mythology warrior princess: Brunhilde, who was a strong and beautiful warrior princess.
Get your gear ready, get your body ready.
Alex was already light years ahead of Simon (fitness wise) when they met which she proved taking part in Tough Mudder. Simon was there to document it all. When she finished, he commented in a very English tapping on a shoulder style: that looked like so much fun, we should do it one day together. Of course, he did not mean that! Nevertheless, few days later, tickets for 2016 Tough Mudder were already waiting in his mailbox: on the 30th of April then Alex&Simon will run half a marathon, cross country with 35 obstacles together...getting their bodies ready for one year of serious adventure.
Getting our act together.
After over a year of failures Simon gets his full motorbike licence - one step closer!
Establishment of the dreams.
Decision made during first car long term(ish) car journey together: lets do The Grand Tour on motorbikes together within one year...decision made after first Bungee Jump together at Verzasca.
Filling ourselves with inspiration.
Could one think of a better Friday eve than listening to the stories of the greatest living travelers and explorers? Campfire event, organised by the only (recorded) man to have walked the whole of the Amazon River, Ed Stafford in London gave us this opportunity. With speakers like sir Ranulph Fiennes, Alastair Humphreys or Steve Backshall ones heart couldn't leave uninspired. On top of that some amazing friendships were made with an amazing yoga teacher and explorer Jacqueline Wigglesworth and Travel Photographer Keith Ducatel.
The first encounter...
Alex&Simon met in Venice. Simon was a Director of Photography for Alex's godmother project premiered at the Biennale dell'Arte: Fragment and Trace. It did not take a day for the two to fall in love having realised they did not just meet...the met yet again...