Motorcyclist on a mission
Don't be surprised if you see a strange looking motorcycle in Japan in the coming five weeks. It's just Simon Milward's unique handmade motorcycle which is taking him on a round the world tour.
The 36 year old Briton left Europe on 1.1.2000 and Japan is the 28th country on his two and a half year Millennium Motorcycle Ride. There are two aims of his ride of a lifetime.
The first is to persuade Japanese motorcyclists to defend their rights. He says some laws in Japan, like the tandem riding ban on expressways, are bad for bikers all over the world in today's age of globalisation. He wants Japanese bikers to organise themselves and join the global movement of riders in Europe, the USA, Canada, Australia and Philippines. He is taking a long holiday from his job as General Secretary of the European riders' rights organisation FEMA.
His second aim is to raise US$100,000 for the charities Doctors Without Borders and Riders for Health. He has so far raised US$19,000. He invites donations from Japanese companies and riders. The Japanese Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA) European office already donated $2000 at the start in November 1999.
The British-assembled motorcycle, the John T Overlander, is made from 90% donated parts and equipment, including the front forks off a Honda Dominator. It has a massive 45 litre fuel tank giving him a range of 1000km and a special satellite tracking system.
Some of Milward's most memorable experiences include a marriage proposal at the pyramids in Cairo, meeting the Dalai Lama in north India, escaping marauding militants in Timor, and riding into a civil war in Laos. He has had several potentially serious accidents in Saudi Arabia, Nepal and in the Australian Outback.
Milward invites interested motorcyclists to contact him on . "Come on Japanese motorcyclists, we need you with us, there are important issues at stake." He arrives in Japan on Monday with Japan Airlines who sponsored his flight from Manila. He leaves for Russia on 21 May.
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