National Newspaper, United Arab Emirates
March 8 2000
Around the world on motorcycle
Milward stops over in Dubai; intends to raise money for charities during his epic journey
by Anupa Prathap Mathew
When dreams are not enough, some people set out to live them. Simon Milward is one such individual, circumnavigating the world on a motorcycle. He is in Dubai till March 15 as part of a stopover on the Middle East leg of his Millennium Motorcycle Ride.
One of the founding members of the Federation of European Motorcyclists Associations, based in Brussels, Belgium, Milward has dedicated to himself to working for motorcyclists' interests in Europe since 1992.
The ride is an 18 month long event intended to raise money for two charity organisations, Médecins Sans Frontières and Riders for Health, along with awareness of motorcycling and related issues.
"I'm a bit of a political animal, and have always been campaigning for issues related to motorcycling, such as badly designed fuel tanks for trucks, leading to diesel spillage on roads. This leads to accidents," said Milward.
"I'm on a 21 month sabbatical for my 70 plus country ride round the world.
I felt it was time to do something useful for humanitarian aid before I settle down.
Médecins Sans Frontières was my first choice because it is a truly non-governmental, non-profit organisation that provides prompt aid to people in crisis around the globe. And when medical assistance is not enough to save lives, the charity organisations speak out against the rights abuses and violations of humanitarian law witnessed by them.
The second organisation is Riders for Health, nurtured by the World Health Organisation and Save the Children Fund. African children die because they do not receive crucial vaccinations. It is because of a big problem in transporting medical supplies to 'outreach' areas. But well-trained riders using motorcycles have managed to improve the delivery system by 500% in countries that include South Africa, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Gambia and Ghana."
"I began my journey from Marseilles in France, travelled to Tunisia, but was refused entry in Libya, so travelled back to Italy, Greece, Turkey, and then to Syria, Egypt and Jordan. I then crossed the Red Sea to Saudi Arabia, to reach the UAE. This has been my longest stopover to date. From here, I will travel to Iran, Pakistan and India. Whever possible I intend to try fundraising for the charities.
People in the UAE can go to the Honda showroom in Deira or the Harley Davidson shop on Shiekh Zayed Road, and fill in a registration form. The minimum is 20$, whereby they will receive regular email updates from me on every stage on the trip, along with a limited edition badge. They can choose to donate the amount to either one or both charities. For details about corporate sponsorship, they can call me on (04) 3391909.
My jounrey uptil now has been an eye-opener. The people here are really nice and welcoming. I have had a couple of accidents since I began my journey in December. I had a bad fall in Jeddah, but everybody stopped to help me. I also received a marriage proposal in Cairo, but could not stay long enough to pursue it!
The first two days in Dubai, I was staying at the Youth Hostel. Then a couple, Nikita and Graham, saw me on the road. They had travelled around Africa in a four wheel drive, so when they saw they they offered me accomodation in their villa. Several others have offered me similar assistance.
The funds for fuel were raised before I set out, but for the rest I am using up my life savings. All the money raised on the journey will go to the charities. The bike itself is hand-built by John T of Newton Motorcycles in Devon UK. He builds special vehicles sometimes for disable bikers. My motorbike has a Rotax 600cc air-cooled single cylinder engine, with an automatic chain lubrication system. The fuel tank has a 45 litre capacity, just enough for me to cross a 1,100km stretch of the Sahara.
There is also an antenna attached to the bike, by which a satellite tracks my position."