National Newspaper, United Arab Emirates
March 7 2000
Ride to raise funds for charity
by Staff Reporter
The circumnavigation of the world by motorcycle to raise funds for charity is the lifetime dream of Simon Milward, a assionate biker who has taken those first courageous steps to making that dream a reality.
In Dubai for the next 10 days, Milward, who started off from the UK, hopes to raise at least $10,000 from corporate and individual sponsors in the UAE before moving on to Iran.
Milwards Millennium Motorcycle Ride, as it is called, began on 1 January 2000. It is expected to take him 24 months to accomplish what he set out to do.
The money raised by this ride will go to Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and Riders for Health (RfH), an obscure organisatiopn that offers training and technical education to people in Africa who use bikes to deliver vital medical supplies to 'outreach' areas thereby improving the delivery system.
"I had an accident in Belgium and I was laid up in hospital when I started to think 'I';ve been here before, so what do I do now', I decided to go round the world, which was a dream of mine ever since I startyed riding.
That was 18 months before actual departure," Milward said.
Milward is the Secretary General of the Federation of European Motorcyclists Associations (FEMA), an organisation based in Brussels.
He is currently on a 21 month sabbatical in which he hopes to make his dream come true.
"I decided to exchange the corridors of power for the freedom of the open road," Milward adds.
Even the most determined, however, face obstacles and when Milward was refused a visa to enter Libya, he just took a different route, even though it cost him time.
Starting from Britain, Milward has gone through Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Tunisia, then back to Italy, into Greece, Turkey, down to Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and now he is in the UAE.
Among Milward's main sponsors are Harley Davidson and Honda. Milward's motorcycle, however, is hand-made to order by friend and motorcycle maker Jogn Terlikowski, better known as John T.
Milward was only 16 years old when he went to live with John T and his family following some family troubles. His passion for motorcycles began then and has not diminished since.
This is the first time that such a journey has been attemtped on a hand-made bike. In fact 95% of the bike is donated by the different parts suppliers, "I only paid for the Rotax engine, which I got for half price for 1,000 pounds sterling," Milward said.
The bike's fuel tank is designed to hold 45 litres of petrol and is the biggest designed for a bike. The wheels are extra strong, the seat can be adjusted for different types of terrain and a tracking system and antenna keeps tracks of the bike's position by satellite. The bike is also fitted with an automatic chain lubrication system, special racing batteries and two 49 litre capacity motorcycle boxes on either side of the bike which hold spare parts and food.
"In 184 I went round the States with my brother on motorcycle and I have been around Europe, but this is the first time I attempt something this big," Milward said, adding that his expereince in the Middle East so far has ben a good one.
He particularly noted the generosity of ordinary people, who have helped him along his long journey. Among them is a supermarket owner in Saudi Arabia who allowed Milweard to fill up on food for free.
"Although I carry a palmtop computer I switched off my mobile so I cannot send email, but I keep in touch through the various internet cafes along the way. Cafe Internet in Dubai has been most kind to alow me to use their service for free," Milward said.
Sleeping in the open, under the stars or in youth hostels, Milward tries his best to keep costs low. Donations for this worthwhile endeavour can be deposited at the Harley Davidson dealership along Shaikh Zayed Road or the Honda dealership in Deira.
Donors will get a millennium ride badge and regular email updates of Milward's progress via Internet, in addition the satellite tracking system will allow people to monitor the daring biker's progress through each country he crosses on the millennium ride's website.