Plan the route - Due to political situations, always subject to change. At the moment the most likely is as described in the Route page - the original idea of crossing Chad and Sudan appears more unlkely as political uncertainty increases. The Algerian Sahara option is a more appealing, if less popular one. However current information is that travel is not permitted without a guide which is impractical for a solo motorbike.

Journey time - Difficult to estimate without putting myself under unnecessary pressure, but leaving Kilkenny 2nd December, the first major stop will be the Festival-au-Desert near Timbuktu in Mali January 11th-13th, and I aim to be in Cape Town by 31st March.


Bike familiarisation - Though experienced riding bikes through the years, competent 'bush mechanics' will be the required skill and I need to be able to look after most anticipated problems. Iggy and Dion at Blakestown Motorcycle Tyres have been an indispensable help in this area as have BMW Motorrad.

Riding experience - Of course the terrain will be quite 'varied', a little different from the green fields of Ireland. Four years driving an expedition vehicle over challenging roads in Asia and South America has given me some familiarity with adverse driving conditions. The BMW Off Road Skills course in Wales which I completed the end of June was a good investment, greatly increasing skill levels and confidence - Simon Pavey, the six time Paris Dakar competitor, was an excellent instructor. It exceeded my (high) expectations. (See report in Updates).

Bike preparation - There's a long list of modifications to the bike that had to be done to prepare it for the rough treatment, or rather 'long journey', ahead. Various protective guards to vulnerable parts, fitting pannier frame, adjustments, add ons .... I have been ably assisted by BMW Motorrad as well as Iggy Clarke of Blakestown Tyres, a very enthusiastic supporter, advocating the cause to many of his suppliers, customers and readers of his website (recommended though not for the faint hearted!).

Navigation - Though trained to use map and compass (years ago), I have taken a GPS with me which should help immeasurably (although, as can be seen from the 11th December Update, it is not without problems).

First Aid Course - Three day Order of Malta course successfully completed. My appreciation to the Portlaoise branch.

Website - The idea of this website is to publicise the expedition, engender more interest and support, and ultimately get more exposure and sponsorship for Self Help Development International. Brendan at is hosting the site, my brother, Sean, is maintaining it.

Travel Insurance (to include repatriation)
Carnet de Passage
Driving License (+ international)
Bike Registration Certificate, Carte Grise
International Vaccination Card
All documents scanned and copied
Extra Passport Photos
Letters of Recommendation/Introduction
Credit Cards + ATM Cards

Immunisations and Vaccinations
Not many GP’s geared to give Yellow Fever. Mine were all done by the excellent nurses in the Tropical Medicine Bureau in Dun Laoghaire, Dublin who gave me a 15% discount.

Yellow Fever
Hep A+B (Twinrix)
Polio, Tetanus, Diptheria (Revaxis)

1st Aid + Medical kit
Dressings, plasters, bandages
Disposable syringes