RTW 25 Years in the Making by Ray Urlich

Welcome to Thoughts from the Road. Here’s Ray Urlich on preparing for a round the world trip…  

Ray Ulrich
Picture of By Ray Urlich

By Ray Urlich

New Zealander preparing for a RTW trip

From New Zealand, Ray Urlich plans on riding from Auckland to Cork, Ireland.

Follow Ray’s round the world adventure on his website: 2wheels2everywhere.com

RTW: 25 Years in the Making

In 1996 my head blew apart after reading Jim Roger’s “Investment Biker”.

I knew then that wild and far was how I wanted to ride as opposed to 300km down a pit straight (I did, however, become a MotoGP fan about 20 years later though).

I lapped up Charley and Ewan’s adventures, read Chris Scott’s book (bible) back to back and even covered a lot of Australia and New Zealand on my trusty Hondas. Still, it was all very civilised riding on tarmac and never longer than a few weeks at a time.

Eventually, three things amalgamated to light a fire under my arse: I turned 50, Covid kicked off and I discovered Noraly Schoenmaker’s “Itchy Boots”. It wasn’t just the fantastic quality of Noraly’s YouTube channel, but her “how-to” motorcycle filming course on her website really lit a fire.

It was now or never. Being a Honda man I went straight out and test rode an Africa Twin. Whoa! I felt 10 feet tall, but not in a good way. The upright position and buffeting around my (sports) helmet was unnerving to say the least. Add in the fact that I could only tippy-toe on a 230+ kg motorcycle and that was the end of my “monster-bike” riding days… or day.

Undeterred, I dropped Luke Phillips a line. He’s the legend who’s done over 200,000km on a Rally Raid improved Honda CB500X. He gave me some tips and I promptly went out and tested a couple of bikes.

I could flat foot on both sides! But only after purchasing a 2018 model, it dawned on me that this wasn’t the right bike for me. I was used to large torquey cruisers and v-twin sportsbikes and the CB just didn’t gel so it became my X.

I test rode few more bikes and settled on a 2019 Suzuki “Thumper” DR650. My head told me the Yamaha T7 is a better bike, but my intuition and the feel and weight of the DR connected with me. I’ve nicknamed her “Draga”, which in my father’s native Croatian means “Sweetheart”.

My ride is from Auckland, New Zealand (well, you can’t get far from there so technically Newcastle, Australia) to Cork, Ireland. I set myself a relatively leisurely time period of 18 months, mainly because I want to really “experience” the places I visit and also try and “avoid” a northern hemisphere winter a best I can.

I’ll be the first to admit that organising a ride like this is completely overwhelming and there are often times when I think I can’t do it.

Given that I have no off-road riding experience at all, no filming or editing experience at all, and to give the ride more meaning I’ve decided to aim to raise NZD $10/mile ridden for intellectually disabled people in New Zealand, I’ve really jumped in the deep end…

I’ve got a year to raise a little bit of sponsorship, do some riding courses, sort visas, a Carnet, freight, inoculations and so on. Actually, come to think of it, I had better get some riding gear too!

There’s loads to do, plenty to prepare and even more to worry about, but I’ve waited too long and am going for it whatever it takes. So don’t wait around, light that fire and I’ll see you on the road too…

Ray Urlich

What’s stopping you from taking on a big motorcycle trip and riding round the world? Does all the preparation put you off? Let us know in the comments below. 

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6 thoughts on “RTW 25 Years in the Making by Ray Urlich”

  1. Well done for making the plunge to go out there and do your trip. It sounds like you are doing all of the right preparation. The preparation is fun anyway. Enjoy and we will be following along

    Reply
  2. Hi ,Ray good on you. Apart from the challenge you are taking on going into the unknown your aim of raising funds for the under privileged is an example to the rest of us. Good luck mate , I will be supporting you’

    Reply

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