Trail bike epic trekker

7 June 2012
 by 
, CarsGuide
Trail bike epic trekker
Murdoch is riding a 13-year-old Suzuki 350cc single-cylinder bike with no support crew.

For the past two years Brisbane adventurer Danielle Murdoch has been through hell on her little trail bike. She's endured house arrest in Pakistan, been forced to dress like a Kurdish doll in Iran, had an underpants search on the Syria-Jordan border and had rocks thrown at her by Ethiopian children.

But the plucky 31-year-old is not giving up on her plan to travel 70,000km through 44 countries and become the first woman to ride solo and unassisted across Asia and Africa.

On Friday night, Murdoch will share her experiences with other world adventure hopefuls when she Skypes from Nairobi to the Dayboro showgrounds for the annual Horizons Unlimited Overland Travellers meeting.

"I spent a lot of my spare time reading about other people's amazing life stories and adventures and wanted to forge my own story and make my own adventure," she said.

"Coming up with the idea to combine travelling alone as a single woman and motorcycles wasn't easy. Not knowing how to even ride a bike scared me, but as soon as I told someone, that made the idea even stronger."

Since leaving Brisbane 21 months ago, Murdoch has been to East Timor, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, North Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and back into Kenya to repair her bike's crankshaft.

"I had to get towed 730km from Tanga in Tanzania to Nairobi with 10 per cent of that off road," the diminutive former office worker said.

While actors Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman rode the latest expensive BMW motorcycles on their well-documented "Long Way Round/Down" adventures, Murdoch is riding a 13-year-old Suzuki 350cc single-cylinder bike with no support crew.

"Harden up, that's just a holiday," she said of the actors' rides.

Murdoch's adventurous spirit began in 2006 when she hired a motorbike in Laos and rode into the mountains only to be escorted out by machinegun-toting soldiers. She followed that with a 27,000km ride from Thailand to Moscow in 2008 and in 2009 she rode 3500km through South America where she was inspired by competitors in the gruelling Dakar Rally.

"I'm not mad," she said.

Her Suzuki had its first breakdown in Quetta, "the most dangerous city in Pakistan".

"Under police guard and dressed like a local woman, I was placed under house arrest for 22 hours a day for my own safety for five days while my bike was consistently worked on," she said.

"I could feel and hear bombs exploding all around the city."

Murdoch had more police protection in Iran and believed she was drugged by "a kind caring local guy" before being taken in by a family in Sanandaj.

"One night, while visiting their extended family, I was dressed up like a doll in traditional Kurdish dresses and made to prance around their house in high heels," she said.

Crossing into Jordan from Syria, she had to hide her laptop down the back of her jacket and her camera in a sock.

"Four hours later and after a close inspection of my underpants, I managed to get through without them finding them but under yet another police escort," she said.

Children and cows gave her troubles in Ethiopia.

"When the first stone was released from the hand of a small child and cracked against my sunglasses, my eyebrows lowered," she said. "Then cows started magically leaping off cliffs and landing right in the front of my bike.

"Every time I stopped in a village I was overwhelmed by the whole village surrounding me and my bike all trying to open every bag. I would appoint a local to take care of my bike who would take a big stick and whack anyone who would attempt to come close."

Despite all the problems with her bike, children, cows, police and border crossings, Murdoch insists she will finish her adventure and might even continue on to North and South America.

 

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