My 3,000 mile road trip for India, Ian Thomas, National Project Development Officer
Ian Thomas, National Project Development Officer, is embarking on a sponsored road trip in July, riding his motorbike from the UK to Italy to raise money for our India campaign.
Why am I doing this?
I have always loved traveling and experiencing different cultures and meeting people along the way. I am a confident traveller, with experiences of places such as Israel, South East Asia and Australia and many other countries. It is fair to say I have the travel bug!
But to travel through foreign lands with the bare minimum, armed with a Suzuki GSF 650, sleeping bag, tent, satnav, map and passport, I am ready to take to the road to explore what is such a beautiful, diverse continent.
Although the trip is partly for the adventure, upon planning my route and thinking what I might need and the long days of riding to make the trip feasible I quickly realised this is going to be very hard on my mind and body, not to mention the organising that goes in to such a trip. It was at this point I decided to capitalise on this opportunity to fundraise and promote awareness for foster care in India, something that has been an interest ever since I met Ian Anand Forber-Pratt at the IFCO event in Japan.
Ian was born in India and raised in the USA by adoptive parents. Ian qualified as a social worker in his adult life and moved back to his original home in India to set up a fostering system and start to change lives for the 25 million children in India without homes or families. So the cause is most worthy, to which I am honoured to be able to help contribute towards.
Where will I go?
I will embark on my 3,000 mile trip by riding from the Midlands to Plymouth and crossing the ferry to Santander on 9 July. I will then ride through Spain, stopping at Pamplona, then riding through the Pyrenees mountains in Andorra, next crossing the border into France to Carcassonne, Nimes, Grenoble to Turin (Italy) then the final run to Florence, where I will meet with some old friends for a couple of days before I ride back through the Alps in Italy, Switzerland, south Germany and Belgium. My return journey is to be planned more precisely, but the outward journey is all booked and planned. I will take rural routes through France and find my way to Italy stopping off and camping along the way. The experience will be breath-taking and not without its challenges I am sure!
Leading up to this trip I have been trying to ride for at least three to five hundred miles most weekends, to try and build up my stamina. I’m learning how many miles I can ride with a full tank of petrol and what style of riding and route is required to achieve the most miles out of a full tank – safely I can say 200 miles is the maximum.
I know that this ride will be tiring physically and mentally to which I must prepare for. Thinking about what to pack is something that requires careful consideration, so far the essentials are puncture repair kit, first aid kit, appropriate clothing to prepare for the sun and altitude where the temperature levels will contrast significantly. A tent, sleeping bag, torch and something to heat food up, and a flask specifically designed to carry two litres of petrol as an emergency fuel resource, not to mention all the usual travel items that are essential for going overseas. There is also the matter of preparing the bike – this consists of new brakes, oil/filter change a good service and MOT.
I have been riding (legally) since September 2016 and less than a year later I am embarking on a 3,000 mile European road trip all by myself. I have chosen to name my bike ‘Liberty’ because it represents my freedom, and of course takes liberties on the road.
I am really excited and nervous all at the same time, I think cutting yourself off from your usual social/home life resources and doing something completely different is greatly character building. I am looking forward to the deep personal reflection I will experience as a result of this…
So please tell a friend, share the Just Giving link on Facebook to raise awareness and where you can please donate what you can afford. All the people donating money can rest assured that every penny will go towards the cause.
I plan to ‘Vlog’ my experiences along the way so please stay tuned in and watch this space!
Finally, thank you for reading and for everyone’s support.