Elspeth Beard First Bike Yamaha
Elspeth Beard Second Bike 1979
Elspeth Beard BMW R60/6 1979
1.Before leaving-photo
3b. 1982 Airport departure 3
4. Day 1 New York State_USA
5. White Sands New Mexico_USA
6. Making aluminium panniers_Oz
7. John Todds Bike
8. Aluminium panniers COMPLETE_Oz
16. South Road_Oz
15. Ayres Rock_OZ
11. Queensland_OZ
12. Northern Territory_OZ
18. Western Australia
19. Western Australia
21. Malay border
21a. Maly 6
21b. Maly 7
22. Thailand border
24. Thailand road signs
23. Northern Thailand
26. Northern Thailand
25. Northern Thailand
24a.Thai  14
28. Loading bike off boat India
27. loading bike off boat_india
36.Kids Agra
39. Rajasthan
3. India morning departure
5. India food stall
4. India crouching by bike Low Res
37. Road to Amber
29. Nepalese border 02-05-1984
30. Border to Kathmandu
35. Leaving Kathmandu
32. Patan - Kathmandu
33.Kirtipur village - Kathmandu valley
34. About to leave Kathmandu
44. Robert mending a puncture - Rajasthan
45. Rajasthan desert village
46. Rajasthan
42.Two bikes & Camel - Rajasthan
7. Ladakh2
41. Rajasthan
40. Rajasthan
47. After hitting cow - Himachal Pradesh
38. Rajasthan
43. Rajasthan
48. Zoja La Pass Road to Leh- Ladakh
53. Road to Leh- Ladakh
55. Around Leh- Ladakh
57. Road back to Srinagar - Ladakh
56. Road back to Srinagar - Ladakh
52. Lamayura gompa Road to Leh- Ladakh
51 .Highest point Road to Leh- Ladakh
50. Road to Leh- Ladakh
58. Road back to Srinagar - Ladakh
49. Road to Leh- Ladakh
59. Road back to Srinagar - Ladakh
54. Market Leh- Ladakh
62.  Pakistan Quetta road sign
61. Pakistan Truck Quetta
60. Taxi driver Quetta Pakistan
10. Pakistan7
11. Puncture Pakistan
65. Baluchistan desert
66. Baluchistan desert
67. Baluchistan desert
64. Baluchistan desert
63. Baluchistan desert
67. Iranian border out of Iran
12. Iran
68. Bike stuck in sand - south coast Turkey
90a.Elspeth Beard Return!
69. Bike Home
70. Bike Home
71. Home Rebuild
73. Home Rebuild
72. Home Rebuild
75. Home Rebuild
74. Home Rebuild
76. Home Rebuild
77. Home Rebuild
78. Home Rebuild

My round the world trip

Elspeth Beard - One of the Early Globetrotters

​I have been described as being one of a select band of bold women to ride a motorcycle around the world, and became the first Englishwoman to do so. I left in October 1982, in the days before sat-nav, internet, email and mobile phones. The bike I chose for the trip was a second hand 1974 BMW R 60/6 flat-twin, for which I paid £900 in 1979 (at the time, the equivalent of about $1800). This was a substantial sum at the time, especially for a machine that already had 30,000 miles on the clock.

I used the bike for my first long solo rides to Scotland and to Ireland, then to mainland Europe and Corsica, racking up over 10,000 miles in the first two years of ownership. At the age of twenty-three, with a broken heart and a lousy degree, I decided to go further afield and try to ride my bike around the world. I managed to save more than £2600 ($6500 in 2017) working behind the bar at my local pub in Marylebone, central London and started to prepare my bike for my round-the-world adventure. Having travelled across the United States the previous year on a 1973 BMW R75/5 with my brother, I decided to start the first stage of my journey in New York. It cost me £175 ($340) to ship my bike and £99 ($197) for my air fare. From the Big Apple I rode up to Canada, then down to Mexico before reaching Los Angeles. From LA I shipped the bike to Sydney, but stopped off to see New Zealand on foot while the bike was in transit.

I arrived in Australia completely broke, so had to spend seven months working in a Sydney architectural practice and living in a garage, gaining experience and replenishing my diminished funds. When I was in Sydney I met John Todd who had recently returned from an overland trip from Europe and he persuaded me that I needed to make some lockable luggage. I spent two months in John's garage constructing my own lockable top-box and panniers out of folded and riveted sheet aluminium. Then I set off travelling again, starting with an exploration of Australia. In Queensland I had my first big accident on a dirt road near Townsville. After hitting a large pothole I cart-wheeled the bike and was left badly concussed, but fortunately with no broken bones. Shaken but undaunted, I spent two weeks in hospital before continuing north up the east coast of Oz, then through the outback to Ayers Rock, and finally across the Nullabor Plain to Perth, on the west coast. From there I loaded my BMW onto a boat to Singapore and explored Indonesia while the bike was afloat.

In Singapore I experienced a disaster of a different kind, when all my valuables were stolen, including my passport with all the visas for the countries I still had to visit, and the registration and shipping documents for my bike. After an enforced six week sojourn in the island state replacing all my lost documents I rode up the Thai-Malaysian peninsular to Bangkok and beyond to Chiang Mai and the Golden Triangle.

With the overland route to India (via Burma/Myanmar) out of bounds I headed back south to load my bike onto a boat from Penang to Madras. On the way I had my second big accident when a dog ran under my wheels from behind a truck. The bike hit a tree and I was once again battered and bruised and ended up spending two weeks recuperating in the care of an impoverished Thai family. After my recovery I rode south to Penang in Malaysia where I caught a boat across to Madras.  

Once in India, I travelled up to Calcutta then on to Kathmandu where my parents had flown out from England to see me for the first time in nearly two years. In Kathmandu I met the first overland motorcycle traveller I had seen since leaving the UK, a Dutchman on another Boxer BMW, an R75/7, with whom I eventually rode back to Europe, after exploring much of India alone.

Getting out of India proved to be a nightmare. The storming of the Sikhs' Golden Temple in Amritsar (close to the border with Pakistan) had recently taken place. In the aftermath, the whole of the Punjab region was sealed off to westerners making it impossible to reach the only open overland route west, via Pakistan. After spending weeks in Delhi trying to obtain the necessary permits and two separate visits to the border we finally managed to cross into Pakistan. 

Having safely crossed Pakistan, we arrived in post-revolution Iran with just seven days to cross the country from one end to the other. This was hindered by the fact that I was so ill with hepatitis that I could barely stand, let alone ride. My battered Bell helmet acted as an unofficial `burkha' which I would keep on most of the time, even when off the bike. We crossed into eastern Turkey where I spent time regaining some strength and repairing my bike. After a few weeks of rest and recuperation we continued on through Greece and across Europe. This was relatively simple, apart from the notoriously dangerous `Highway of Death' across Yugoslavia and the extreme cold in the Alps.

By the time I got back to London I had been away for just over two years and added 35,000 miles to my bike’s odometer. I stripped and completely rebuilt the engine and still ride the bike today, along with my 1998 BMW R80 GS Basic which I now use as my everyday bike.

EB1

Munstead Water Tower, Godalming, Surrey UK   email: eb1@elspethbeard.com

© 2017 Elspeth Beard // All Rights Reserved

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21a. Maly 6