The Ride

Rupert and Fanny rode KTM 990 Adventure motorcycles from Rupert’s home in Arniston on the southern tip of Africa to Fanny’s home in Shanghai on the eastern coast of China, a journey of over 60,000 kilometers that took them through the bush, deserts, Savannah, and jungles of Africa to Alexandria in the north of Egypt.

They crossed the Mediterranean Sea to Turkey and rode through Greece, Italy, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, France, Spain, back through France and across the Channel to England, Scotland and Wales.

They then rode over 18,000 kilometers on CF Moto TR 650 motorcycles across China, including Tibet where they rode through the Himalayas and across the Tibet/Qinghai Plateau at altitudes of over 5000 meters.

Rupert & Fanny have also ridden across South East Asia, including Thailand, Malaysia, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Sri Lanka. Rupert Also rode the Honda CRF 1000 L Africa Twin in Wales and across the Colorado and Utah BDR in USA.

Enjoy our motorcycle adventures and if you feel altruistically inclined, please support our efforts to raise funds for :

Fanny in full flight, Namib Desert, Namibia



Sani Pass from South Africa to Lesotho


Rupert…Valley of the Gods, Utah


Rupert & Nick in Wales with Yamaha


Utah, USA


Fanny and her KTM having crossed Africa, Middle East and Europe.


Galle, Sri Lanka


Nubian Desert, Sudan



Rhone Valley, Switzerland


Sinai Desert, riding to St Catherines Monastery, Egypt


Sunset above the Nile in Aswan, Egypt

In Egypt, Fanny is a popular name ...

Fanny at the Pyramids, Giza, Cairo, Egypt



Ferry from Turkey to Greece


En route to Lhasa, Tibet, China



Camping in Arniston, South Africa

Fanny on her off road bike course, South Africa … bikes all shiny new.


Loire, France


Wadi Rum, Jordan…. a desert dog keeping up with me


Pyramids, Giza, Egypt

Victoria Falls, Zambia side

On way to my aunt, Joan’s house in Cotignac, Provence, France

Bavaria, Germany

Fanny and Rupert with Winfried in Bavaria

Fanny and Rupert with Winfried in Bavaria


Olympus, Turkey

Zambezi River, Botswana Side


Fanny taking a picture of me going snorkeling in Dahab, Sinai, Egypt….standard biking kit of wolly hat and flip flops…

Ngoragora Crater, Tanzania… near Serengeti.

On the road out of Ethiopia towards border with North Sudan

Merow Pyramids, Sudan

Riding in South Luangwa National Park, Zambia


Coffee stop at “Strawbucks”, in middle of Nubian Desert, Sudan



St Catherine’s Monastery, Sinai, Egypt. Mount Moses behind…. Andrew Durant in foreground.


Maun, Okavango Delta, Botswana


Camping at Mountain Lodge, near Nanyuki on the Equator in Kenya (foothills of Mt Kenya).

The moon-like road to Moyale in north Kenya.


Merow Pyramids, Sudan

8-20-2007 (1358)

South Luangwa trails, Zambia…. inside the game park

8-20-2007 (1257)

Long shadows in Namib Desert


A Roman arch in France.


High up in Alps (Italy/Switzerland)


Pyrenees, Spain


Masai Mara, Kenya…. zebras and wildebeest in the background….


Near Gonder, Ethiopia…. beautiful campsite, but lots of fleas and ticks.



Shores of Lake Nyasa in Malawi



Riding in Chongqing province…. beautiful


Bring your own customs official…. Wadi Halfa at border between Sudan and Egypt



One of many 5,000 meter passes we rode over in Tibet, China



Karoo/Cederberg …. South Africa



The dreaded sand…. although not so dreadful when you get used to it…Cederberg, South Africa


Chamonix, France.



Camping with lamas in Tibet

Fanny at the Ben Hur chariot stadium in Rome, Italy

Guangxi, China


Chongqing, China


Guangxi, China


Sinai, Egypt…. bit of off roading in sand.


Diving at Blue Hole, Canyons, near Dahab, Red Sea, Egypt. Bike parked up with their Egyptian cousins.

Can you tell me how to get to Li cestor Square, Sir?


Camping at Ras Mohammed, very southern tip of Sinai peninsular

Ras Mohammed.

Saying goodbye to our new and hospitable friends in Tibet


Bedouin tea break in the Sinai.


Fanny , you have a very dirty face…. (north Kenya)


Typical construction site … otherwise known as China


Taking lama up to his temple in the mountains in Tibet so he can charge his cellphone….!!


Yak, yak, yak.


High up on Tibet/Qinghai plateau, China



Rupert & Fanny. Still smiling after 20 months of riding our motorcycles around the world. (Tibet)

Some video of big bike trip at:

28 thoughts on “The Ride

  1. Dear Rupert & Fanny
    We are enjoying your journey very much.!!
    Ni Hao My name is Michael and my wife is Gao Jing we also share your passion for Adventure riding and have done a family trip with our son on three motorcycles from Canada all the way to Ushuala Ragentina in 2010 and there is another Chinese women Married to a Kiwi who have just rode from Alaska and are on there way to Ushuala.
    Here are our blogs:( Michael Jing and Sean from Canada and China)

    Andi & Ellen from( NewZealand and China) :

    Would be great to meet you on your North America part of your trip.

    Safe Riding
    Freedom Rider and Family

    • Mike, Jing and Sean, thanks for the message. Our next leg is China, the most exciting bit of RWT to me. Have been working hard on sorting out administration as you know how China is. In 2 weeks time, we will enjoy the fruit of all that work.

      Have really enjoyed the ride, places and people we visit in the past 400 days, and proud of being a Chinese female to do so on a challenging bike, where I believe Jing and Ellen may share the same feeling, regardless the hassle of applying visa to every single country on this planet.

      Ellen and me are connected now on Chinese version of twitter called Weibo. Do hope to meet you guys in Canda or China or any anywhere possible.



      • Heya Mike and Jing, Rupert and Fanny,

        I think we need to orgainze a gathering of China nutty Women as we all seemed to have found one, we are currently in Kalispell, Montana waiting for our massive engine failures to be fixed … a little grumpy about it too I might add, Cheers and luv, Andi & Ellen twonuttykiwis 😎

  2. Andi & Ellen
    Sorry to hear you are having so much trouble with your bikes something must be up because our experience was almost trouble free.
    It would be great to get all the woman together I’m sure they would talk all night.
    Well I would push Suzuki alittle harder they need to step up to the plate and solve the problems your having and you have not even been to the most difficult parts of your trip yet.!!!

    Talk to you later
    Freedom Rider and Family
    Michael & Jing

  3. Thanks Michael and Jing,

    Yes, we are not happy but on the bright side, better to sort out these troubles now then down the road.
    Any way, hope tomorrow we will pick up our bikes from Kalispell and carry on our trip. We are in Nakusp, and yesterday meet a couple from Australia using the same setting same bikes as we do, white 2011 and grey 2012, can’t believe it. Hope they have a better run then us.

    Ellen and Andi

    • A good question…. I have British passport and generally applied as I went along… only Ethiopia, and Sudan presented a few issues. Read Chapter Kenya. As for Fanny, she has a Chinese passport and needs a visa for almost everywhere…. mainly I think because the Chinese impose restrictions on not only foreigners in China, but also their own people through the Hui Kou system. Therefore at present it is the most difficult nationality for travel and she had to apply in advance for most countries which created logistical problems of having to know where one will be and when and juggling issue and expiry dates–very tricky for a long RTW Expedition. The bikes needed a carne de passage for most of north Africa. We met many long distant RTW travelers on bicycles, cars and hiking and they used innovative and not always strictly legal methods to keep going. If you have an EU passport should be easier. There are often unexpected costs at borders… e.g. see Zambia and Ethiopia Chapters of blog. Roll on the Federation of Planet Earth.

  4. Hey,im in the market for a 990 for exatly the same type of trip you guys made.Can you tell me much about maintenance on the bike,any big issues come up with them,any major parts failures?thx

    • If I were you I would get a new or nearly new KTM 1190 Adventure R version. Although the 990 A is going to be iconic, the new bike ticks all the boxes, has better range, and you can change traction, and suspension settings at the press of of button which is important. If you really want a 990 then read our “Bikes and Equipment” page on this blog, and also preparations post earlier on in trip where we describe how we got bikes set up. My bike was a new one and needed running in and Fanny’s was a much cheaper 2008 model that actually had no real problems at all because we did a good service and setup was performed before we set out (clutch parts, chain sprocket). Maintenance of bike along the way and fuel going in tank is very important. We met guys along our travels who bought cheap bikes (old BMW 650s for instance), but in the end they spent lots of cash and got seriously delayed in the places you least want to get delayed (which can really mess up carne and visa issues). Good luck and send us your posts and pics…. Oh, and if you haven’t done already .. learn how to ride a big bike on mud and sand…

  5. Looks like my first post didn’t make it. Anyway, hope you got your electrical issues sorted out ok and that you enjoyed your brief stay with us. All the best from the Grapevine Brighton Hostel Team – Kenny

  6. Looks like my first post didn’t make it. Anyways, hope you enjoyed your brief stay with us and that you got your electrical issues sorted. All the best from the Grapevine Hostel Brighton Team – Kenny

  7. Hi guys.

    I am an Aussie and I am planning a round the world starting in February next year in South Africa. I was planning on purchasing my motorcyle in South Africa.

    I would welcome some tips on getting the bike across borders. Who did you use for the carne de passage. How was getting across borders for the rest of the trip outside of Africa.

    Thanks heaps

    • more than happy to help. check out for second hand bikes you like (my KTM 990 Adv ‘R) in there for instance and the motorbike shops. Interetingly the Rand is weak against othet currencies because Zuma like other African leaders are not up to much.

      carnes and equipment and route planning and visas and all that are in the bikes and equipment chapter of this blog.

      Good luck.

  8. Looks like a fantastic adventure, be safe and feel free to contact me if you ever need help in Port Elizabeth

  9. A fantastic and very brave thing to do. Going round the world never knowing what you are going to face. Have fun

  10. Great meeting another ktm enthusiast like yourself on the flight from KL to Singapore yesterday. Inspiring adventures indeed! Buddy of mine in Borneo has a cf moto too.. great bike has lots of components that is shared with lots of branded bikes as well.

  11. Hey guys! My name is Jieming (from HK), and my buddy Nate (from the US) and I are going to do pretty much the reverse of your trip, from Shanghai to South Africa via Europe. Just wanted to thank you guys for setting up this incredibly helpful website to share your experiences, especially the gear. We look forward to beginning our trip this June and seeing some of the sights that you’ve seen!

    Please check out our website too

    Cheers, J

  12. Hi Rupert. What can one say…adventure biking puts one one in contact with nature, it bring out the Adrenalin rush in man. I have been reading your blog now and truly enjoyed it. I recognized many of the places as i did a bike trip through Africa(Pretoria to Istanbul) on a 200cc Bajaj bike in 2010. I only now recognize you on the blog as i saw you with your KTM on Long Way Down.

    You must still be dreaming of the awesome places you and Fanny saw.

    Would love to bump into you one day.

    Kind Regards

    Andon vd Merwe

    • That is a very sweet message 🙂 you celebrity! On Thu, Apr 7, 2016 at 8:03 AM Rupert & Fannys Big Bike Trip wrote:

      > Andon commented: “Hi Rupert. What can one say…adventure biking puts one > one in contact with nature, it bring out the Adrenalin rush in man. I have > been reading your blog now and truly enjoyed it. I recognized many of the > places as i did a bike trip through Africa(Pretori” >

  13. Hi guys,
    Just wanted to let you know we are staying up to date with your trip. Hope you’re both having the time of your lives! Very jealous.
    Wishing you all the best.
    From all at Honda Adventure Centre, sunny South Wales!!!!

  14. Hi dear. I was reading about your trip here because I am planing a trip by bike ( still a dream yet) from China to South Africa, then Argentina all the way to the end of Argentina Patagonia and then finish it at Chile. I would like to get a Honda Africa Twin but in Japan but I still don’t know if I can bring the motorbike from Japan here to China and then start to ride the byke from Shangdong to Xinjiang and then Pakistan…. . I saw in your articles. You did not really travel from “anywhere” into China with your motorbike. You got some new motorbikes here in China. My straight question… you know if is possible to introduce a USED motorbike from Japan to China?. With the motorbike here I can start the trip, let say in around 3 months. So, bring a used motorbike for 3 months and then leave China. Sorry I bother you with this but I still can not find out this information and maybe you can give me some good tips about it.
    By the way I am from South of Chile but now I live at Rizhao, Shandong

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