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So what other options are there? Mostly they fall into three groups.

• There’s places you can get to by bike which involve riding through the cold weather until it warms up.

• There’s putting your bike on a train or ship and getting it to somewhere warmer.

• Then there is the fly-ride where you travel a long way to someone else’s summer and rent or buy a bike when you get there.

The most do-able for many riders may be a trot down to the south of Spain where daytime temperatures through December/February average around 14C. You’re not going to get heatstroke but it’s a lot better than the sub zero misery of recent winters in the UK. Of course with petrol at £6 a gallon you’ll need to budget for around 30 gallons if you can get somewhere near 50mpg, so there’s £300 plus hotels unless you fancy winter camping when most sites will be closed anyway. Unless you’re an iron butt loon you’re going to need a minimum of four hotel stops so there’s another couple of hundred quid and of course you’ve got to double everything to take account of the return journey, so now we are up to a thousand quid at least and we haven’t eaten anything yet.

This may still be viable if you have half the winter or more to consume, certainly if you can work away from home, on line, rent your UK home and have no children or wives to worry about but this is a pretty small club, in fact I’m the only member I know. If you only have a couple of weeks and already eight days are consumed with travelling with no guarantee that the weather will be rideable it’s beginning to sound like maybe a fly ride option is not such a crazy idea. Now if you’re going to go that route why not go a little further and make sure you get good weather? Morocco is only about three hours by plane and you got pop down there and do some off-road desert riding. Then again you could go to the Eastern Mediterranean where temperatures are a little higher. Jordon, Israel and Lebanon are options. So what is available

What about going further a-field. South Africa and Australasia are options. Ignore all those ‘fly to sydney for £600 return ads, they only apply in their winter not ours so unless you are into skiing it may be of little interest. Expect to pay in the order of £1200 for Australia of New Zealand and you won’t be far out. A few years ago the strength of the pound made these former colonies cheap as chips but since some spoil sport noticed our banks were full of monopoly money the exchange rate took a serious dive. Australia isn’t cheap at all and NZ isn’t much different from over here, though there are plenty of backpacker lodges where you can stay for about £15 a night if you don’t mind dormitorys. Double that


Itʼs December or later. Youʼre missing age of high espectations you may be months ahead. Of course there is always but itʼs not what most of us would call

to get your own room and you’ve still got a cheap deal that is less hassle and more comfortable than camping. If you want to ship your own bike out there you’d better be going for the whole winter or it is no way worth it and probably isn’t anyway. The NZ customs make the worst of African border crooks look totally reasonable. A carnet de passage is required which is an utter farce that should have gone out with semaphore. It costs hundreds and will drive you to despair in trying to obtain it. The RAC issue carnets but you still need your bank to guarantee them which makes you wonder what you’re paying the RAC for.

Then there are port dues, an agricultural inspection and a road safety inspection. This little lot will probably set you back around £600 and you need to set aside another £1800 for shipping the bike. James cargo will do it for you and from experience offer a good service.

An option is to buy a bike out there and leave it with people to sell it for you when you leave. Unless you’re being daft and buying a new bike at around £12k you’ll lose a lot less on the sale than you will dealing with shipping and NZ official piracy. It is a wonderful place though.

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