UPDATED April 18, 2011.
This is an update on Ian Coates, the Smiling Wayfarer that I met a year ago. Ian is a 67-year-old from Hebden Bridge, England. He has the adventurous heart of a 27-year-old. He has been traveling around the world since 1999 on a Honda Africa Twin motorcycle.
Since Ian Coates left Canada and the United States last April, he landed in Vladisvostok, Russia and headed west through Lake Baikal, Siberia, Ukraine, Moldavia, Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey. He was just 80 miles from Athens, Greece when I received an email from him on January 17.
Ian has endured his fair share of weather during this leg of his trip. He has ridden through rain, snow, high winds and freezing fog. Of which he says, “I did not mind that.” Until he slid off the road and soon there after was knocked off the road again by a passing wagon on the black ice. The 1991 Honda Africa Twin that he has been riding around the world on for 12 years now has more than 167,000 miles.
Ian would really like to finish his around the world journey on the bike he started on. It sounds like the old Africa Twin is feeling its age much more than Ian is. He says that he feels as fit as a butcher’s dog and actually feels 27 years old. The old bike has had mechanical issues here and there, but nothing that the mechanical abilities of this adventurer can’t handle.
Ian has spent several months riding around Greece and nearby islands. His mechanical skills are being used to help David Gittings restore several classic British bikes including: Royal Enfield, Arial, Norton, BSA and Sunbeam.
On April 4, 2011, the wheels of the Honda Africa Twin began the final leg of this incredible journey. Ian is heading home to Hebdon Bridge, Yorkshire, England. His route will take him through dozens of countries. To provide a general idea of his path, some countries along the way include: Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, France and Belgium. He is now in the beautiful city on the lake of Orhid, Macedonia. The Smiling Wayfarer crossed several snow-covered mountain passes. The rear tire of his motorcycle has seen many miles despite being fairly fresh to the bike. The amount of miles that Ian covers wears rubber down quickly. New tires are again on his maintenance list before taking the next leg of his journey.
Ian Coates’ energy is obvious in that he is already organizing his next trip, slated for 2013. He would like to ride a Triumph 800 XC from England to Vladisvostok, then in Japan, and the final leg of the trip will take him from Alaska through Canada and down to Argentina.
His colorful personality and adventurous spirit is sure to grab the attention of TV, newspapers, magazines and more along the way. It is rare that a smile ever leaves the man’s face. This sojourner has many stories and even more friends that he has met along the way.
You can follow Ian Coates on his Facebook page.
Read the original article about Ian Coates posted a year ago on BestScenicRoutes.com.