From left: Hussain Ashkanani, Muhanad Al-Sultan and Ali Albairami in Siliguri. Picture by Kundan Yolmo
Siliguri, June 15: Three Kuwaitis. Three 1200cc BMW motorcycles. Four continents. Seventeen countries. And 120 days.
This in nutshell sums up the expedition launched by three motorcycle enthusiasts from West Asia determined to prove that people of the world are tied to each other through common interests.
Muhanad Al-Sultan, Hussain Ashkanani and Ali Albairami, all engineers in oil companies, had started their journey from Kuwait on May 15.
“We plan to visit 17 countries and cover 30,000 km on our motorcycles. We visited four countries while on way to India from Kuwait. Our next stop is Nepal from where we would enter China,” said Muhanad at a hotel on the outskirts of Siliguri before heading for the Himalayan country on Saturday.
“There are several instances, like the recent economic meltdown which started in one country but affected the entire world, that indicate how closely tied we are to each other and dependant too. It is important that we strengthen the global bond through informal activities like our motorcycle adventure,” he added.
Recounting their earlier trips, Hussain said: “We had been travelling since 1977 when we used to ride Kawasaki bikes. Trips of 30 and 40-day duration, covering the entire Europe and Australia, had proved to be a treasure trove of memories. In most places, we had been warmly received.”
This time the trip—Our Shared Planet Motorcycle Adventure organised in association with the Public Authority for Youth and Sport of Kuwait — is expected to be the longest, a 120-day sojourn which is likely to end by mid-September.
The bikers plan to visit China, Tibet and then fly into Alaska followed by Canada, New York UK, Italy, Tunisia, Libya— to name only a few— and rounding off with Egypt before returning to Kuwait.
The BMW 1200 GS Adventure had adequately been improvised for the global ride.
“We have fitted telecommunication devices to maintain contact between the three of us and have installed some protective gears on the handles and other parts,” he said. “The GPS navigation system on the handles with embedded switches will give us a clear idea of our locations.”
Every day, he said, they had been driving for four to seven hours, in phases. “Depending on the road conditions, we fix our destination and breaks. Also, we need to check the tyres and overall the motorcycles at regular intervals,” Albairami said.
The bikes have a mileage of 19km per litre and are priced between $23,000 and $25,000. “The fuel tank is big and the suspension and torque are fit to meet the rugged terrain. In many places, we have to ride on bad roads, where the bikes’ advanced configurations help us.”
The presence of the Kuwaitis in Siliguri prompted many local enthusiasts, particularly members of Xkmph.com, an online community of bikers, to meet them. “We were impressed,” said Santanu Banerjee, who has been running the community that has recently launched offline activities like bikers’ tours.