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Old 11-17-2011, 02:47 AM   #76
Chris S OP
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Working for the Man

Back in London, a mate spots me in Camden High Street posing in my slick new 'Deadline Couriers' jacket and eating a Nutty Bar.

'Sahara? Yea, I was there. You can shove it were the sun don't shine!'


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Old 11-17-2011, 02:49 AM   #77
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Sahara - XT 500 - 1982 - Map

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Old 11-17-2011, 04:37 AM   #78
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End of Story

The XT? - that had always been a lemon and was now a dead horse, so the best thing to do was spray it black and flog it.

Mad Max was still all the rage you see, and all-black, sawn-off bikes were cool, especially in a fetching, satin finish.
A drunk guy came round one night and took it away for £500. I in turn bought a cheap 200cc Honda Benly twin, forgot about the Sahara and got back to couriering. Little did I know that the innocuous, purring Benly would mutate into the diabolical Bénélé and take me back to the desert in 18 months.

For more desert biking photos in the 1980s check out the blog.

Thanks for reading. It would be great to read or get pointed to your AdvRetroRider reports from the 70s and 80s.

Chris S
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Old 11-17-2011, 06:57 AM   #79
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Great read and photos

This had to be someone like Chris Scott of course! I have one of your books on the shelf here although to my dismay I have not used it in anger .

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Old 11-17-2011, 08:05 AM   #80
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Thanks!

Thank you so much for sharing!

I find it amusing that this was "just" the 80's... it has a much older feel than just 30 years ago!
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Old 11-17-2011, 09:04 AM   #81
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I find it amusing that this was "just" the 80's... it has a much older feel than just 30 years ago!
I was just thinking the same thing, Merf. It was only the 80s, hardly retro - but feels like the another era.
Crap photos help, but I wonder why that is. Something to do with how we romanticise nostalgia, I suspect.
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Old 11-17-2011, 10:21 AM   #82
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Holey Moley! Ive injured my self plenty bad enough just racing a 76TT500 back in the day,cant imagine what a totally loaded version of one could do to me now. Great Report of what it was like before a GPS became the norm,and bikes are more or less made to do this sort of thing.

(I had no idea Dunlop K-70's were dual purpose tires)
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Old 11-17-2011, 11:00 AM   #83
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Great report chris, made me smile.
Yea ,1982 was a different era and of course they,re always "the good old days", which from memory, i,m sure they really weren,t.....
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Old 11-17-2011, 11:51 AM   #84
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Great little story for a cold November day. Thanks for the trip. Loved the old 500 singles. Had a '80 SR500 and enjoyed blasting around on it,
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Old 11-17-2011, 01:04 PM   #85
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Chris, Brilliant! Thanks for that
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Old 11-17-2011, 05:10 PM   #86
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Vespa

That was a great story. To keep my tale real I rode the SR500 out of Tamanrasset and totally lost my bottle. The piste was completely confusing to me. Car tracks spread hundreds of yards across the desert in all directions and I couldnt figure out for the life of me which way to go. I lost the stupid piles of rock, couldn't see the posts and my SR500 was doing about 20 miles to the gallon (there was no fuel at In Guezzam when I was there so you might have had additonal problems. Just artesian water which was horrible to drink). I turned back. I found a convoy of German engineers going to Agadez and they agreed to put my Yamaha SR500 in the back of a truck and I rode the desert crossing in the cab with a crazy ex-Afrika Korps man driving the truck and hating the British every mile of the way. Thanks mate. It took the trucks several days (I forget how many) to get to Niger. They were contantly sinking into sand and we were constantly digging them out with sand boards and shovels while the rabid Germans yelled contradictory orders at everybody. I felt like a priosner of war in a cheesy 1950s Desert rats movie. The nights camping in the desert wastes were amazing as we ate well, drank better and had huge camp fires every night. I rode on from Agadez and later met three Italians in a UAZ Jeep who were much more my style. My mum was Italian so I speak the lingo and we had a lot of laughs struggling south to the Niger River on dreadful sand pit roads at which point they went west and I went to Kano Nigeria. I look back now amazed that I slept rough across Northern Nigeria where Muslims are killing non Muslims every day now.
In 1979 I lucked out as the road to Tamanrasset was paved that year. I heard it washed out the next year. I remember studying the Michelin map like a madman reading tea leaves trying to figure out where the paved roads were. I rode an SR500 because the XT was too tall for me to ride comfortably and I never did trust off road rubber on paved roads. The SR did quite well in the dirt and as bad as anything in soft sand. I got to Yaounde in Cameroon, got jaundice and flew home with some French peace corps guys boxing my bike and shipping it for me with the last of my money. It was a hell of a trip.
I then rode across the US in 1981 and used a Vespa P200 for that trip, rather wishing in retrospect I had ridden one on the Africa epic. Roberto Patrignani was a big advocate in Italy of Vespas as long distance tourers and he was right. You asked for a thread referring to a trip from the 1980's and here is mine from a trip where I still have the pictures.
Thanks for your story. It made my day and with that I end this excessively long reply.


http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=251907
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Old 11-17-2011, 05:14 PM   #87
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Doesn't get much better!!!!
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Old 11-17-2011, 06:25 PM   #88
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Being young this is the only way I can get a taste of the way things once were. Thanks!
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Old 11-18-2011, 06:09 AM   #89
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Thanks for the report
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Old 11-18-2011, 06:41 AM   #90
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Hey Chris...thanks for this. Very cool pics and story. I think you need to stick this in Old school.
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