Two motorcycles filled with supplies and the bare necessities, and two riders prepared for anything, with nothing but the world ahead of them. Coburn and Erin Black, Langley residents and outdoor enthusiasts are leaving Saturday on an adventure they have been planning for more than a year.
The difference between their trip and any other vacation? When they leave, they don’t plan on returning for at least 15 months, as they finish travelling half the globe. This will be the first leg of what promises to be a trip that will take them across the globe in the name of raising awareness about world hunger.
“Anybody who rides a motorcycle, that’s their dream,” they say.
They plan to take off on their twin 2007 BMW F650 GS Dakar motorcycles and see the world from a completely new perspective. They began planning for their trip last January, after Coburn, 25, met motorcycle traveller and fellow enthusiast Rene Cormier at a motorcycle show in Abbotsford. After hearing Cormier’s four-year travel story, he was inspired by the idea.
Coburn decided that it was something he wanted to do as well.
“He shows you that anybody can do this,” he said. “You don’t need to have some grand money backing, you just make a plan and go for it.”
He told his wife, Erin, 28, of his plan, and asked her to join him. After Erin agreed to go along, the plan began to take shape, the couple quickly got into the research phase which put them into contact with Chris Sorbi, founder of the Transcontinental Humanitarian Group (THG), who spends his time riding the world on his motorcycle in the name of world hunger.
Once Erin decided to learn to ride on her own, the plan developed more, made easier by two bikes on the road. Now that she has her licence, she is ready to take on the adventure alongside her husband.
“It (a motorcycle) allows you to get to more places and experience more,” said Erin. “You’re out in the elements completely.”
A personal travel plan quickly became a global adventure to raise awareness about world hunger and an opportunity to work with Sorbi and the THG. Along the way they will stop to volunteer at orphanages and offer aid where they can.
“There are so many places that are affected by this (hunger) too, so it’s not that we’re just going to one place and then putting all of our energy into that, there are a lot of places that need this.” said Erin.
The couple have leased their house, given their dogs good,safe homes and have attracted the interest of a few community sponsors, who have helped them get their bikes ready.
Sorbi is working with the pair to plan their route and determine their stops along the way.
The trip will ultimately depend on money.
“Right now we have the money to do North, Central and South America for sure, but I mean its definitely going to go and see the world (sic),” Coburn said.
They estimate that the first leg of the trip will take about 15 months and cost about $27,250, with a daily budget of $25 per person, including food, fuel and everything.
On the average day, the Blacks will travel as much as they can and as far as they would like. Their schedule is wide open and free, which is one of the things they look forward to most on the trip. Every morning, they’ll pack up their “homes” and travel for a few hours before they stop for lunch and a brief rest. After this stop they will ride again until they find where they want to park for the night.
They will have everything with them — spare parts for their bikes, food, and clothes, split between the two of them.
Their most important items are the essentials, bikes, riding gear and their camera equipment.
The couple plans to document the whole trip and post it to a website, to share with their friends, family and anyone who wants to tune in.
To follow the Blacks on their journey or to sponsor their work to fight world hunger go to www.ridetheworldtogether.com.
The pair are certain of the trip they are embarking on and are prepared for what’s to come. “You’re never going to be completely prepared for something like this, you’d drive yourself crazy,” Coburn said.
They will also be taking a GPS device with them. “We’re probably going to get lost a couple of times,” said Coburn.
By talking with other global riders and taking a few test rides, the two have an idea of what to expect and what they will need out on the road.
“Getting into the traveller’s mindset, you have to cut out all the things you think you need, just get the basics and go,” they said.
What can’t they leave without? Coburn will be taking his acoustic guitar along with him, saying that it’s a social tool, people flock to music and it is a good way to bond with people. Family pictures are also an essential item. By taking 10 pictures with them they hope to use them to show to people what Canada is, to help with the language barrier.
For the two of them, the worst thing that could happen would be a personal injury, but they are prepared for that, with a big first aid kit and the necessary medical insurance. But Coburn worries more about himself getting injured, not wanting to leave Erin alone. “The bike, it’s your lifeline, but at least we would still have each other.”
The problem with what-ifs is that they are endless and could drive the couple crazy. Once friends and family overcame the initial shock of their announcement, they were filled with concern and a stream of what-ifs?
“I know on departure day, the waterworks are going to start,” said Coburn.