Steph Jeavons: One Steph Beyond – Rally4Life fundraiser and Girl on a Motorcycle World Tour
Dubai, June 15th 2014 – Three months ago, in a little place called the Ace Café in London, sat a young lady about to embark on an adventure. Not just any adventure, this one was an epic adventure, fraught with danger, mystery, expectation and above all, the unknown!
Not content with the usual adventure that sees a person(s) take off for weeks on end, trekking through vast wilderness’ in countries I find hard to pronounce, this young lady would do it solo for the biggest part. Not only that, she would do it all on a motorcycle….You read it right, a motorcycle!
Steph Jeavons grew tired of the humdrum daily routines of life. Her 20 year old son was now big enough and able enough to look after himself and cook his own beans on toast whilst his Mum took off on her dream motorcycle adventure. She decided that now was the time to act on her dreams and go for it. Her business, Red Moto Adventures, a successful motorcycle adventure business she ran with her partner, which was located in the valleys of Wales, her home for the last umpteen years since returning as a 5 year old from Canada where her parents had lived for over ten years (even that was an adventure as the trip back was on her grandfather’s cargo ship) was doing well, and obviously fueled her dreams for a solo ride around the world….
To take in over 40 countries in six or possibly seven continents. A trip that would take approximately 18 months, covering around 40,000 miles and, all on a Honda CRF250 L four stroke enduro bike. A bike built solely for this type of trip…Oh, did I forget to mention, a trip that, if all goes to plan, would see Steph arrive in Antarctica with ‘Rhonda the Honda’ (Steph’s pet name for the bike) and the first woman to do so. Okay so not your everyday adventure holiday then and moreover, with a budget of ten quid a day for accommodation and five quid a day for food, the word ‘budget’ would be more than appropriate when used in context with this trip!
Sitting astride Rhonda with all her worldly possessions packed into a metal top box, a couple of soft bags and very little else, she set off on the first leg. With the GPS aimed at France, she dropped the clutch and was now about to live her dream. The route through Europe was relatively simple; Belgium would be the next port of call as she had heard that Belgium beer and pizza went well together and had to try it. Germany was next on the ‘to do’ list and also saw her first small accident. Dropping the bike and damaging the throttle, she had to have a first repair done, this was carried out by the local Yamaha dealer and, all free of charge, bikers one and all stick together.
Moving on, she had a rendezvous in the Czech Republic next with a Liverpudlian physics teacher called Steve who, along with his girlfriend would supply Steph & Rhonda with a warm place to stay, a comfy bed and a very welcome hot bath complete with a glass of red wine! After a trip around Prague sightseeing, Steph then had a special treat of a birthday dinner on a boat. A great way to end her short time in such a beautiful country with such friendly people.
Moving along nicely, Steph would next hit Poland and meet up with a lady who shared the same bike and horse interests, she also liked good food and beer (I see a pattern emerging here). Ulka would make sure that the short time Steph had in Poland, would be enjoyable and, after arranging a sight seeing trip, it was time to head over into Slovakia to meet up with Marek, the Vespa riding host for this leg of the adventure. Staying way up in the hills at a hostel, Marek would make sure that she also enjoyed the best views his country had to offer along with the best hospitality, you guessed it, good food and beer!
With Hungary and Romania next up on the GPS, things were so far, going very smoothly and all in a little over one week. Those 1800 miles had gone quickly and without too many issues. Steph would press on whilst the going was good and soon found herself heading into Serbia to meet up with a scooter riding Canadian called Sean. He too had done a similar adventure ride on his scooter which took him around 2 years, something they had in common and you guessed it, they swapped stories over food and beer…
Turkey would be next on the tour list and one which would prove to be an interesting leg of the journey so far. Apart from stunning coastal roads and scenery, Steph had her first encounter with an overly affectionate campsite owner. After being put firmly in his place, he thought better of his affections and took them elsewhere (this is one tough chick when she needs to be)…She also saw the worst possible traffic at the worst possible time, rush hour in Istanbul on a Friday afternoon. Not known as caring sharing road users, Steph had to have eyes in the back of her head to negotiate her way through the place and back to the safety of her hotel. During the month she was in Turkey, Steph managed to get an infection in her eyes which needed hospital treatment to sort it but, they did and all ended well as she moved onto what could be her biggest challenge to date, Iran.
The next couple of weeks would see Steph make her way through Iran, not only on her trusty Honda but, on horseback and even on a camel which was used as a taxi ride home one afternoon…On the plus side, she did bump into her Dad Peter who was out in Iran as a backup driver for another tour, talk about good timing and fate!
The only downer on this trip was finding out that as she was departing on morning from the relative comfort of a bed, her tent and compressor had been nicked from the front of the carrier on the bike…Such is life, someone else’s need was obviously greater than hers!
Steph also became a dab hand at the 5 second Hijab rule. Meaning, when she stopped and took off her helmet, she would give herself 5 seconds to get her head covered again before falling foul of the law. That said, she did, on 5 occasions, get let off by the police and waved on her way when they saw it was a lady riding the bike…Who says it doesn’t pay to be a lady eh?
So, what does a young lady riding around the world do when she is not able to find herself a decent place to lie up for the night. Being an avid reader, she has her Kindle with her and a number of good books on there to read.
That, along with listening to her collection of music which, as you would imagine from a ‘biker chick’ is mostly rock, not that you’re surprised to hear that of course.
She also spends quite a bit of time writing up her blog ready for when she has internet connectivity, and when she does, she can usually be found on Facebook too, updating family & friends on the latest news from her global travels…
Now, Dubai is a big draw for many people around the world and Steph was no different. She had been in contact with Martin Ashfield (also a good mate of yours truly) who had attended one of her motorcycle enduro riding courses in Wales a couple of years earlier.
Martin would be the knight in shining armor as he met her off of the ferry from Iran. Having traveled in the same clothes for over 24 hours, had little sleep and smelled like a sumo wrestlers Mawashi (she did admit to being smelly)… Martin said nothing!
Her bike was taken into Martin’s workshop where it was given a full fettle/service and a full health check. Meanwhile, after a full breakfast, a hot soapy bath and a good sleep, Steph was feeling more like a lady again. She was also dropped at the local hairdressers salon where her locks would be given a once over too.
We had arranged to meet at the popular Bikers Café in Dubai, a bikers themed café where even our great ruler Sheikh Mohammed frequents. Prior to hitting the café, I popped around to meet Steph and grab a few pics for her travel blog and also to help me with this story, it was also a great chance to meet up and relax whilst finding out what makes this adventure girl tick…
With that done, we head off to the café with the bike for photo opportunities and for others to meet up with her and discuss her trip so far. The evening went well and by the end of the night, suitably refreshed and with Steph armed with a few free Bikers Café T-shirts, we headed off. One of our buddies and local graphics specialists, Paul Tomlinson of 2Can Design decided that he would help with the fund raising by designing a new logo and T-shirt design. The design came out awesome and you can now purchase said t-shirts whereupon the proceeds will not only fund the next part of the trip, and hopefully the Antarctica leg, but the charity – RALLY4LIFE would also benefit alongside. So dig deep and do your bit to help Steph achieve and others receive…
Now with the planning taking place for the shipping of Rhonda to India, the next stage of the trip. Steph has had a while to look around our great City and take in all the sights for which Dubai is famed for, as well as getting used to the heat! She has loved her time here but all too soon she has to move on to keep the dream alive of reaching Antarctica within the weather window where she hopes to board a special yacht designed for travelling such potentially treacherous waters. Should that window of time not be met, the trip is off as the waters then become too unpredictable and dangerous!
If you would like to keep in touch with this amazing solo adventure then you can do so by following the links below. You can also join Steph on Facebook and on her blog, she is always grateful of help and support in any shape or form. Have you got a spare room for a night or two, the odd meal or just want to meet her and show her the sights of your country, then please get in touch and let her know.
Purchasing a t-shirt will also help the cause and keep her going. Show her your support and she will be more than happy to sit and chat to you about her trip, the good, the bad and the downright ugly. It’s been fascinating so far but I am sure, as she heads off for the next stage, it’s going to get a whole lot more interesting….
Follow Steph’s Blog here
Help support her charity fundraising RALLY4LIFE here
Follow her on Twitter here
Follow her on Facebook
Northern Ferret AKA Darren Rycroft