Coronavirus forced our world into lockdown. Millions flew home, stockpiled on toilet roll and hunkered down to see out the pandemic.

But it’s not that easy for motorcycle travellers. Some managed to ship their bikes out in time, others had to leave them and fly out… and the rest stayed behind. Most are trapped inside closed borders, a few want to leave but can’t, one caught COVID-19 and the rest are just trying to make the best of a tough situation.

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Here are their stories, why they’re still on the road and what their new plans are…

 

Katrina Dubanevich: Argentina

Katrina in Argentina

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From: Belarus
Stuck in: Argentina
Bike: BMW F 650 GS
Trip: August 2018 – May 2020
Miles: 65,000
Follow online: Moto Katrina

I’m the first Belarusian woman to ride a motorcycle solo around the world. I started without knowing how far I’d go or what to expect and have now been on the road for 620 days – it’s been the best decision of my life.

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How I’m affected

Buenos Aires is in strict lockdown and I’m only allowed to the shops and pharmacy. I’m not allowed to ride or even walk outside and am looking for a job online because I’m running out of money.

Why I’m still on the road

There are no commercial flights until September and I can’t ship my bike out. I’ve passed through all the stages of accepting the inevitable now. I was shocked, I cried, shouted, sat in deep depression… and now I just accept the situation. I’d love to go home and stay with my family, but that’s just a dream.

The new plan

My trip has to go on pause until I can finish it properly. I need to find somewhere to leave my bike and hope a friend can ship it for me when the air freight prices calm down. Meanwhile I’m hoping for a repatriation flight.

Geoff Keys: India

From: United Kingdom
Stuck in: India
Bike: CCM GP450 Adventure
Trip: April 2014 – unknown
Miles: 100,000
Follow online: Geoff Keys

I was 62 years old when I left London six years ago. I have a wife and three grown up children. I’m mainly travelling simply because I want to see the world and find out about other peoples’ lives.

How I’m affected

I’m completely locked down in Northern India. I’m fortunate because I met a local rider who found me a quiet hostel and I get breakfast and evening meal for less than 20AUD per day. But I’m not allowed to go outside on my own in case I get arrested because of the strict lockdown.

Why I’m still on the road

I’m glad I’m in India rather than the UK because it’s much safer here. If I went home I wouldn’t be able to see my family anyway because of physical distancing rules.

The new plan

Once the restrictions ease, I’ll head for Mumbai and ship my bike back to the UK because there’s a six-month limit on keeping a foreign vehicle here and I want to tour for a couple of years. I’ll buy a Royal Enfield Himalayan and carry on with my journey.

 

Heather Sinclair: Morocco

From: USA
Stuck in: Morocco
Bike: Suzuki DR-Z400S
Trip: February 2020 – unknown
Miles: 4,000
Follow online: Improbably Adventuring

In 2018 I went on a 10-month, 23,000 motorcycle journey from Indonesia to the UK and the travel bug bit me hard. So, I spent the next year and a half saving money and preparing to ride across Africa to Cape Town.

How I’m affected

The timing of the pandemic meant that my trip was affected almost immediately. My route changed entirely after my boat from Italy to Israel was cancelled and I ended up in Morocco on lockdown.

Why I’m still on the road

I declined the repatriation flights because I had given up my job and my flat for this trip and as an immigrant living in the UK, I don’t even have family there to stay with. I wasn’t ready to give up on the hope of the trip.

The new plan

I’m in one of the longest and strictest lockdowns anywhere in the world. My hope is that once it’s lifted, I’ll have the freedom to travel within the country. If that’s not looking likely, I may finally give up on waiting it out here and try to temporarily move to any country I can.

 

Anabela and Jorge: Laos

From: Luxembourg
Stuck in: Laos
Bike: BMW F 800 GS
Trip: January 2017 – May 2020
Miles: 31,000
Follow online: Diaries of Travel

After a six-month motorbike ride through South America back in 2013, we decided that we wanted more for our lives. So, two years later, we quit our jobs and have been travelling the world ever since.

How we’re affected:

We had already been in Laos for two months when the country closed its borders. Provincial borders are restricted, there’s a curfew, masks are compulsory and most hotels and restaurants are closed.

Why we’re still on the road:

We ‘decided’ to stay in Laos when the border with Thailand shut. We originally planned to get to Malaysia, leave our bike and fly home for a couple of months, but that’s not possible now. There were a few repatriation flights but we felt it risky going back to our parents’ homes.

The new plan

We’re waiting for Thailand and Malaysia to reopen. If they don’t anytime soon, we will consider leaving the bike here and trying to find a flight back to Europe. That would mean hoping that customs would allow our bike to stay without us…

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