Iron Butts Pursuit – 3 March 2010, a kamikaze day

DJJ and GH with Transalp 
By Danny John-Jules
and Graham Hoskins

We were due to meet our Libyan guide this afternoon and were waiting on a call from him to confirm a time to meet at the border. Meanwhile, Danny had got up and walked around the house in his t-shirt, base layer tights and motorbike boots to be greeted by the sight of three Tunisian builders and Rashed’s dad.  Rashed’s dad gave us the tour of his house – the fresh rainwater well (yes we did try it and it was amazing), the new veranda, the olives, vegetable patch and so on. He even made us traditional Tunisian tea just as Rashed came back with breakfast. You could not want to meet nicer people in complete contrast to the customs. Our guide finally called around 10.30 and we confidently predicted our arrival at the border for 12.30. We eventually arrived at the border at 2pm where we found our guide was more than a little impatient.  Border papers took a couple of hours with the support of our guide – next to impossible without his help for sure. By the time we had eaten on the Libyan side of the border, there was only an hour of daylight left. We had 300km to ride, which took us through Tripoli. 

Tripoli was an absolute nightmare. Driving in Libya is like swimming with hungry sharks. Some of these cars couldn’t pass for cars never mind an MOT. Everyone wanted to be in the same lane at the same time. The only problem was that they were all full but someone always came out of nowhere and just crowbarred themselves into a non-existent gap usually causing a major panic to all the foreigners, namely us! We were already half scared to death before we got there because everyone kept telling us it was dangerous. People were driving talking on their mobile phones whilst eating their evening meal with kids not only with no kiddy seats and no seat belts but standing up in the car looking out at the two Aliens riding through town on funny horses. 

Apart from the life-fearing hell ride through Tripoli, we had only one other drama on route the hotel.  Graham suddenly felt the bike tipping to one side and thought he’d need the tyre changing training from Honda. But as cars were beeping like mad, we checked the back of the bike and felt something significant was amiss. He had lost a 20-litre jerry can off the top of pannier – and it was full!  Something we will need to pick up tomorrow.

Garmin is supporting Red Dwarf star Danny John-Jules and team mate Graham Hoskins in their quest to ride nearly 7000 miles by motorbike for Sport Relief. Their ‘Iron Butts’ Challenge will see them circumnavigate the Mediterranean Sea, covering three continents and 14 countries in 15 days guided by a Garmin zumo 660 sat nav.