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My motorcycle diaries
4:00pm Sunday 22nd July 2012 in News
IT’S the standard television quiz question: “And what are you going to do if you win the money?”
Although Noel Edmonds on Deal or No Deal was probably not expecting the answer he got from Colchester’s Graham Field.
“I’m going to ride a motorbike from my home to Mongolia.”
And that’s exactly what Graham did. Now Graham has written a fascinating and amusing account of his travels, In Search of Greener Grass, which he will be signing copies of at this weekend’s Essex Motorcycle Show at the Weston Homes Community Stadium , Colchester. Born In Billericay, Graham moved to Mersea when he was nine. Now living in Great Horkesley, when he isn’t travelling around the world on a motorbike, he works as a handyman fixing bathrooms and kitchens. “I’ve always been into bikes from a very early age,” Graham explains, “and I’d done several long motorcycle trips before this.” That ranged from his first, to Croatia, – “easy because it was tarmac all the way” – to the slightly more difficult Colorado to Alaska, taking in the legendary Dalton Highway.
“Yeah, you better watch out for those truckers,” Graham smiles. “It’s definitely their road. He always wanted to ride to Mongolia. He just needed enough money to do it, which is where Channel 4 game show Deal or No Deal came in.
Graham says: “They make you fill in a questionnaire asking what you would do if you won some money, so I said I wanted to do a journey which pushed the limits and that would challenge myself.
“I thought it was important to do something significant.”
Graham won £5,000 on the show and after buying a Kawasaki KLR650 off Ebay , he was on his way, travelling through Sweden, Poland, Ukraine, Kazakhstan before reaching Mongolia.
As it happened, Graham’s trip didn’t stop there because in his desire to get his bike back home without retracing his steps, he motored on to Vladivostok in Russia, and then South Korea, where he managed to find a berth for his bike on a boat.
He says: “I flew back via America and then met up with my bike in Southampton.
“The whole trip took me 105 days,” he beams, “and cost me exactly £5,000.
“I’ve kept a diary for 25 years now and I’ve always wanted to write a book, so it was easy to merge the two.
“It’s very open and honest and I don’t expect it to appeal to everyone. I do have my rants, but it’s been out since May and has been doing really well.” I can understand why. His amusing account of what you can experience should you, like him, ride east from England as far as you can and then a bit more, is pure escapism. “The biggest part of my trip was the interaction with local people,” Graham says.
“I took this furry monkey with me I call Monklet, which was like my little icebreaker. “Once you get past that and you strike up a common bond, meeting the people was the most rewarding.”
Graham will be at the Essex Motorcycle Show this Sunday. The show takes place at the Weston Homes Community Stadium in Colchester from 9am to 4pm. Entry is free. In Search of Greener Grass is published by Matador, priced £12.99.