Make A Difference Adventure Tours For those passionate about living and giving…
AXOZ – Australia
A 4x4 trip undertaken in 11 very small Suzuki vehicles, West to East across Australia. Micko planned and led the expedition.
11 Suzuki Sierras and 19 people made this arduous crossing in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the first arrival in Australia of the legendary, tough, go anywhere little four-wheel-drive vehicle.
We made our way across the continent of Australia from the most westerly point of Australia, Steep Point, near Shark Bay in Western Australia to the most easterly point, Byron Bay, New South Wales.
What made this three-week trip so special …apart from all the vehicles being at least 17 years old, was that we raised more than $70,000 to support disadvantaged children through Variety WA.
Suzuki enthusiast and former mechanic Bruce Ingham joined the team to help keep the vehicles safe and mobile for the duration of the adventure.
This epic tour included four travelers from China who Micko met in a snowdrift (another story) and other Philanthropic Adventurers from South Africa.
This trip, in conjunction with the Cape 2 Cape, raised a total of almost $200,000 AUS (£115,000) for charity.
Rorke’s Drift (South Africa) to Brecon (Wales)
Cape 2 Cape
First recorded Trans-Australia crossing, on a diagonal route through the center, from Cape Leeuwin in the south west of western Australia to Cape York in Queensland.
The Challenge: To ride from Cape to Cape, over 6,700 kilometers of dirt road, in 29 days.
Not a bunch of fit youths, but politely described as a group of “older” adventurers …with a collective age of 413 years (and that includes a couple of youngsters!).
8 riders, backed up by 2 vehicles (drivers Bruce and Les) departed the Lighthouse at Cape Leeuwin. A couple of serious spills along the way took three riders, Micko, Trevor and Stewart out of their saddles, but Micko and Stewart were able to continue in the support vehicles. Miles also broke his wrist in a spill a couple of days short of the end, but soldiered on until medical treatment was available in Cairns at the end of the trip.
Why?: It seemed a good idea when Micko and his son Liam O’Byrne came up with the idea! We’d all ridden road bikes together on long trips where we thoroughly enjoy ourselves, so we thought we would push the envelope a bit more while we still have the strength to push the starter button!
This trip took a lot of planning and organisation, including back up vehicles, fuel, water, spare tyres and chains, and food for the many nights spent camping, permits to travel over Aboriginal Lands from the Traditional Owner were required, as well as bike parts and tools. Because of the remoteness of some of the areas we also carried fairly extensive medical equipment.
In addition to logistical challenges, the trip also raised funds for two charities.
The first charity is the Western Desert Health Care Project conducted by the Medical Faculty of the University of Western Australia (UWA). There is a high preponderance of kidney and renal failure amongst the indigenous peoples of the Western Desert and to enable early stage detection in the field UWA wants to purchase and equip two Toyota Landcruisers with diagnostic equipment, which will be operated by graduates and students. Each of the diagnostic machines cost over $10,000. Our aim was to raise sufficient funds to buy at least one of these machines.
The second charity was the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS), which is a great Australian icon needing no introduction for the ongoing and incredible work it performs in outback and rural Australia in cases of medical emergency. The RFDS continues to rely heavily on donations to support funding the purchase of aircraft and medical equipment.
This trip, in conjunction with the AXOZ, raised a total of almost $200,000 AUS (£115,000) for our charities.
Rottnest 2 Rotterdam in a 4WD
After extensive overland travel in Australia by 4WD, Micko decided to undertake an across the world expedition…just for the fun of it and for the adventure.
In 2009/10 Micko, along with his then partner Liesbeth Goedhart, drove from Rottnest Island in Western Australia to Rotterdam in the Netherlands.
Their journey, in a Toyota “Troopie”, was overland via East Timor, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, China, Tibet, Mongolia, Russia, Finland, Germany and Holland.
Once they reached Europe, they spent another 6 months exploring from the top of Norway to the south of Italy and then west to Dingle in Ireland and many points in between.
What made them decide on this monumental adventure?
Micko says: “My natural curiosity, the opportunity to learn from other people about other cultures and other ways of seeing the world. To go and have a look and see what’s further up the road and to see who we’re actually sharing the planet with.”
Liesbeth is Dutch and a journey overland to her homeland had great appeal.
The planning and preparation for this long and arduous trip took about 1 year.
It took them 16 months to travel the total of 28 countries and 90,000 kms.
With only one broken taillight bulb to report… they arrived at their final destination – Rotterdam!
This larger-than-life trip, apart from the immensity of travelling independently through foreign lands, was enhanced daily by the amazing people they met and the opportunity to experience firsthand the value of difference, diversity and common humanity.
Indonesia 2 Borneo Solo Trip
Micko’s little Suzuki dirt bike certainly earned its pay travelling through very, very steep terrain slopes with lots of loose gravel, landslides, washouts, sand and dust… with the road from Sangatta to Tanjungredeb (known as Berau) being the hardest 370 kilometres (of all his travels).
Of course, negotiating the ferry rides, or slow boats, hopping across many islands, including customs checks, local laws and language barriers… is the stuff that makes for true adventure.
Micko tells tales of many un-programmed adventures, like diving with sharks and encounters with Komodo Dragons, active volcanos, and other things that can eat you… all many little reminders that death or substantial injury is never that far away when motorcycling in Indonesia.
Each day was a new adventure, riding through remote villages and taking short detours on rough and sandy tracks to little beaches, to sleeping in basic huts made of bamboo with low thatch roofs, with really hard beds, no lights and the most basic of amenities. All of which led to developing his love for wild adventures and a love for the local cuisine, especially Gado-Gado & Sate Ayam!!!
Of course, there were also times where Micko would treat himself to the best 5 star nights available.
While not setting out to achieve any particular thing on this ride other than adventure, Micko was inspired by a friend who was supporting an animal environmental project for threatened bears in Borneo. He was inspired to add his name and support to this charity.
Micko is quick to say ‘travelling like this is not for people who like everything organised and comfortable or even knowing what is going to happen next! You actually have to think, sort information, make decisions that hopefully are good ones and just work it out yourself.’
The up side is that every day holds wonderful surprises and every situation and event is a unique experience. You do get to test yourself, your assumptions about how things ought to be and your ability to solve simple and complex problems daily.
Thailand and Vietnam Bike Trips
Late 2009 and early 2010, Micko was waiting in Thailand for the snows of the Himalayas to melt to recommence the Rottnest 2 Rotterdam trip when his two sons Liam and Blaze joined him for two short motorcycle trips.
The first wasThailand and saw them cruising, probably a bit too fast, on the fabulous mountain roads of northern Thailand and the Golden Triangle.
On the second they travelled from Hanoi on small scooters, which was all that they could rent, to Halong Bay and then up to the mountains of Sapa. It was wet and cold and the rain ponchos they bought on the side of the road offered little protection.
Both trips were great fun.
Bicycles For Humanity Project
This project organized by Micko and his son Blaze, delivered 300 bicycles to children in rural Zululand in Southern Africa.
Since the success of this project KHULA, have taken delivery of a second container of bikes.
Highway 1 Run
An idea sprang up about a quick “Lap of the Paddock”, otherwise known as a trip from Fremantle to Perth, the long way round, via Adelaide, Sydney, Brisbane and Darwin.
Titled the Highway 1 Run, as it mostly followed Highway 1 right around Australia. Micko had a book listing the top 200 motorcycle rides in Australia and joined together about 75 of them to make up the route.
The team comprised two father and daughter pairs, Terry and Desiree Allen and Miles and Tam Kennedy as well as Micko and Liam O’Byrne doing the dad and son thing. Their ever reliable mechanic Bruce Ingham drove the support truck.
They were joined at several points by other mates and family members sometimes for a couple of days, sometimes longer. Mark Okeby joined in Darwin for the ride down the West Coast.
It was a grand ride with all sorts of weather from driving rain to intense heat and they rode most of the very best Twisties in the country.
Only a couple of slight mishaps: Tam went down on one corner in the Snowy Mountains and Micko hit and ran over a kangaroo at 140kms/hr, somehow still managing to keep his bike upright, but the underneath fairing was smashed and unfortunately the kangaroo did not survive.