Preparation for the trip has started in earnest now. Mainly this has involved spending large amounts of money.

So far I have:


Bought the bike, a 2012 Yamaha XT660Z Tenere with 9000 miles on the clock but in showroom condition. The bike came with Yamaha hard panniers and hard top box. I have had a few ride outs on it and am getting used to the height. I am used to riding a large sports tourer which is lower. I have even been out with Amy on the back.

Bought a new helmet – a Caberg Tourmax. I have also bought a bluetooth headset for it so I can listen to music from my phone and the GPS voice commands. I also installed a mount and waterproof case for my phone (used for GPS as well) and wired in a charger lead for it.

Replaced the side lights and number plate lights with LEDs for improved longevity and reduced power consumption. I am not going to bother with the indicators as I understand they may need ballast resistors as the bike has blown bulb detection circuitry for these.

Installed a Scotoiler.

Installed a trickle charge battery conditioner for when parked in the garage.

I have ordered the touratec side stand foot and the pannier mount base plates and water/fuel carriers that I will attach to the Yamaha panniers. This will allow me to externally mount a fuel can and a water can to the back side of them. I have also ordered the Yamaha centre stand.

Spares: I am starting to collect the essentials (filters, bulbs, tubes, chains, cables etc.) at the moment these are all going in a big box. I will eventually try to find small crevices and spaces on the bike to store many of them.


I have finalised the route down the West coast of Africa that avoids the areas now effected by Ebola. I have also researched visa and inoculation requirements for each country en-route. Most visas area valid from date of issue and can be obtained in surrounding embassies so are best obtained en-route. Exceptions are the Democratic Republic of Congo and Nigeria which seem to be best obtained in your home country. I need to do these a month before I go. I have also applied for a second UK passport due to the number of visas required and the length of time taken to get each one.

I have contacted my doctors and filled out a form about the trip. I now have to wait for them to come back with a programme of inoculations.


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