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Jan 7, 2003

English biker circles globe for charity

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Belize is not an unusual stop for members of that growing fraternity of people bent on circling the globe–whether by car, plane, boat, bike or foot. But every one of these individually driven travellers has a different story to tell…and today News 5′s Marion Ali sat down to hear one more.

Marion Ali, Reporting

For thirty-seven year old Simon Milward of Exeter in the south of England, biking has been a passion since he was sixteen years old. But it wasn’t until a biking accident in Belgium in 1998 that Milward realised he could transform the use of motorbikes into something meaningful for people the world over.

Simon Milward, Veteran Biker

“It involves us bringing the African idea to Asia, whereby small economical motorbikes are used for transporting basic health services like vaccinations for children and so forth to rural, out of reach areas. Small motorbikes are cheap and economical and they can get to places and in Africa they’ve had a tremendous result on the health and well being in the rural communities.”

And places–a lot of places–is what the motorbike enthusiast has discovered. Setting out on a mission to share his plan, Milward started his voyage at the beginning of the year 2000 in Europe, and has since travelled to thirty countries.

Simon Milward

“I took the boat from Marseilles in France to Tunisia in North Africa the first of January, 2000. And I came through the Middle East, South and East Asia and Australia, Japan, and Russia, and I hopped over from Siberia to Alaska. That was in July, 2001. Then I spent fourteen months in North America fundraising. That’s where most of the money was raised before heading south to Central America here.”

Not surprisingly, Milward’s original schedule did not go exactly as planned.

Simon Milward

“I planned eighteen months to go around the world. Already it’s been three years and I’ve still got South America and Africa left to go.”

“And you know it’s just wonderful to meet the different people, taste the foods, experience the cultures and I found human beings to be really great everywhere. The human race is really wonderful.”

And to give something back to the human race, Milward is using his expedition to help improve the world’s health. He has raised over one hundred thousand U.S. dollars for international humanitarian organisations, such as Doctors without Borders, which works in crisis areas around the world. He also appeals to Belizeans to support the initiative.

Simon Milward

“If they donate over twenty U.S. dollars towards either Doctors Without Borders, or the motorbike initiative they receive a highly collectible, totally unique pin badge and they also receive regular e-mail updates from me during my ride so I can take them on a virtual world tour through the civil wars in Africa, the drug trades in South America. I don’t know if I’m gonna go to Colombia yet, I’m still considering that question.”

And while he considers the rest of his itinerary, he’s also had time to reflect on what he’s learned on what has become a very long road.

Simon Milward

“I’ve certainly become more compassionate since I’ve been on the road, more patient as well, and the ride has become much more than I ever thought it could be. It’s a spiritual journey as well as a real adventure for me too.”

Marion Ali for News 5.

Corporate groups and clubs who contribute two hundred U.S. or more receive a motorbike sticker and a link on Milward’s internet page. Milward can be reached for the next four days at the Sea Guest House on Gabourel Lane in Belize City. He continues his journey on his custom-made bike early next week, travelling west to Guatemala.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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