Tales from the Road
Tales from the road will introduce travelers, Overlanders and people with that desire to push the limits. We will pick their brain and figure out what makes them tick.
Charlotte_rd a woman who is breaking all the cliches. Yes she isn’t that tall as most. Yes,she is a woman! Yes,she does travel alone. Most people will assume those are all disadvantages but Charlotte isn’t like most people. She sees al those things as an advantage and in this interview she convinced me why.
To be honest I think when i first saw Charlotte on instagram i tough naively that she would not dare go offraod on those difficult road in Africa. I tough that girl would avoid those roads like the corona virus but Ow boy what was i wrong!!
Charlotte’s story starts way before she decides to ride the long way down to Cape town. It all begins somewhere in Bretagne, France. At age 12 she got her first introduction to motorcycles, her dad had an old honda 125. She was a curious little girl and started to wonder how it would be to ride that thing. Just that thought is that moment a motorcyclist is born.
This one tought would lead her down a path of adventure. The biggest yet is her trip to Cape town, South Africa. Starting out of England she will ride her huskvarna 701 rally al the way down to Cape Town, SA. Fast forward four months and she isn’t in cape town, she isn’t even on the African continent. No she is in her apartment in Warwick, UK. But how? why did she not finish her trip? Did the challenge of overland travel overwhelm her? Or dit she just missed the Yorkshire thee back home? Let’s find out what happened.
Q: What made you want to do this trip trough Africa ?
A: Before setting out on this trip i did a little overland trip trough botswana, Namibia and South Africa. There i traveld with 4×4 trough the game parks, I loved it! After coming back to the UK and doing the normal work again i needed something to shake up my world. I work at Bentley even tough i love my work the hours are long and the deadlines are short. I needed to feel something, needed to feel alive! Eventually i read a little about overloading and decide on a trip trough West Africa toward Cape Town, South Africa.
Q: But why Africa? Why West Africa in particular. Almost all that you read online is about War, Ebola and other dangerous stuff. Why did you chose this route and not from England to Beijing?
A: England to Beijing is a nice one as well. But indeed all your read online isn’t that positive. It sounds like Africa is a different challenge al tougheter.
Q:So you like the challenge of it?
A: Yes, Like riding trough the nomads land between Western Sahara and Mauritania. Landmines on both side, abandoned cars every where. The fixers on the other side the culture shock.
“It gives a slap in your face. “
Q: What was the hardest thing on your journey?
A: The hardest thing is now stopping the journey. Now am not able to do anything on my own. Yes sure the basics, but on the travel you do pretty much everthing yourself.
Q: Really you say being back home in the UK is more difficult then riding around in Africa?
A: Yes, I am a pretty independent person but now with a broken arm and broken pelvis i have to relay on people, that’s hard for me.
Q: Yes, I see that you are are pretty banged upp!
A: I am ok, Just had three fractures in my pevlis and broke my arm in two places. The only thing I am not yet ok with is that for now the journey is over. Because of some stupid guy on a moto scooter!
Q: Tell me how did that happen? You got that far, I know the route it isn’t that easy. You have to be a capable rider or maybe more important you have to have some balls.
A: It’s pretty crazy. Let me tell you; First of i didn’t have to be there to begin with. A that moment i was traveling with a other overlander. We traveled to Calabar to get his visa for cameroon, I had mine. So it was not my intended route. Maybe more crazy was that the crash happened not on a dirt piste but on perfectly asphalt road. The local guy was on a small chinees moto scooter with a big bag of something on his bike. Like everywhere in Africa they are half the size of a car. But this one just tought that he could turn left on a perfectly straight road. I still don’t know why he did what he did. There was no exit or bush trail to turn of to, so this always stays a mystery.
Q: Damm that is indeed shitty, how fast where you going?
A: I wasn’t going that fast, I don’t know exactly because i passed out when the crash happened.
Q: How long is it ago that this crash happened?
A: Now about a month ago, I still have 6 weeks for the arm to heal and two months before the pelvis is better. Another Funny thing was that when I arrived it he hospital in Nigeria. They told me i had only a broken arm. This i knew wasn’t true because i could feel the pain. The doc said to me that god would heal everything, just stay faithful and al would be ok. This i knew wouldn’t be the case and i wanted to get treatment in the UK. Finally after 9 days of (praying) in a hospital bed the plane arrived. When i rolled up in my wheelchair the doctor looked surprised. This doctor would take care of me in flight but on his sheet of patient information it said; Female with a broken arm. I told him if that was the case I would be on the next comercial flight back home. After explaining to him that the Nigerian doctors could not see any fractures on the pictures of my pelvis. He took a short glance at my X-Ray’s, within minutes he could locate two fractures. The rest is history, for now i need to recover and get my Bike fixed to continue the journey.