To my Father,

HRH (1925-2018) who ran up the beaches and lived to twist a throttle or two

Cover Design by Author

with thanks to for 'Let's Get Lost'


A worn-out traveller sits and remembers

Something new in every day

Here and there and far away

Worth it for the memories

Exploration and adventure are in the soul of everyone of us

You are born to move


Around the World in 20 Bikes


In the beginning a wheel spun around.

A journey does not have to start with a single step


If you wanted to take a trip around the world, what countries would you visit? What would you want to see, and what must you go and take a look at?


What is unique to any and every country you might visit?


What really strange facts might emerge from your travels?


If you wanted to use a motorcycle specific to and manufactured by the countries you visit – could you do it? What bikes are celebrated by each country? What would you be riding on?


This book is,


img2.jpg     a geographia

img2.jpg     a set of ideas on what is worth seeing and why

img2.jpg     a collection of wonderful images from every country visited

img2.jpg     a compendium of 100's of interesting and little known facts


for example do you know?


img3.jpg    where the largest statue of a horse is? It is over 40 metres high

img4.jpg    in what country is the oldest continuous Parliament in the world

img3.jpg    what 'LEGO' means

img4.jpg    which country introduced a tax on beards in the 16th century.

img3.jpg    which car manufacturer's name means 'I roll'

img3.jpg    which country has a square flag

img3.jpg    where are the Bigar Cascade Falls voted the most beautiful in the world by 'The World Geography'

img5.jpg    where in the world is the place is that is furthest from salt water

img3.jpg    which country has the most UNESCO world heritage sites

img3.jpg    which country has a name derived from the Latin for 'southern'


We can travel 10,000's of miles depending on which way you roll.


One of our your aspirations might be to visit Unesco World Heritage Sites which by definition are likely to be worthy of your time.


It may be useful as an early thought to consider which are the healthiest countries to visit. After all you will want to finish the adventure hale and hearty or as close as possible to what you started with.


So where are the healthiest countries in the world?


The Healthiest Countries in the World by HALE Score*


* the HALE score is a score of life expectancy taking into account living healthy-years as adjusted by years of disability. You might not want to live to a grand old age if half of your life was spent suffering from a disability.


We'll get to a few of these countries on our trip but it turns out that many of the great places to visit also involve a little risk – such is life.


However as a working guide you might like to consider visiting a number of the Unesco World Heritage Sites across the world. Therefore which countries have the most sites (granted that quantity is never a full measure)


The graphic below shows where most of the Heritage sites are. Our planned trip will take in most of the top-ten countries. Let's go.


And if you wish to start a journey that might involve using a motorbike or two then start at the place where the most famous motorcycle race in the world is held (it's also rather lovely and laid-back) –


The Isle of Man.


Take a route…any route

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 – The Isle of Man

Chapter 2 – The United Kingdom

Chapter 3 – Norway

Chapter 4 – Sweden

Chapter 5 – Denmark

Chapter 6 – Germany

Chapter 7 – Switzerland

Chapter 8 – Italy

Chapter 9 – Lichtenstein

Chapter 10 – Austria

Chapter 11 – Czechoslovakia

Chapter 12 – Romania

Chapter 13 – Poland

Chapter 14 – Russia

Chapter 15 – Mongolia

Chapter 16 – China

Chapter 17 – India

Chapter 18 – Australia

Chapter 18 – United States of America

Chapter 19 – Portugal

Chapter 20 – Spain

Chapter 21 In Conclusion

Chapter 1 – The Isle of Man

All maps used in this document
are courtesy of



The Isle of Man is a self-governing, crown dependency with Queen Elizabeth II as the head of throne.


It is small with a population of close to 85,000 and a land area of 572 km2. That is a population density of 148/km2


The Isle of Man is famous for,


img10.jpg     having the oldest continuous Parliament in the world, the Tynwald, which started in 979 CE.

img10.jpg     the Isle of Man TT motorcycling races

img10.jpg     the Manx cat – a breed of cat with no tail

img10.jpg     the island's symbol is the triskelion which is actually an ancient symbol. A triskelion was found in a grave in Ireland dating to 3,200 BCE


Given the rugged nature of the island it may be surprising to find that the Isle of Man is indeed famous for its road racing circuit and the Isle of Man TT (Tourist Trophy). The annual races have been held since 1907 making them the oldest organised motorcycling race.


The TT races are considered to be one of the hardest and difficult motorcycle races around the island's 37 mile circuit with an average speed of 133mph being the fastest lap achieved. The race is held on public roads and over 150 riders have been fatally injured over the history of the TT's.


The TT races attract large crowds who can get really close to the action.


The first TT ever (twin cylinder) was won by Rem Fowler at an average speed of 36 mph on a Peugeot engined Norton. The motorcycles of the time were developing from bicycles with long handlebars to allow the rider to sit well away from the mid-mounted engine. Cornering must have been an adventure as two-thirds of the bike would have been round the corner before the rider arrived.


James Norton created The Norton Manufacturing Company in Birmingham in1898 when he was 29. Initially he used a French Clement engine then engines by Peugeot and Moto Rêve V-twin engines from Switzerland.


In 1909 Norton created bikes of his own design. Famously the Norton big-four side-valve single as seen below.


Such was the excellence of the design the bike remained in production until 1954! An excellent machine to take you around the racing circuit – open all hours.




A simple postage stamp is often covered with the heads of kings and queens, or great scientists and their discoveries. So why put a motorcycle on a stamp? Why could the bike be so highly regarded?


The story behind the motorcycles chosen and the countries involved tell the remarkable tale of the history and impact of these 'flying' machines, from workhorses to racers.


It is no surprise to find that the Isle of Man would celebrate it's racing heritage on some of its postage stamps.


Here is an intrepid racer. It's Charlie Collier, the first winner on a single-cylinder bike, a three and a half horsepower Matchless at an average speed of 38 mph


A nod to safety with the flat hat, goggles and sturdy boots.


The E11R on the stamp stands for Elizabeth Regina (the reigning Queen)


Many thanks


We also have to thank the Isle of Man for the BEE GEES who were born there.


Still hale and healthy – but which countries might challenge healthy living?


Lowest Life Expectancy by HALE*




* the HALE score is a score of life expectancy taking into account living healthy-years as adjusted by years of disability.


Suffice it to say that on our trip we'll not be visiting any of the above countries


We now move across the water eastwards to the United Kingdom

Chapter 2 – The United Kingdom


Her majesty is head of 16 nations including Canada (the second largest country in the world) and Australia. The Queen may have the most recognisable face on Earth. (see the Telegraph newspaper Monday 28 August 2017)


The United Kingdom sits at the western end of Europe – detached by the English Channel from mainland Europe. It is 243,000 km2 around half the size of the average country and with a population of 66 million that is 270 per km2


Referred to as “a green and pleasant land” by the poet William Blake, the UK tourism industry is worth over £125 billion. London the UK capital claims an estimated 17 million visitors a year.


green, blue and pleasant. lake-district,


The UK has a chequered history that has affected most of the world at one time or another. The UK also has a positive and rich history of inventions – some of these are;


img2.jpg     Steam engine: Richard Trevithick, 1801

img2.jpg     Electric motor: Michael Faraday, 1821

img2.jpg     Waterproof material: Charles Macintosh, 1823

img2.jpg     Photography: William Henry Fox Talbot, 1835

img2.jpg     Electric telegraph: Charles Wheatstone & William Cooke, 1837

img2.jpg     Telephone: Alexander Graham Bell, 1876

img2.jpg     Light Bulb: Joseph Swan, 1880

img2.jpg     Pneumatic tyre: John Boyd Dunlop, 1887

img2.jpg     Television: John Logie Baird, 1925

img2.jpg     Jet Engine: Frank Whittle, 1937

img2.jpg     Electronic programmable computer: Tommy Flowers, 1943

img2.jpg     World Wide Web: Tim Berners-Lee, 1989


But not regrettably the motorbike! Which is credited to an American, Sylvester Roper of Massachusetts in 1868 (of which more later – see the USA section)


However the UK has created more motorcycle brands of note than most other countries put together, well over 60 in fact. Some of these are;


img2.jpg     Ariel

img2.jpg     Brough

img2.jpg     BSA

img2.jpg     Matchless

img2.jpg     Norton

img2.jpg     Panther

img2.jpg     Royal Enfield

img2.jpg     Triumph (not least)

img2.jpg     Vincent


Must see places


There are so many of these – beyond listing and extremely subjective depending on what you are looking for.


img2.jpg     London – one of the world's great cities – everything you need

img2.jpg     Stonehenge – over 5,000 years old and one of the best known prehistoric monuments – but beware of tourists!