February 12, 2008 - 1:15PM
An Australian adventurer travelling through Africa and the Middle East has had his dream journey brought to a halt after his motorbike was stolen.
Allan Roberts, 29, of Turiff in north-western Victoria, had taken his bike through 37 countries across Europe and Africa in the past 18 months before it was stolen in Dubai on Friday night.
He had planned to go on through Iran, Russia and South-East Asia before eventually reaching Australia via East Timor. The theft means Roberts will be unable to complete his trip, unless a sponsor comes to his aid.
"I've fully self-funded the trip and have never asked for sponsorship or support," he said, "but now this has happened I can't go on."
Mr Roberts met a fellow motorbike traveller for dinner at a restaurant on Friday night. When he had finished his meal, he discovered his bike was gone. After flagging down a police car, he spent four hours searching for the stolen bike, to no avail.
Since buying the Honda Africa Twin XRV 750 in the United Kingdom, Mr Roberts had ridden 65,000 kilometres across two continents.
Mr Roberts had no insurance for the bike because, he says, "no insurance company on the planet would cover me for riding through countries like Nigeria, Angola and the Congo".
The theft made the front page of the local Gulf News and Mr Roberts says Dubai's entire biking community knows about the incident. Unfortunately, the same people have told Mr Roberts that his stolen bike has probably been shipped to another country.
"This has been a dream of mine for about 10 years," he said, "and I spent more than two years putting the trip together and planning. And now this has happened."
The incident is the latest in a series of misadventures for Mr Roberts, who has been documenting his trip on a blog (www.hardwayhome.blogspot.com). In Africa he has contracted malaria, been attacked by killer bees, held up at gunpoint and hit by a car.
He's was also robbed twice within hours of arriving in Tanzania. Despite all this, Mr Roberts says Africa is surprisingly safe and he was shocked by the theft of his bike in Dubai.
"It's supposed to be the safest city in the world," he said. "I can't believe it. I'm gutted."