Born in Belfast at a very young age, Neil was brought up in Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland. As (most) kids do he went to school. He then went to University of Ulster at Jordanstown where he studied Computing Science BSc(Hons) and went on to work as a software engineer specialising in database development in several organisations in the telecoms, pharmaceuticals and healthcare sectors. Neil lives in Bangor, Co. Down with his wife Helen. Outside work Neil has a keen interest in electronics, travel, alternative fuels and motorcycling…
Thus the project of a diesel motorcycle was born. Neil envisioned one project that would bring together all of his existing interests and skills into one machine. With no formal background in engineering the project was completed over the course of 3 years in what little spare time he has left. The bike is capable of 100mpg and has a theoretical tank range of 500 miles. Taking the machine on a long journey seemed the next illogical thing to do and hence a second undertaking – an overland journey from Belfast to Sydney on the diesel bike.
Follow Neil and Helen and share their journey at www.suckindiesel.com
Why is it when you have free reign to talk about yourself it’s difficult to know what to say?
I’ll start with motorcycling…Well I started riding my own bike 5 years ago now. I can’t tell you exactly why I started to take lessons but I was hooked after my first one! It all went pretty smoothly, I passed my test first time after about 10 lessons and went about getting myself a bike. Due to my vertically challenged stature (I’m 5ft 2”) I went for a Kawasaki GPZ 500s but I never truly got used to it and had several scary moments. These led to a bit of a break from motorcycling for about a year in which time I met Neil. A 125cc bike (ridden up the length of England by Neil ) and a lot of reassurance later, we found the BMW F650GS. After the insertion of some Kuba links I could get the balls of my feet to the floor and I felt great! The upright riding position gave me a lot more confidence and so we set about spending some time on the bikes and learning how to ride in tandem with each other. I’ve still got a lot to learn but let’s face it, if I’m not a good motorcyclist after riding overland to Australia there’s something wrong!
When it comes to the trip and the idea of riding overland to Australia, the idea came from Neil and I think he has talked about it since I first met him almost 4 years ago. We’ve been married now for just over 2 years and have been seriously talking about it since then. Of course for the last 3 years he has been building the diesel bike (I’ll let him tell you about that) and part of this dream was to take it around the world. The prospect of Neil leaving for anywhere up to a year, not wanting to ride pillion, the fact that the timing could coincide with the end of my training to be a GP and the massive personal challenge it would mean for me, led us to plan the journey together.
Of course I have many worries….will we get jobs when we get back? Will it be hard to settle back into ‘normal life’? This is in addition to all the worries specific to the trip ie bikes, visas, the difficulties certain countries may bring etc etc. There have been a lot of stresses and strains along the way and I’m sure there will be many to come, but the thought of everything we’re going to see and experience keeps us going.
Just have to get going now…
Good luck with your travels Neil, but do try to keep me posted …
Best of luck guys! Remember, a good traveller has no fixed plans and is not intent upon arriving. Drive safe and here’s hoping that Smart Tiger does the business!
It’ll be a brilliant experience. Take it easy on the journey and look forward to hearing all about it. Maybe even see you in Hamm?
We are really settling in now after I [Brucie] escaped through a locked cat flap after 9 days, and returned [of course] they had no choice but to let us out, what a ball we had! Hours and hours of exploring in the sunshine, this is a great holiday home. The little people are noisy and they still freak us out a bit when they run around the house, but when they go to bed it’s so cool. We climb up and snuggle down for some serious fuss and love! Uncle Donald goes to bed early and Vincent loves to lie up on him while I just curl up by his side. Auntie Ruth is such a spoilsport and always takes us to bed, but she does gives us pieces of chicken when she’s been cooking, and I sometimes look for her now when I need a little cuddle. Lots of love from Brucie and Vincent [We’ve no idea when you’ll get this but reckon you’ll have tested your waterproofs to the max and the waterproofing of the paniers! Hope all is going well so far, we talk about you lots and miss you, but hope you’re having fun, love Ruthxx]
PS, Auntie Ruth had to get a new back door for us, as the one she had was a bit rank and anyway Vincent’s big belly split the external tunnel and she didn’t want us to catch ourselves on it, the new one is much cooler! So’s my red collar, I’m the smartest cat in Bangor. [excuse me whilst I nudge Ruth’s elbow a few more times, she’s too busy on the computer to give me the attention I need!!!] lots of kisses Brucie
PPS It was not my big belly that broke it, it was just old and the plastic was hard. Brucie helps keep me clean and shows me all the great places to visit, I have a green sparkly collar which goes with my name tag. The little people are still a bit freaky and want to brush me all the time but are v cuddly at bedtime. I love scratching the door mats [totally acceptable – better than the furniture!] and I always roll on my back, they can’t resist me, putty in my hands!! Love Vincent
[Please excuse my sense of humour, I assure you I am still sane and looking after the cats as well as they’ll let me]
Sorry to hear about Helens eye. Hope it is better soon and you are both able to go. Make the most of your rest before the trip and best wishes for the journey, it will be so exciting 🙂
keep her lit and safe journey
our club welcomes u in istanbul…..
Hi Helen and Neil,
I ran into you yesterday night at the cargo man in KTM. You gave me your card, and when I looked at it I thought to myself: “I don´t know much about motorcycles, but I thought the Enfield was the only mass-produced diesel motorcycle. Why is the web page called suckindiesel?” Well now it all makes sense!
My son and I are on our way from Germany to Australia by car. We will leave our car in Nepal, and are off tomorrow to go by bus to Varanasi. From there it is by train to Kolkata, by plane to Bangkok, then Sianoukville, Cambodia, and from Phnom Penh by plane to Melbourne. Maybe we´ll run into each other somewhere 🙂
good man marc, thanks for the comment. we will keep an eye out for you and all the best for the rest of your trip
Looking for you in Australia ! Wishing you clean fuel and tailwinds 🙂
Good luck you both happy bikers all the luck will follow You and hope to do Austr. and N.Z. sometime with my zeus diesel,for the moment i am jealous.
Best Regards and a very good time,
Teun (zeus diesel)