- Left –
- 31st May – 5th June 2015
- Miles rode –
My days in Dili were spent cleaning and preparing my bike for shipping to Darwin, Australia. Everything I take into Australia has to be 100% clean, will go into quarantine and then be inspected before I can ride away and start my Australia adventure. Reading many overlanders blogs and talking to people who’ve previously shipped their bikes to Australia the cleaning process has to be rigorous and thorough, I have read about people who spent up to one week cleaning their bikes. East Timor Backpackers has become the home for overlanders who are going to ship bikes to Australia, Rita, the manager there told me she has known people spend weeks and even people who’ve spent a month cleaning.
Stefan from Germany contacted me about a month ago and we agreed to share the cost of the shipping to Darwin so we shared the experience of cleaning our bikes and gear.
It’s hard to comprehend someone spending so many hours cleaning and preparing, I spent about 15 hours over 3 days taking panels and parts off my bike so I could clean into what are normally the most inaccessible places. I used brushes of all shapes and sizes including tooth brushies. It’s not sufficient to just have a clean bike I cleaned everything I have with me, clothing, boots, camping gear, tools, bags etc etc.
I hope this considerable effort is up to what I hear are the rigorous standards expected by the Australian customs officials.
I’m so pleased Stefan and I were doing the cleaning side by side, it’s hard work and having moral support made the job so much more palatable. I hadn’t worked so hard in a year and by the end my hands were covered in cuts and were sore from trying to access the bikes most inaccessible areas.
Once the cleaning is complete its off to the ANL shipping offices to sort the paperwork out, visit the Timor Leste customs offices at the port to get the carnet stamped and then back to ANL to load the bike into the shipping container, that’s before one final clean of the tyres! The road from the backpackers to ANL is about 5 km along a dusty road so the bike needs a final wipe over and the tyres a final scrubbing before it goes into the container.
Riding overland from London to Dili, Timor Leste, staying at ‘East Timor Backpackers’ and spending days cleaning and preparing my Dakar for shipping to Darwin feels like ‘a right of passage’. It’s one of the few places that all overlanders converge on when making this journey. I’ve been reading books, blogs and on-line comments regarding the Dili to Darwin shipping for many years, now I can add my experiences and hopefully inspire others to join the ‘Dili – Darwin bike shipping group’.