Biker says: I’ll be home this year (so I can set off all over again)

Ian Coates
Ian Coates

A GLOBETROTTING biker who has been on a 13-year trip is finally on his way home... so that he can set off again next year.

Ian Coates wants to start another round-the-world adventure to mark his 70th birthday.

But as he turns 69 this year, he says he will be coming home to Blackshaw Head in Hebden Bridge so he can officially depart again.

He told the Courier: “I’m currently in the middle of Italy on my way to France.

“In 2013 I’ll be 70 and I want to go round the world again.”

Mr Coates is a well known figure in Hebden Bridge and owned a garage near Whiteley Arches, which his son Jason now runs.

He also has a daughter, Charlotte, 39, four grandchildren and a great grandchild.

When he set off in 1999, Mr Coates was only meant to be gone for four months but has only been home a handful of times since.

He has been zig-zagging across a catalogue of countries including South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and South America and has crossed Russia 17 times.

He said he tried to visit China but they wouldn’t let him in.

His amazing travels have seen him notch up over 400,000 kilometres on his Honda motorbike.

On the road he either camps, stays in cheap hotels or works in exchange for accommodation.

His family were concerned in 2010 when they did not hear from him for several weeks.

He was unable to contact his worried wife Judith for most of June and all of July as he made his way through Russian wilderness. Many friends who Ian has met on his travels were also trying to contact him with no success. He finally phoned home from Ukraine.

His most recent adventures include helping rebuild a double-decker bus in the Czech Republic and touring deaf schools in the country.

He said he got a fright while riding through mountains in Bosnia and Croatia where he said he had seen red warning signs on several trees. He did not stop to read them until he went into the woods for a walk round and discovered the signs were warning of unexploded landmines.

“When it gets dark, I put my tent up and when the sun comes up, I get back on my bike,” said Ian.

“I’m very good at getting lost in the wilderness and surviving. I think coming from Blackshaw Head helps.”

Mr Coates said he had travelled from the most southern point in Africa to Blackshaw Head. He also rode from the most southern point in South America to Alaska – a trip that took six years.

A website dedicated to motorcycle travel has started an online blog detailing Ian’s whereabouts.

He said he would like to include India on his next round-the-world trip as he has not yet been there.