A couple of days ago, we had the pleasure of hosting a globetrotter, Mr. Magnus Petersson, at the xBhp HQ. Magnus calls himself an occasional adventurer but is currently on a mammoth roadtrip from Australia to Sweden which will see him seeing 20 countries and travelling 24,000km in just 5 months. Magnus’s travel companion, Patricia, is his trusty Triumph Tiger Explorer who also believes in spreading the message of peace and co-existence much like Magnus.
He is a management consultant with Boston Consulting Group when not touring the world. Magnus’s journey began from Australia in January heading towards East Timor, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar (Burma), India, Nepal and India (again). He was in a Delhi when he visited us and and plans to reach Sweden by the end of June having travelled through Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, Poland, Germany and Denmark.
Magnus Petersson documents his travels on his blog – www.thescenicroute.blog
We had an impromptu biker to biker chat with him while he was here and you can watch the video of that chat here
And here a few excerpts from his interview:
xBhp: Welcome to India and welcome to xBhp headquarters! Could you please tell us something about yourself?
Magnus: I am a 30-year-old guy from Sweden originally, but I’ve lived in Melbourne in the last couple of years. I am huge bike fan. I’ve been riding bikes since I was 17. What I am doing right now is I am combining my passion for bikes and my passion for travel in these 6 months off that I magically managed to get for myself from work and I am doing this trip from Australia to Sweden on my Triumph Tiger Explorer.
I am a huge fan of Triumph motorcycles. I got my first one in 2008, the Daytona 675, which is a good way to get hooked to the Triumph because it is one of the best sports bikes. And then, I’ve been riding Triumphs ever since and also on this trip. It is a great bike. It just chews away the miles on highways. It actually has climbed all the mountains that I’ve tried so far. It is a heavy bike, but with right tyres and with some good sweat, you get up there.
xBhp: For how long have you been on the road?
Magnus: Mid-December (2016) I left Melbourne, so I’ve been on the road now for 4-1/2 months and I have another couple of months to go before I reach Sweden. Being in Delhi now, I am more than halfway distance wise, but I am much more than halfway time wise because I’ve done the really slow parts. You have no idea how slow it is to get through Indonesia with islands & ferries & islands & ferries & islands & ferries! But I have had an amazing experience so far. These have been fantastic 4 months.
xBhp: Could you please run us through your route?
Magnus: Yea, I started from Melbourne and then I crossed Australia up to Darwin and I crossed through the center, which was a surreal experience . Sometimes you could go for to 3 hours without seeing any other person. It is completely different from India. So that was the first step and then I shipped the bike from there to East Timor. Then I crossed basically most of Indonesia up to Sumatra, and then Malaysia, and then Thailand. I stayed for quite a while in Thailand because Northern Thailand is amazing for motorcycle riding, especially Chiang Mai and around. Then I went through Myanmar and then entered India via Manipur. I went through Manipur, Nagaland, and Sikkim and then I crossed into Nepal. I spent 3 weeks in Nepal. I did lots of off-roading in Nepal. I wasn’t an off-road rider, but I’d like to say that now I am bit more of an off-road rider. It was really great riding in Nepal. Now, obviously I am back in Delhi. Next up, I am making my way up to Europe. I am entering Pakistan in a couple of days and from there Iran, Turkey, and then I’ll be in Europe where I’ll be doing the Eastern Europe route. I’ll do Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, Poland, etc.
xBhp: Don’t forget to do the Transfagarasan pass in Romania
Magnus: Yeah, that is on the list.
xBhp: And be very afraid of the Bulgarian dogs. They are huge. They might run after you, jump on you, and probably try to eat you like they did (unsuccessfully) in my (sunny’s) case.
Magnus: I’ll keep that in mind. I’ll keep my speed up so that they don’t catch up.
xBhp: Which was the most difficult part of your ride?
Magnus: Difficult part was actually crossing the center of Australia. It is difficult in that you need to plan much more. It was more or less same temperature as you have in Delhi now, above 40, but there are no other human beings. If you break down, you might be stuck for a while. So I was carrying a lot of extra water, extra fuel. The planning part was the tricky part.
Then, like I said, I wasn’t an off-road rider, but I went hardcore off-roading in Nepal and that was super cool experience. I dropped the bike a few times but that is how you learn. That was challenging at first but you get the hang of it. That was basically the difficult part. And then when you are on a big trip, it is just sometimes difficult to motivate yourself to spend 14 hours a day on the bike because after a while it just gets tiring. But it has been surprisingly smooth so far.
I’ve had some amazing rides, especially Nepal. Manipur and Nagaland were amazing rides as well. Northern Thailand and actually parts of Indonesia were amazing to ride as well.
xBhp: If you have to pick one memory, which is the most vivid memory of the route till now?
Magnus: I think that that might be when I was shipping the bike from Indonesia to Malaysia. I called him beforehand and this guy says, “I’ll ship the bike , I have a ship” and then I arrive and it is basically a wooden skip with a crane on it and I was like, “I guess it floats, so that is good.” And then we wrapped up the bike with some rope and loaded onto what felt like a wooden skip and then he set off across the Malacca Strait and I was like “I am 50:50 if I am seeing that bike again.” But then it worked out, it always works out!
xBhp: Did you find any snow?
Magnus: I found some snow up in Mustang area in Nepal.
xBhp: what was the hottest temperature till now ?
Magnus: Right here, Delhi!
xBhp: Are you looking forward for the trip to end or not?
Magnus: No! not really! I think that when I make it into Europe that is probably when I’ll start getting home sickness because I’ll be so close to home. Still I am now super excited about Pakistan, I am super excited about Iran, and I am super excited about seeing Amritsar tomorrow as well. So I am still really excited for the upcoming weeks!
xBhp: What about the rest of the world that you are not covering in your current trip? When are you going to do it?
Magnus: it is a great question. I didn’t even think about it until halfway through the trip, but then I realized that I’ll probably have to do an Alaska-down to the South America sometime. I have no choice, because I love riding too much and I’ll have to do it.
xBhp: How did India treat you; any good or bad experiences?
Magnus: Good ones, only good ones. It was my first time when I entered India from Myanmar into Manipur. Growing up in Europe you have this image of India that everything is like Delhi – it is intense, it is really vibrant, it is hot, and traffic is just all over the place and then you get into Manipur and it is this beautiful mountain landscape with great roads and it is nice and cool and it is not crowded at all and people are really really friendly, which people are everywhere. It is just that there are way more people here in Delhi than over there. So I had a great first impression.
Going through India, people are just so helpful. I still had my street tyres when I entered India and then I had my dirt tyres strapped to the back of the bike and at some point I wanted to swap these tyres because my street tyres were running completely blank , so I just stopped in a village and asked if there is someone here who can help me swap tyres? And in 2 seconds the entire village was engaged in finding some tyre guy who had a tyre shop and finding someone to get me some food while i was waiting for them to swap tyres. It was the most hospitable experience so far, it was really cool!
xBhp: Do you want to say something to people who are watching you and following you ?
Magnus: Well, the one thing that I want to tell people in general that if you want to go on a big trip like this, the best way to do is to just get a bike and set off. You need to do a little bit of planning. But it is actually way, way smother than you think. It is a great experience and I think a lot of people probably want to do it, so just go ahead (and do it).
I am really happy to be here in India and if anyone wants to catch up with me to go for a ride together, just ping me on my Instagram handle. I’ll be delighted to ride with other bikers.