Queenstown retirees Diana and Dick Hubbard, life’s not about sitting around – unless you’re sitting on a motorcycle seeing the world.
The couple set off on a BMW GSA on May 11, from Tokyo, Japan, bound for London via the Far East, Central Asia, Middle East and Europe – a journey of up to 30,000 kilometres.
Dick, 72, a breakfast cereal magnate and former Auckland mayor, will again ride and navigate while Diana, 70, sits on the back and handles photography and blogging.
The Hubbards are already thought to be the oldest couple to have ridden two-up around the world on the polar route.
In 2012, they rode the length of the Americas from Alaska to Patagonia, and in 2016 ventured from Norway’s North Cape to South Africa’s southernmost point, Cape Agulhas.
“Now we’re going right around the middle of the world,” Dick says.
They’re aiming to ride about six hours a day, stopping every hour-and-a-half for “concentration breaks” to talk to the locals.
“It’s really about meeting people, and on a bike you’re in the landscape rather than just seeing it.
“It’s quite an intense experience.”
The couple will seek out lodgings each day, but will carry camping gear just in case.
Diana: “The unexpected thing for me, I put the helmet on and it’s like going on a retreat.
“Sometimes I compose songs, sometimes I listen to music of the country I’m in.”
She’s most looking forward to visiting the old Silk Road cities in ‘the stans’, like Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.
When in Kurdistan, they’ll leave their bike and pop back to New Zealand for two weeks.
The couple aim to hit London by mid-October.
On the way they might nip to Europe’s westernmost point, having earlier on the trip been at its eastern extremity.
Dick: “If we’re really up for it, we might even ship the bike to the east coast of the United States, go right across the States to Los Angeles and then ship it back to NZ.”
Ironically, Diana used to be scared about hopping on a motorbike.
“And then I got on the bike and I haven’t got off.
“So you never know in life, sometimes the thing you least want to do may in fact be the thing you really enjoy.”