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6 Women Adventure Riders Who Ride The World Solo – Part 2

Think men are the only ones that ride round the world solo? Think again!

Published on 12.23.2016

4. Alicia Sornosa

Women Riders: Alicia Sornosa Adventure Rider
Alicia started her journey in 2011 inspired by the idea of being the first Spanish woman to ride around the world on a motorcycle. She has since ridden solo through some of the most iconic places on the planet. (Courtesy aliciasornosa.com)

When Spaniard Alicia Sornosa reels off the countries she’s visited on her motorcycle, it’s like listening to someone read from an atlas. Spain, Italy, Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, India, Australia, etc. And that was just her first trip, in 2011. She since made many more journeys and has filled in countries in Europe, Asia, and North and South America. She travels for the same reason as many others: because she can’t stand not to.

“For me the travel, the trip, is life. If I make many trips, I am alive. If I stay only in the same place, for me that is like death,” she told Adventure Rider Radio.

She started traveling on a BMW F650 GS, a bike that, when loaded with luggage and spares, dwarfed her. (She’s 5 feet, 1 inch tall). But that didn’t stop her from tackling Africa solo, despite warnings of the danger from friends and family.

Women Riders: Alicia Sornosa Adventure Rider
Alicia uses the attention she gets with her expeditions to give back to different causes. One of her latest efforts was a ride through India and Nepal to raise funds for those affected by the devastating earthquake that hit the region in 2015. (Courtesy aliciasornosa.com)

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She had her share of struggles in the beginning. One of Alicia’s hardest moments was conquering a severely eroded ‘Moyale Road’ between Ethiopia and Kenya during the opening stages of her RTW journey. With her minimal off-road experience at that time, the heavily-rutted and muddy stretch of road seemed like an impossible feat and wrestling with the weight of a fully-loaded adventure bike just added to the challenge. The experience proved torturous for Alicia but she never gave up and successfully went on to continue her RTW journey riding solo through some of the most iconic places on the planet.

Lately, she’s switched to a Ducati Scrambler, a choice some would find unconventional for long distance travel but one she appreciates for its light weight and low seat height.

Sornosa makes a living as a journalist and speaker, and raises money for children’s causes while she travels. Her advice to other women riders who want to do what she does is simple: “Don’t have fear. People are good. And second, smile all the time. Your smile is the best door into places.”

Read more about Alicia Sornosa’s travels on her site.
 

5. Anita Yusof

Women Riders: Anita Yusof Adventure Rider
In just a few years after learning how to ride, Anita has traveled solo through 4 continents and earned a place in the Malaysia Book of Records for some of her adventure riding achievements. (Courtesy anitayusof00.blogspot.com)

Age 45 seems like a late start for someone with as much wanderlust as Malaysian rider Anita Yusof. Then again, her first experience with motorcycles wasn’t a good one. At 15 Yusof took her father’s bike, without permission or the skill to ride it, and crashed into a drain. He was furious, and she didn’t ride for 30 years.

Yusof took up riding again as a way to see places she couldn’t otherwise get to. By that time, she was a mother of two boys, a teacher and an accomplished solo backpacker. She took her Yamaha FZ150 high into the mountains of Tajikistan and all over central Asia, earning a place in the Malaysia Book of World Records as the first Malaysian woman to ride solo across five central Asian countries on a motorcycle. Within 22 months of first throwing a leg over the Yamaha, she’d ridden in 14 countries, including a short jaunt in Afghanistan.

Anita made other solo expeditions but her greatest challenge was her “Global Dream Ride” which spanned 40 countries across 4 continents. She is believed to be the first Malaysian woman to travel the world solo on a motorcycle.

Along the way she’s had good experiences, and bad. In Kazakhstan, she was invited to lunch with a group of people who gathered around her while she stopped to check her map. She was in a hurry and couldn’t accept the invitation, so the strangers gathered money among themselves and gave it to her so she could eat later. In Tajikistan, she passed out on the side of a road in 125-degree heat, and woke up surrounded by villagers and a doctor tending to her. She’s also had to endure sand storms, avalanches, treacherous roads, food poisoning and many other challenges.

Women Riders: Anita Yusof Adventure Rider
Anita has recently been named Ambassador for GIVI and plans to continue exploring the world the best way she knows – on two wheels. (Courtesy anitayusof00.blogspot.com)

Yusof has recently been riding in Europe, and her countries-ridden tally is now past 50 and still counting. She has no plans to stop. “Every time I came back [from a trip],” she wrote on her blog, “I came back a different person, a much better person.”

Read more on Yusof’s travels on her blog.
 

6. Danielle Murdoch

Women Riders: Danielle Murdoch Adventure Rider
Danielle had never ridden a motorcyle before taking off on her first solo expedition through South East Asia, Russia and Mongolia. (Courtesy motomonkeyadventures.com)

For Murdoch, a life of traveling began when she was just 6. That’s when her family spent six months in Europe traveling in a camper.

As a desk bound young adult, Murdoch found life a little dull. So in 2008, at age 28, the native Australian bought a Honda XR 250, learned how to ride it and spent 10 months riding solo through Southeast Asia, Russia and Mongolia. During her journey, Danielle ran out of money so she sold her motorcycle to buy a ticket home. As it turns out, that was just a warmup for her big adventure.

In 2010, Murdoch climbed aboard her well-used Suzuki DR 350 and set out from her home in Brisbane to embark on her epic journey. After conquering Sri Lanka, India and Pakistan, she carefully crossed the Middle East, trying to avoid conflicts. She rode through Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq and Syria before crossing into Egypt. She continued zig-zagging her way down the eastern side of Africa, ending her travels in Zimbabwe. Along the way her Suzuki broke down eight times; not small stuff either. She had to replace the piston rings in Egypt and the crankshaft in Kenya.

Women Riders: Danielle Murdoch Adventure Rider
For all her adventure riding achievements, the Australian Geographic Society has named Danielle the 2015 Young Adventurer of the Year. (Courtesy motomonkeyadventures.com)

After almost 5 years on the road, she surrendered her battered Suzuki to customs officials in Zimbabwe. But she gained a future husband during her journey, another solo adventure rider she met heading in the opposite direction.

Danielle’s achievements have been recognized by the Australian Geographic Society becoming in 2010 the first recipient of the Nancy Bird Walton grant for female adventurers. In 2015, she was named their Young Adventurer of the Year.

Read more on Murdoch’s travels on her site.

Author: Bob Whitby

Bob has been riding motorcycles since age 19 and working as a journalist since he was 24, which was a long time ago, let’s put it that way. He quit for the better part of a decade to raise a family, then rediscovered adventure, dual sport and enduro riding in the early 2000s. He lives in Arkansas, America’s best-kept secret when it comes to riding destinations, and travels far and wide in search of dirt roads and trails.

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Author: Bob Whitby
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