Portsmouth adventurer's anguish after thieves take his treasured motorbike
HEARTBROKEN John Twilley is appealing to crooks to return his beloved bike that he has travelled the world on.
For 18 months the former firefighter has been touring the globe on his trusty orange KTM Adventure, riding through war zones, Ebola-hit countries and blistering heat in deserts. But in less than three weeks of returning to his home city of Portsmouth thieves pinched the 47-year-old’s prized machine.
The bike was parked in Mayles Road, Milton, when it was stolen, at some point on bank holiday Monday.
‘I have travelled through 30 countries and been through so many armed checkpoints that I no longer think twice about people armed with guns or machetes,’ John said.
‘I’ve even left the bike in the middle of war-torn countries and in jungles.
‘But I come back to a place that’s supposed to be the pride of Britain and within three weeks it’s been stolen.
‘It really doesn’t say much about Britain. I have no interest in being here.’
John bought the bike in 2012 and tackled his first adventure later that year, riding around Europe and Morocco for three months.
Then, after divorcing his wife, John decided to take on his epic solo voyage across the world – which had been a dream since childhood.
His travels took him across Africa while the Ebola pandemic was at its height, South America, Central America, the east coast of the USA and Canada.
During his trip he has ridden through the notorious ‘death road’ of Bolivia and trekked through four deserts.
The adventure saw his bike being shipped across the world four times without incident.
‘For 18 months this bike has been my home, it’s irreplaceable. It’s like a friend to me,’ John said.
‘I only came back to England after I ran out of money. I’ve got no home here and I’m completely broke. Now I’m utterly homeless.’
Unemployed John had been a firefighter for more than 20 years, serving in Southsea and Fareham for much of that before he left the service.
He said the bike had been rebuilt four times and it was not worth much money. But to him, it was priceless.
‘For the last two years my life has been utterly incredible,’ added John.
‘I’ve made memories that I will never forget.’
John has reported the theft to police, who are now appealing for witnesses to the crime.
The bike, registration place KX55 NFA, was taken between bank holiday Monday and Tuesday morning.
John added he was worried it had been stripped for parts and possibly sold over online auction site eBay.
Anyone with information should call police on 101 quoting 44160165696.