Round the world with bit of a stretch

Guido Kanaar and Lilian van der Wijngaart in Dunedin yesterday. Photo by Linda Robertson.
Guido Kanaar and Lilian van der Wijngaart in Dunedin yesterday. Photo by Linda Robertson.

Yoga is probably the last thing you would expect to see a hardened, windswept biker doing.

But Guido Kanaar (47) and wife Lilian van der Wijngaart (46) say it is one of the best things for the body after a long day in the saddle.

The Dutch couple have travelled half way around the world on their BMW motorcycles during the past year - overland from their home in Deventer, in the Netherlands, through Turkey, Iran, Russia, Mongolia, China and Malaysia.

They flew to Auckland from Malaysia with their motorcycles just before Christmas, and have since been exploring New Zealand.

"You get, how do you call it, some problems with your body sometimes - like sore knees or sore elbows from the clutch, stuff like that. They are just sore because you are sitting a long time.

"But we both do yoga at nights to keep our bodies in good shape. You have to stretch yourself sometimes. You have to keep your body fit,'' Mr Kanaar said.

The 35,000km journey was not like riding around the block.

It was dangerous at times and could be very hard on the body.

"In Mongolia there are almost no roads. My wife had an accident over there with two broken ribs and a collapsed lung, after she fell off in the sand quite hard. She spent some time in hospital, but she got on the bike again.

"It was only a small hiccup in our trip.''

While the duo have loved their tour of New Zealand, they said the highlight of their journey so far had been China.

"The highlight has been China because it's such a different country. Nice people, good food, so different from how we live in Western society.

"The people in Iran are very, very friendly, which has also been a highlight for me,'' Mr Kanaar said.

The pair plan to visit Central Otago next week, before heading north, and eventually returning to the Netherlands in March.

john.lewis@odt.co.nz

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