• Some basic montages from Nepal - Lower Mustang. Himalayas are freakin' awesome. @antipodean - if you're heading up further, Ladakh/etc... I'm rather jealous.
    I've only put together 2 videos so far - 1 for each of the first two quarters of the trip...

    1st quarter, fairly boring, just trying to show how mad the traffic is...

    2nd quarter - heading up the actual Mustang Valley, with sweet "roads"...

  • Looks like I won't be riding the Vitim bridge any time soon now:

  • @kruse That traffic is mental. The tour hits some high peaks, Sarchu and up to Khardung La pass, ~5300m. Should be breath taking. 😃

  • So... 10,000 miles under the belt, with a couple of days off in Lhasa.
    I've been writing near-daily updates on my own website/blog if anybody's interested, but generally get in each night too tired to really do it justice.
    But - figured I'd update the Fern on one of the very recent highlights.
    Mount Everest.
    HolyFuckBalls - how awesome.
    The road up to the Tibet Base Camp - absolutely amazing. I don't know how many switchbacks there were - one person cited 200, another mentioned 348 - and I genuinely don't know if these are exaggerations or not. I've never done Stelvio Pass, which is apparently considered one of the best motorcycle roads in the world... but a few others in the group have. And the general consensus was... Stelvio Pass has absolutely nothing on this road.
    Personal accomplishment - managed to scrape a foot-peg for the first time ever, and it was with knobbly tyres.
    And then - at the end, a big magnificent bastard of a mountain.
    The very first viewpoint, where we stopped for our first long-range view of Everest... it was a little weird... the road is now completely tarmac, but there was still somehow enough dust around to get in a few eyes, my own included.
    And then - when we got up to Base Camp (the 'tourist' one, at Rongbuk Monastery - not the actual climbers base camp) - with Everest framed by the valley... cool as fuck. Just sat there for a couple of hours soaking the magnificent bastard in.
    A portion of the road down the north side of the pass on the way to Rongbuk...
    Representing Aotearoa with the black woollen singlet, Red Bands, etc...

  • @Kruse said in Advice: I am seriously considering buy a Harley Davidson:

    I've been writing near-daily updates on my own website/blog if anybody's interested

    Found the link:

  • @Duluth Yeah - cheers - didn't want to spam the board with other website links unless anybody was actually interested.

  • @Kruse said in Motorcyclin':

    Figured it was beyond time that a dedicated thread for Fern Bikers (of the leathers type, not lycra) was started, rather than just continuing to hijack @raznomore 's request for advice on buying a tractor(/Harley).
    Mods - no idea if it's worth the time moving across any of the later stuff from that thread...
    But in any case - to get things started, I'll try to summarise what I've been doing for the last 4 months, as it's been pretty much living on a couple of bikes...
    3 months riding a 2018 Triumph Tiger 800 XCA from the Ace Cafe in London, to the Ace Cafe in Beijing
    And just under 1 month riding a 2019 Mustang Shineray 150cc around Mongolia
    More complete details, and photos, are on the blog I updated fairly regularly - ... but it is a lengthy read, I was pretty much using it as a diary to jog my own memory later - rather than making it a public-friendly/interesting read.

    I moved them here.. unfortunately they all ended up after your new post

  • So - 2019 London - Beijing
    In general...

    • A group "expedition" - organised by a company called GlobeBusters. For the last decade or so, every 2nd year they do a London-Beijing trip, and every other year - Trans-Americas (Alaska-Patagonia).
      I would recommend them - they did a great job of organising, support, etc. One thing to note - it was rather pricey, and that would mostly be down to using very high-quality hotels (where possible)... my ideal would have been a cheaper trip, with cheaper hotels, and maybe a nice 4-star once every week or two, whenever stopping for 2 nights - to get a good break/laundry-done.

    • Started off from London's Ace Cafe with 20 bikes (mostly BMW GS, 3 Triumphs, 1 Ducati, 1 Honda CB500) and 2 support vehicles - a pimped-out Hilux, and a Mercedes van big enough to take a bike (or two at a pinch). The group was larger than I'd expected/hoped... and it did slow things down at borders or when choices of petrol stations was... limited.
      But - it gradually shrank over time...
      2 bikes had opted to only go as far as Almaty, another 2 only as far as Lhasa, and 1 guy came off with about 10 days to go - breaking half-a-dozen ribs, mangling his front-forks into a shape they definitely shouldn't be, and choosing to fly back to the UK rather than "be a tourist" by riding in either support vehicle or catching a train to Beijing.

    • Ace Cafe at each end gave us a decent send-off/welcome.... London shouted us fish'n'chips the night before departure, and then breakfast the next day - with speeches and such bollocks
      Beijing welcomed us with bottles of cheap bubbly to spray all over the place, sweet cold beers, a decent spread, all sorts of "merch"... and speeches and such bollocks

    Western-ish Europe...
    From London to Turkey is a vague memory, but...

    • UK, France, Germany, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-and-Herzegovina, Albania, Montenegro, Greece
    • Most of it was just getting the miles under the belt, trying to get out of Western Europe ASAP... quite well planned though, to keep the interest up... typically being a couple-hundred miles of motorway, and then an hour or so of some sweet twisties or country-roads, or something else a little more interesting - before reaching the hotel. So each evening, the recent/residual memory was the "fun bit"


    • 3 nights in Istanbul - the first time we'd stopped for more than a single night. I'd never been before, so ticked off the major touristy things
    • Safranbolu - nice enough old town, with an absolutely shite museum
    • Cappadocia, Mount Nemrut & Ani


    • Tbilisi - rather cool city, very unexpected. Very "bohemian", or "hip", or something... without (much) wankiness that typically comes with those words. Reminded me of a less self-aware Melbourne. Plenty of the old-world stuff (ancient statues, cobblestone streets, bathhouses), and then craft-beer pubs, weird-modern architecture, wine-bars.
      Oh - and look up the 1907 Tiflis Bank Robbery
    • Azerbaijan - the sign from Georgia announcing that you're approaching the Azerbaijan border also proclaims at the bottom "Good Luck!". An excellent little dig at one's neighbour
    • Caspian Sea - we caught the "ferry" from Baku to Turkmenbashi - a 13 hour crossing

    The 'Stans

    • Turkmenistan - interesting. Probably most people's choice as "least favourite country of the trip" - but it would be a contender for my Top-3... solely as it was interesting. This is a country where it's essentially still a totalitarian rule... by a nutter.
      Roads - mostly pretty shit, extended periods where they seemed to have laid black glass instead of tarmac. Not cool in the rain - we had one GS go down at reasonably high speed, no major damage to rider or bike
    • Uzbekistan - stopped at several classic Silk Road towns - Khiva, Bukhara, Samarkand
    • Tajikistan - Probably my favourite country...
      The Tunnel of DEATH! - which was an interesting experience, but not one I'd want on my daily commute
      The adherence to Islam was very much waning this far east, and some of the ladies certainly had that "adultery-isn't-really-that-bad-of-a-sin" sparkle in their eyes
      The (bike) riding once we hit the Wakhan Valley/Pamir Highway... awesome. Riding along the Afghanistan border, unmaintained dirt roads along hill-sides, following rivers... so much fun... videos to come
    • Kyrgyzstan - the first peek at high-altitude passes, and fermented horse-milk. Some reasonably fun rural dirt roads, absolutely crazy drivers, and corrupt traffic-police armed with speed-radar-guns.
    • Kazakhstan - pretty much just a few days in Almaty, resting


    • Border Crossing, at high altitude - a full day to just get physically across the border. Then 2 days stuck in Kashgar, getting the bikes' paperwork sorted.
    • Xinjiang province - oppressive. Police checkpoints everywhere, a very very police-state feel about the whole place. I probably shouldn't write too much about it, sitting here in a Beijing hotel not using VPN, but... look it up. Xinjiang, and the "Uighur problem".
    • Tibet - the story goes that Tibet is now essentially "pacified" - and the guy that managed that, has been moved on to Xinjiang.
      There were certainly far less police checkpoints, etc - but still some
      But anyway - Tibet... awesome. Altitude, obviously. Snow-riding - not fun, when I'd swapped the visor out for goggles during the previous dirt road sections.
      Mount Everest - I've already posted about that... just awesome. The mountain itself - just being there - literally brought tears to several bikers' eyes. And the road to get up to Base Camp... motorcycle heaven. So many switchbacks... and chinese road rules - so safe overtaking is very much optional.
      And then - the Tibet-Sichuan highway - the G318 - some sections, contenders as being even better than the Everest Base Camp road. On a bike, dodging chinese fuckknuckles in Land-Cruiser-Prados - just great fun.
    • Sichuan - some decent scenery, but the roads were already becoming rather "tame" compared to the previous month or two... so just ticking off tourist boxes on the way up to Beijing... Chengdu - pandas, check.
    • Shaanxi - Xi'an - great city, with a couple of days off to rest/relax/drink, and more of the touristy stuff... Terracotta Warriors - I'd seen about 15 years ago - not a single bit of more excavation has been done since then, but there are shiny new restaurants/souvenir-shop complexes.
    • Shanxi - at this point, we're just trying to get to Beijing, on roads absolutely rammed full of the infamous "red trucks" - what are presumably state-owned trucks, shipping coal from mines to power stations. Hundreds of them... thousands. I've got a video where I passed about 200 of them all queued up. So - lots of trucks, lots of coal-dust... doesn't make for traditionally enjoyable riding. Does, however, make for some very inventive interpretation of road rules at times... I was swerving up onto pavement to get around trucks, nipping back from the wrong side of the road into the middle of a police checkpoint, taking shortcuts through building sites, rice-fields, whatever.
    • And finally Beijing - made it, 16,500 miles, I think I remember my GPS unit claimed.
      Beers were had.

  • Just wow! That's and amazing trip.

    I never got my bike but its still on the list. I have an eye issue that I need to resolve before I can even drive let alone ride a bike.

  • Great topic. About time we had one for two wheels!

    I would be interested in what any Ferners may be riding.

    I got into motorcycling at 15 when I used to jump on my sister's scooter every chance I got. I then graduated to a 50cc, a 125, a crazy two stroke RD350 and then an XJ900.

    The XJ900 introduced me to touring with trips around the South Island mainly.

    I had a break from riding from about 2000 to around 2015 when I bought myself a CBR1100 Blackbird. Great bike but riding for hours on end left me sore so I got an FJR1300.

    Love touring on a bike and next year for a milestone birthday the missus has given me the go ahead to plan a riding holiday. I have a few options in mind - ride my bike around Australia, buy or rent a bike in the US/Canada, or buy/rent in Europe. Ideally if I bought overseas I would love to find somewhere to store it for a year or two worth of visits.

  • Anyone else like older trail bikes?

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  • @jegga said in Motorcyclin':

    Anyone else like older trail bikes?

    Got a 1983 Suzuki TS100 slowly being restored.

    But main interest is in road bikes - have a 1988 GSX550 which needs a quick refresh this autumn and on the lookout for a Honda 350/4 or a '90's VRF750.

    Bought a Honda 250 Rally a couple of years ago with a view to do some greenlaning in Cornwall. The greenlaning went by the roadside pretty quickly - found my ankles and knees are way past it - but it's brilliant on the tight rough lanes and roads.

    Pic of a great ride on the edge of Bodmin Moor below. The search for the perfect ride is never-ending...


  • @Victor-Meldrew I spotted a mint condition Honda 400/4 the other night in Wellington. I haven’t seen one in ages .

    There was some weird rule in Japan that meant they didn’t the high capacity bikes overseas markets did or they had really high road taxes . I met this Japanese guy a few years back who was riding the length of NZ on a really nice CBX six cylinder he bought here . He reckoned the profit from selling it back in Japan was going to pay for his holiday . He was looking for a Z1300six cylinder but found that , jammy bastard.

  • @jegga

    Yeah, think there is/was a 400cc restriction on bikes in Japan There's loads of mint 400/4's for sale in the UK at crazy prices. There's a whole industry restoring that particular bike.

    Classic bike prices have gone thru the roof in the last couple of years. I've seen tatty CX500's for sale at £3-4k.

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