This is the travelblog of Cyril Ducau and Niccolo Manno on their adventure from London (Cyril), Munich (Niccolo) to Hong Kong on motorbikes.
It took us short of 3 months to do 20,000km on bikes, trains and planes. We crossed the following countries together:

Austria - Italy - Slovenia - Croatia - Serbia - Bulgaria - Turkey - Georgia - Azerbaijan - Turkmenistan - Uzbekistan - Kyrgyzstan - Kazakhstan - Russia - Mongolia - China - Hong Kong

On this site you will find some info on both of us, our bikes, some of our friendly helpers in Hong Kong and London and loads of pictures on our trip. 

Latest top picture

Latest top picture
Thanks for watching our blog - Enjoy as we did it!

Our path

Our path
Click picture to download Google Earth kmz file !

Monday, April 27, 2009

The adventure continues...not for us

Hi guys, "normal" life continued for both Cyril and me, but for some other people the exciting adventure life is still full-on! 
Yesterday, I met-up with Michel, a friend we met during our adventure in Tashkent (Uzbekistan) and he finally made it to Hong Kong. Whilst HK was the end of the adventure for us, for him, it's just a small stop during his huge adventure, to ride around the world over several years in a tricycle. 
Both Cyril and I wish him a lot of good experience and luck for the next months/years to come! 
Safe riding!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Finally Hong Kong




We arrived in Hong Kong, our final destination on this trip (Cyril still got to go to London) Monday night. We were both relieved and happy that we both arrived healthy, but somehow sad that the journey is ended.
I was more than glad to sleep in MY bed, such a great feeling. Cyril on the other hand was clearly missing me in his room after all, I broke the tradition. 
Cyril seemed to be impressed about the city and its super-high skyscrapers whilst I just found it reassuring to be back.
We met good HK friends yesterday night for a drink and celebrated the successful completion of this adventure.
Today's biggest mission will be to get our BLOODY BEARD shaved! I hope we'll find a good barber.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Beijing

After 30hrs in the train we have finally arrived in Beijing. I was so excited in the train and couldn't sleep as I was going to see Manon again after 3 months. I picked her up at the airport and was soooo glad to see her again. She was quite shocked to see her Barbarossa. She really doesn't like my beard, I wonder why...

We are staying at Laurent's (a friend from HK) place. Thank you so much for the hospitality Lolo.



Beijing is so modern and so big that it seems impressive in particular coming from Ulaanbaatar. We spent today visiting the forbidden city, some smaller roads and the parks in the centre of the city. We had an excellent day of visits with Manon. We really appreciated the nice warm weather after all the cold we had along the trip. We were sweating but at least we got excellent shots of Beijing.

Tomorrow we will go and see the Great Wall.

Ciao Mongolia and our Motorbikes

Our last 48-hours in UB were quite hectic and after visting the cultural highlights of the city, a day rock-climbing in the Terelji Natural Park (only a few kilometers away from UB) and a lot of time trying to sort out the shipping of the bikes we finally left beautifull Mongolia.
The shipping of the bikes proved so far to be far more complicated than expected and despite spending a lot of time running around UB and opting for the safe (and more expensive) option with DHL, we have still a lot of doubts that the bike will ever make it back home. We spent most of day last Wednesday at a timber factory dismounting the bikes in the smallest possible space and watching the crates litterally being custom-bulit around the bikes. Quite impressive indeed even if the bill turned out to be much more than expected...
We left UB onboard the Transiberian on Thursday morning for a 30-day journey to Beijing. This is exactely what one would expect from such a trip; nice landscapes and most of the time is spent reading and sleeping in a 4-people cabin. The border crossing process was fairly simple but we were quite impressed by the change of wheels on the train wagons to accomodate for the different systems between Mongolia and China. They separate the entire train, elevate each cars 2meters above the ground and change all the wheel-base.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Waiting in UB

Yesterday was a bad day for me. I hoped the mechanics would come to see if he could repair my suspension and he never came. The guesthouse is far from town and hence I spent the day reading...not bad to have a real quiet day.
Today, we went in town and visited some remaining cultural sights and museums.
Tomorrow we expect to crate the bikes and to ship them back home...byebye girls, we will miss ya!

Albert to answer some of your questions:
I had the suspension pre-load 7 clicks out and the damper 1 turn out, so I was riding full hard suspension. I was travelling lighter than usual as we left some stuff in UB, so it must have been premature failing.
For China, if you have no ties to China, go for it and ride illegally but it seems with HK in the back of your mind, I wouldn't try it. China will open-up at some time and then we will be able to check it out. If you need any more advice, post me a private chat on the HUBB and I will give you my details.
Good luck on your trip, you will love it.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Gobi - the end it is...or so it seems right now

Yesterday was a good and a very bad day...good as the weather was alright and we finally left Ulaanbaatar to go into the Gobi desert for a 5-day tour, the last destination for our bikes...bad as my rear suspesion broke down in the middle of the desert! This meant, riding back ultra slowly (1st and sometimes 2nd gear) and with no traction on the rear tyre, finding a small truck and then riding in the truck back to UB. We left at around 10ish and arrived in UB in the guesthouse at dark past 21h30, hence a long but fun day of driving for Cyril who felt like a Paris-Dakar competotor. By the way, Cyril's carbs were playing up a bit again, so both bikes suffered in the end...it seems they are just screaming STOP!!!
Unless I find someone that can repair the suspension today or tomorrow, this means the end of the trip for the bikes (they'll thank us for that).
The desert was interesting as so different from all the other places we have been so far in Mongolia. It was great riding again and the track were ok. I realised that Cyril and I had really got the hang out of the offroad riding as we weren't scared of sand, corugated tracks etc... and mastered the bikes well and with quite high speed.
This morning we washed the bikes - in case someone wants to buy them and mine was full of oil from the suspension - and Cyril also cleaned his carburtor one more time (full of dust - the air filter is definitely dead).

The next steps are shipping the bikes back home (not so simple...), taking the Transsiberian to Beijing next Thursday and flying to HK on Monday 26th. This will mark the official end of the trip.

We've posted new pictures in the photo album.
See you soon!
Chopat tu vas prendre cher.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

SOS Children Village Ulaanbaatar

Today, we spent some time with SOS Children Village in Ulaanbaatar.
It was great to be amongst the children, to talk to their SOS mothers and the admin staff.
The children really enjoyed the view of two men with beard on their bikes. They sat on our bikes, started the engines and reved them so high, Cyril and I were a bit worried, but it was fun.
(Cyril and Nicco in a SOS Children Village home)

SOS Children Village Ulaanbaatar looks after 130 children in Ulaanbaatar and are building a new village up North, in Darkhan. The children come from numerous backgrounds but with one need, the love of a family. SOS gives them a mother and the required attention to give the kids a chance to succeed in life. The children are taken-up in the village at 0-10 years old and usually stay until they finished school (18 years old). SOS Children Village also does some parenting courses in order to reduce the amount of orphans and mistreated children (nothing beats a good working biological family).

(Cyril going for a spin)

(Nicco going for a spin)

Please remember that we are raising funds for SOS Children Village. Click on the link to the right and give them any donation or alternatively use the account details I sent in my first email. The best way is to "adopt" a child with a small monthly donation. Please remember that SOS is a private charity and hence doesn't receive any government funds, so we need to act.

Thanks for your help, the children will love you for that.

Future steps in our journey

Hi all,

yesterday night we slept over a very important question and this morning we discussed it in length and we decided not to proceed through China. The likelyhood of us getting through without permits (we have visas though) is minimal and the risk of getting caught inside the country with a foreign registered bike and no Chinese driving licence is too high as this would mean an expulsion and potentially a persona ingrata (lifelong ban of entering China), not something we wish to put on our resume when we look for a job (me in HK!). In particular now that the Chinese government is focusing on the olympics.



We had several options (one was doing the return journey using the transiberian but the Russian consulate needs 12 days for a visa!) and we decided to spend more time in Mongolia, ship the bikes home, take the train to Beijing and then fly to HK to end the journey.



We plan to sort out the shipping tomorrow (we already talked to DHL today) and will then head for the Gobi desert.

The Mongolian Videos

video

Nico's Mongolian ride...

video

Cyril's Mongolian ride

video

F...ing Mongolian petrol!

video

Gentle river crossing

video

Riding the steppe- where s the road again?

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Tuuunnnna !

video

Cold morning

A BIG THANK YOU TO:

Cyril:
- Maddy, the head of our "London HQ", special technical and weather advisor, and because she is simply the best and has been so supportive over the last few months
- My family and friends for their understanding and moral support
- Robert Roe (alias Bob) from Motoselect Franham for preparing the bike with such good care
- Anastasia from thevisacompany for helping me deal with so much red tape
- Claudio von Planta for sharing his valuable experience on Long-way Round and Long-way Down and answering so many of our questions
- Ronnie, Emmanuel and Benjamin for their enthusiast support and precious advise
- The Techtransalp team for their excellent website and advertising our adventure

Niccolo:
- clearly Manon as she has always been supportive of this trip even though this means 3 months without me
- My mother for not giving up on me, for receiving all the parcels at home in Austria and for not freaking out!
- Amy and Steve for pushing over several months to keep focus on the organisation
- Xavier, for trusting me to be in France in June and be his best man at his wedding
- Cyril, for posting our tracks on the blog
- Louis, for looking into getting Continental to sponsor us
- Romain, for getting us the Turkmen visas
- My friends for all telling me "DO IT"!
- Claudio von Planta, Sambor and Maciej for sharing their great experiences on their numerous motorbike trips
- Henry, Yau and Tan from BMW HK for their support with the bike, the preparation and the bike sale
- Yasser, Mark, Michael and Christoph from BMW Munich for their help with all the accessories and the last minute bike purchase
- Bertrand and Alice for your help with the tyres in Almaty