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.
Monday, April 27, 2009
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
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.
Saturday, May 24, 2008
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.
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
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
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).
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
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.
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.
A BIG THANK YOU TO:
- 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
- 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