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 !

Friday, February 29, 2008

London D-1 - Lastest Packing and Loading Tests

Exhausting motocross training yesterday but this was SO usefull - clearly a must for whoever is doing a long motorbike trip. Felt about 10 times during the day but learnt a lot about off-roard riding and the limit of the bike. One of the guy with us broke both his wrist and his ankle... didn't push myself too much at the end of the day when the fatigue kicked in but definitely got a taste of what we gonna get exposed to.

Today is D-1 for the London start. I packed up all the equipement and had a go at loading everything on the bike. This was not too bad; not much space left but the weight is not influencing the handling of the bike too much. Maddy will not have much space on the pillon seat though...

Drinks with a few friends tonight at the Westbourne Pub and then tomorrow is the London-Brussels leg. Weather is expected to deteriorate from Sunday onwards... rain rain rain all the way to Austria - Nicco, je vais arriver toute mouillée!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Mondsee - Odometre: 166km

I am in Mondsee, at home.
The new BM R1200GSA feels great. I hate driving on motorways but even there I like the bike.
The BM dealer made a big mistake and I now have to drive back to Munich tomorrow to get it fixed. In the ownership documents, instead of putting Hong Kong, for some unknown weird reason, they've entered USA...I can't really take the risk to check out if the 20 or so border guards who will look at my bike's reg doc won't know that HK is not am going back there to get it fixed.
Today, I spent the day trying to fix this on the phone + setting my bike up with all the equipment from Hong Kong. I also had to sort out our bike-to-bike intercom (these are the radios between Cyril and I so that we can chat while we drive) that didn't arrive.
Not very exciting for the first leg of the trip I know, but more to come...and pictures of the bike and the nice house at 7am in the morning (I am still a bit jet-lagged) tomorrow.
Cyril had his motocross training and he loved it even though it was really exhausting...just wait till we have motocross real live in Mongolia from 7am to 7pm bro.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

This is it!

This is it!
The adventure has started. I left my work yesterday amidst a lot of encouragement from my team. The closer we get to the starting date, the more excited and scared we are. Scared of the unknown that is expecting us.
Manon brought me to the airport for the final goodbye, she is really the best and nicest one. After leaving her at the airport, I realised this is the first time I will have such a long break away from Manon since I know her (nearly 10 years now). I was quite sentimental and as you can imagine I wasn't able to talk a lot in the mins after saying goodbye. I promised that time will fly and I will be back in 2 days...aiya, that might be a bit stretched.
During my flight I started my logbook and realised that the plane is taking a mere 12h15 for HK-MUC and it is going to take us the best part of 3 months to do exactly the same journey back!
I landed at 5h and am waiting at the airport for a few hours before the BMW dealer opens to pick-up my bike. I hope it opens at 9h and not 10h.
So I had a bit of time to stroll through the press shop here, what a great place, full of maps etc...that I wasn't able to find in Hong Kong.
If the bike is ready and it doesn't take me too much time to have the discussions with the mechanics and get to know the bike, I will head-off to Austria this afternoon.
I'll hope to write more tomorrow with a picture of my bike.
See you

Nicco on his way to Europe

Nicco has left Hong Kong and is now on his way to Europe. We should meet on March 4th in Austria for the official begining of our trip.

Almost There !

This week is for both Nicco and I our last week at work. Still a long to-do list and a lot of final details to iron out before the departure date... but no big hurdle on the horizon (touch wood!). Nicco is flying to Europe overnight and will be welcomed in Munich by his new flashy BMW. From there this will all become very real.

Un grand merci a Willy et au journal Sud Ouest pour cette article de soutien. En esperant pouvoir reporter en Juin de notre arrivee a Hong Kong sans encombres majeures... On n'y croit pas vraiment !

Friday, February 22, 2008

Kosovo... and now Turkey

Kosovo was close enough but not really on our planned itinerary. But now it is Turkey that just decided to invade Northern Irak. We were definitely expecting some action but not that early in the trip... Let's hope this does not turn our border-crossings into complete nightmares. The other thing is that if you look at the pictures of the Turkish troops, there is snow all over and it seems very cold. Still a month before we get there but let's hope things improve a bit.

Bought the Dover-Dunkerque ferry tickets yesterday - leaving the UK on March 1st to join Nicco in Austria on the 3rd. Becoming more and more real by the hour. Total respect to Nicco for dealing with these last minute bike problems with such a positive attitude. I have it easy in comparison.

Un vendredi de derniere preparations

Je suis arrive a 7h du mat pour lancer un deal a 7h30.
Vers 9h je suis alle decharger la moto et enlever tous les accessoires.
Apres, un mec est venu voir la moto et je pense qu'il est interesse a me l'acheter.
Entre temps, je devais rentrer a la maison avec mes boites et les accessoires.
J'ai du retourner au concessionaire pour leur donner tous les papiers, signer une feuille de transfer etc...
Finalement je suis alle a la poste pour chercher des cartons. J'ai mis les boites dans 1 carton. De retour a la poste pour envoyer le carton (arrive la bas 3mins avant la fermeture), pas de bol, les cartons sont accepte jusque 30kg et j'en avais 32.5kg, donc j'ai du ouvrir le carton, sortir des trucs, leur redonner et me voila finalement au boulot pour me reposer...
Bon weekend, j'ai encore des trucs a acheter/faire ici avant de partir.

Par contre point de vue moto il faut croire que c'est bon. J'ai acheter une moto hier soir a Munich. Elle m'attendra toute prete a mon arrivee mercredi. Je me fais envoyer les boites et autres par poste express en Autriche. Si j'arrive en plus a revendre ma moto avant de partir, ca serait le pied!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Visas... and new problems

Finally got most visas... love to see all those "completed" on the visacompany webpage. A big thank you to Anastasia. Both our passports left for Vienna yesterday night and the Turkmen visa should be ready by next week.

We are experiencing some last minute problem. Nicco is struggling with the shipping and is looking for help from BMW Munich. My landlord decided to kick Maddy and I out in 2 months... This is such a bad timing. Let's hope for the best; it should all come together in the end!

Turkmen visa and Bike shipping

For the Turkmen visa, we are sending our passports to their embassy in Vienna. They agreed to give us the transit visa we requested. Romain will then get the visa and come to Mondsee the weekend before we leave.
For the bike shipping, my wife is the best! Whilst I was so stressed yesterday of not getting anything sorted, she told me to call BMW in Munich and ask them for help. Not only did they provide with help (i.e. shipping by air is mucho difficile), they also provided me with a great used bike and guaranteed me that I will have the bike with all docs etc... in time for next wednesday. So the deal is, I sell my bike here (I got already a quote from BMW in HK which is higher than expected), buy a used one in Munich (and better bike) for less, get the taxes back and actually make money in the transaction...I love arbitrage!
I am crazy and going for this deal. Let's hope it all works out but the guys being Germans from Munich, I fully trust them.
See ya soon!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Final Details

We are finalising the last details and there is a lot more than expected... It looks like Nicco found a solution to our Turkem visa problem using the Austrian connection. Thanks so much Romano! The tires in Istanbul are almost sorted out, all the paper work is coming along nicely, the Transalp rides perfectly, getting my motorbike trousers tomorrow and the off-road training next week. What are we missing?. Niccolo is still working hard on the shipping of his bike; this could be a problem! It was snowing in Istanbul last week-end... F***ing Chopator - why can't get married in August just like everybody?

As the departure date approaches, it gets harder to realise that all of this is going to come true in only a few days. Constantly thinking that we forgot something or a bad piece of news will hit us - a good sign that we are well prepared some would say ! Probably this will look as a very foolish statement once we will hit our first off-road difficulties in the "Stans".

Monday, February 18, 2008

D-15 bis

Why D-15 bis?! because the start date has been set for the 4 March. Good, we have a few more days to breathe. We will probably have to leave without Turkmen visa, which is not ideal...but what is on such a trip.

Preparations are still ongoing. Yesterday my bike was crated at the BMW dealer in HK. I know need to find that friendly shipper that will let the bike on a plane and get it to Munich. I am pushing hard to get this done today or tomorrow to make sure I have a bit of legroom if anything goes wrong. Once this is done, I will be able to sleep tight again.

Preparations with work are not moving as fast as expected. I don't exactly know when to resign and what will happen from then onwards.

See ya soon good old Europe.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Preparations D-15

Hi all,
quite an exciting moment. The bike is nearly ready, most stuff has been bought, the route is pretty much set BUT now come the major last minute problems...get the bike air-shipped from Hong Kong to Munich for the start of the journey and the Turkmen don't want to give Cyril and I a transit visa!
I am still preparing the boxes and the getting used to the GPS and the equipment I am taking with me...anybody knows how to use a stove? How do you transfer the tracks from your GPS to a computer?
Anyhow small things compared to the last two big hurdles, leaving the bank and leaving my wonderful wife.
Leaving the bank doesn't sound as easy as it is...a lot of complications, negotiations etc. You think you solved an issue, the next one comes up.
Leaving the wife for this trip is clearly the one which will be the hardest. She is so lovely, so kind and I feel so bad to leave her in Hong Kong, but when one has a dream the other doesn't share....what to do? She understands I want to do this trip and has been great in the preparation by giving me courage to continue the preparation, but the leaving part isn't something we planned in depth.
Wish me luck in the last few days.
See ya in Europe soon.


- 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