The Achievable Dream 5-part series - the definitive guide on DVD for planning your motorcycle adventure. Get Ready! covers planning, paperwork, medical and many other topics! "Inspirational and Awesome!" See the trailer here!
Gear Up! is a 2-DVD set, 6 hours! Which bike is right for me? How do I prepare the bike? What stuff do I need - riding gear, clothing, camping gear, first aid kit, tires, maps and GPS? What don't I need? How do I pack it all in? Lots of opinions from over 150 travellers! "This DVD will save you a fortune!"See the trailer here!
So you've done it - got inspired, planned your trip, packed your stuff and you're on the road! This section is about staying healthy, happy and secure on your motorcycle adventure. And crossing borders, war zones or oceans!
On the Road! is 5.5 hours of the tips and advice you need to cross borders, break down language barriers, overcome culture shock, ship the bike and deal with breakdowns and emergencies."Just makes me want to pack up and go!" See the trailer here!
Tire Changing!Grant demystifies the black art of Tire Changing and Repair to help you STAY on the road! "Very informative and practical." See the trailer here!
Ladies on the Loose! For the first time ever, a motorcycle travel DVD made for women, by women! These intrepid women share their tips to help you plan your own motorcycle adventure. They also answer the women-only questions, and entertain you with amazing tales from the road! Presented by Lois Pryce, veteran solo traveller through South America and Africa and author of 'Lois on the Loose', and 'Red Tape and White Knuckles.'
"It has me all fired up to go out on my own adventure!" See the trailer here!
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Planning my route from Russia -> China, I plan to go through as much of Central Asia as I can, along with Iran and Pakistan, into the KKH and China.
I have been reading up a lot, and most places seem full of beauty, intrigue and history. The only place I seem to be getting a bit of a negative vibe is Kazakhstan. I don't want to write a place off that is that big, and surely must have plenty going for it, and so would like some pointers of places/experiences that would make it worth wile. It also sits nicely on our route. The LP only made the far south east sound interesting. Surely thats not the case?
Hi, I haven't had a chance to look into them yet, but a friend who now works in Almaty gave me the following response when I asked about places to visit (I assume that they're focused on the Almaty region):
"Since you are here by bike, take the bike to the mountains and see the great Almaty lake. Go hiking. It will be hard to breath in the city, but you could go see some mandatory places in Almaty. Drive to Charyn canyon, a small version of the Grand Canyon or go see the singing dune. You could also take the bike all the way to Issyk-kul via the mountains."
Hope that this helps. I have also heard that Kyrgyzstan is amazing.
Kazakhstan is ace! Depending on your route it would be very hard to avoid.
What is your route? I went out through the Caucasus and got a boat to Turkmenistan (great trip!) then through the Stan's into Russia (couldn't afford the guide fee on my own for China).
I assume that you will be taking the Torugart pass route via Kashgar? In this case you will have to go through Kazakhstan to either get to Kyrgzstan then China or to get from China/Kyrg to Russia. I suppose you could try illegally re-entering China and skirting through the Northern Tien Shan hoping to evade detection but I would certainly feel safer being a nice official tourist in KZ!
Do go to Almaty, the city is big beyond belief but on clear days navigation is aided by the mountains, which also provide a great backdrop. I met very few tourists in Almaty (i.e. none) but the locals were friendly and helpful. I rocked up at 2.am having rode from Shymkent, arrived at what I was later informed was the 'bad' part of town, and still managed to find a room to rent in an apartment block (look out for the word gastinsta, but spelt in Russian), and they found a guarded parking (Staiyanka) with an empty storage bit right next to the guards hut, with a massive lock! All this was done without speaking any Russian and not a single bad 'vibe'. Almaty has the only bike club in central asia as far as I know (my town moto). These guys are awesome, great social calendar, lots of interesting members, a few overlanders, lots of Mongolian experience and most surprisingly very fast bikes. They either go off-roading in the mountains (amazing forest tracks) or go blasting around on sports bikes (brand new fireblades, R1's etc !!??!?!). They found me spares, fed me, got me drunk, taught me a variety of phrases to say to cops (dont EVER try any of them!)
The roads in southern Kazakhstan rival the very best in europe, and if I go back I will be tempted to take a sports bike!! Admittedly in the north the roads get worse as there is no real economic activity but they are nowhere near as bad as Mr McGregor seemed to find them..... Also you do NOT need a police escort. As with all police stop, helmet off, big smile, glove off and immediately present a handshake - this works every time and you don't even need to fake it, they are great fun and break up the ride if you choose to view them positively
I travelled north to the desolate nuclear testing ground around Semipatalinsk. Semi is one of the worst looking cities I have ever been in - nothing has been built since the 60's and most people fled the city giving it a bit of a ghost town feel. I found a massive empty hotel and when the 'porter' dawdled in and saw me having a fag on the steps he nearly had a heart attack, guests are rare, tourists unheard of.
KZ has great fuel and is rightly proud of it (76 Octane in UZ was common, 96 in KZ was de-rigeur)
I also heard a lot of bad things about KZ and was a bit nervous when I first arrived, but be nice and good things will happen to you.
The whole country has great landscape, rolling green pastures, intersting little hills, dirty great mountains, lakes and a very very big very very empty feel.
If you go via Astana there is apparrently some stuff worth seeing, and this road will go past the best part of Lake Balkash. The road from Astana to Almaty will be finished by now and will undoubtedly be so good that it might get a bit dull on a 4x4, but Kyrgyzstan will make up for that!
Don't know about the border on the main road in from Russai, I exited into Russia at a very small border post north of Semi, very easy (maybe 2 hours..)
Ah John ..... OK. I thought they build the KKH together after solving border disputes in that region.
Any further information you have would be great. I'd read a lot of blogs about people travelling it, but can't for the life of me remember if they were all going one way. Wow you just don't expect that. Well now I might
Thanks for the tip anyhow. Off to do some research myself .....
I'd read a lot of blogs about people travelling it, but can't for the life of me remember if they were all going one way. Wow you just don't expect that. Well now I might
I would ask the people at CaravanCafé. They should know.
I think that EVERY blog I have read, they go from China to Pakistan. Those in Pakistan seem to ride/drive up to the border. Take the picture and ride down again.
I'm riding from China down... will be there (at the border), at the beginning of July. Cant wait!
From my replies from Steve at the Caravan Cafe it would appear you are wrong A quote from the email:
'Entering China via Khunjerab Pass from Pakistan should not be a problem, but this would be if you are entering after May 1. Khunjerab Pass is closed yearly for the winter and does not open until May 1 each year. If you want to enter earlier, then either Irkeshtam or Torugart Pass (from Kyrgyzstan) or Korgas (from Kazakhstan) would be the likely choices.'
But I can only thank you for putting me in touch with him. His email is very thorough and helpful and if going to act as the basis of my research for our route through China. So many thanks for that. I don't know if you might be intested in the rest of the email, is so I can send it on to you, or post it here if you think it may be of interest to others.
We're going with a Caravan guide towards the end of July. Whilst we would love to be free to roam in China, not being able to stitch up the 2 halves to our trip would be a dealbreaker...
FYI, apparently a new requirement has been added lately. "In addition to the other images and docs that I said were required, we have just been informed today that motorcycle vehicle registration docs and any safety or emissions test documents are required. These docs were not required in past years. This news is timely for you. I have 2 Italians who are due to enter in just over 2 weeks and this will be a hassle for them to get to me."
I sorted this by faxing a letter requesting a certificate of conformity and an emissions schedule for my specific frame number to BMW Homologation Department – Fax 01344 480 173. They got back to me with 2 official looking letters along with stamps, logos and signatures. I'll also use the MOT cert. In my eyes, the more bits of paper with signatures and stamps that you can throw at people, the better! Finding somewhere to test emissions on a motorcycle proved to be quite difficult as it's not part of the MOT.
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