Vladivostok to Western Europe - how long?
I am looking at a 4-6 week Russian Trip in July 09
I have worked out it is easy to ship my bike from Australia to Vladivostok and am trying to work out whether to ride in a big loop around Siberia and the Russian Far east and Mongolia or just keep heading East until I get to somewhere in Europe where it will be reasonably easy to put my bike on a ship back to Australia.
I have a maximum of six weeks for the whole trip so my questions are:
1) Is it worth spending the whole time in Far East Russia and Mongolia, or
2) Is a run from Vlad to Western Europe a reasonable ride in the time frame. As a general rule I would not want to ride more than 6 hours a day on average
3) Any left field suggestions for a better trip in this time / time-frame?
it all depends:rolleyes2:
i know a man who rode from Moscow to Vladik in 10 days on his AFRICA TWIN ( and this was three years ago when the road near chita was total mess)
i know a couple who travelled from odessa to baikal lake on 50 cc THREE MONTHS
in your situation i suggest the following:
make all the way from vladik to western russian border two weeks ( if you need to plus mongolia it'll take at least three days more)
then have your europe holydays for two more weeks
then go back to moscow and put your bike into a train to vladivostok ( it's easy and trains are every second day) you bike will be in Vladik in six days
you go back there by plane, there ship all the stuff to the motherland.
OR TURN EVERYTHING upside down - send the bike to Msk from Vladik, start whith old europe then go deeper into chaos - move east.
in both cases you'll be able to cut yor route if short of time.
and i dont think it will be easy to find shipping to your side of planet from europe.
I like the idea of starting in Moscow and riding East to Vlad over a month or so and then just shipping bike by sea freight to Australia or even maybe taking the ferry over to Japan or Korea and shipping back from there. I've b een looking at the lonely planet guide to the areas traversed by the Trans-Siberian railway which maps out a fairly interesting route that still takes me through some civilisation if necessary. I don't need a lot of civilisation since I want to make it a camping adventure where possible.
I want to take a fairly leisurely trip but also don't want to get stuck in the middle of nowhere for so long that I get back to Australia and find out I've lost my job for desertion!
I've contacted a few firms discussed elsewhere on this site to investigate air freight to Moscow from Australia.
in case you interested in uncivilisated ride between MSk and Vladik only you'd better buy a bike here in russia . but in this case i doubt you'll be able to enter mongolia ( ride out russia i mean).
come to Vladik buy a bike and go west. then sell a bike here in msk or S.-Peterburg and fly home. if you go north from MSk you,ll see beautiful Karelia ( uncivilised:cool4:)
this plan is accurate in your timeframe.
or it could be easier to rent a bike in Vladik( oficially) any way if you deside to do so i present you a very useful contact in Vladivostok, the traveller guy, who can really help whith all the paperwork and so.
www.sinus.vl.ru that's the guy
You've got a couple of options...
Check out some of my GPS tracks to find out about some of the riding... If you get the garmin track files you can convert them to text with gps babel open them in a spreadsheet program, and have a look at what speeds etc I was typically doing in various stages.
It took me 131 days to ride from Vlad to London but only because I had the time and really loved Russia and her people. I frequently stooped in one place for five days or more.
The minimum time I reckon it would take would take at least 12 days to ride from Vladivostok to the German border. It's about 12,000 km, so you'd be looking at 1000 km per day which is pretty tough on the old arse. That wouldn't give you much time to do anything else though, and I would have to say that doing it in 12 days would be very risky.
You also need to assume that YOU DON'T HAVE AN ACCIDENT! You need to consider the possibility of an accident or breakdown. It easily take over FOUR WEEKS for spare parts to arrive from Europe, as a friend of mine found out.
After my experience I would DEFINITELY travel from East to West. Why?
1. The east is much cheaper and more relaxed. As you travel you will learn tricks to work the system, figure out what a good deal is etc etc and meet people along the way who will have friends in the west. You'll make some expensive mistakes, but an expensive mistake in the East is a lot cheaper than an expensive mistake in the west.
2. You'll feel like you're making progress towards 'the western world' as you're moving west. Things will slowly become more familiar, the roads will improve and you'll feel more comfortable with the crazy drivers, which become more numerous, as time goes on.
3. You'll get tired as you travel. Heading west has its advantages - the road gets better, and the service generally improves.
4.The population also increases and people will admire you for surviving the east. This brings a certain credibility which will get you offers of food and accommodation. I'm serious by the way. We were frequently called 'heros' and held in high regard for surviving the East, even though it was a snip.
5. When you get to Europe, shipping your bike back to Aus will be a snip. Just got to Rotterdam or Hamburg, or where ever and they'll chuck your bike on the next available boat. The shipping guys will speak English and the documentation will be simple. You'll be able to pick up a proper motorbike shipping crate free from any motorbike shop.
I simply shipped my bike to korea from Auckland, got on the ferry from Sokcho, korea to Zaurubino, Russia paid the customs guy $100 in exchange for the right documentation, bought some 3rd party insurance in Vlad and rode off into the sunset. My bike had New Zealand plates on it.
I would NOT try to hire or buy a bike in Russia unless you can speak the language. There is a good chance that any bike that you buy there will be worn out and over priced. You also need to consider that, being a foreigner, you probably won't be able to get number plates. I could be wrong about that though, but given the trouble I went to just to get a SIM card for my cell phone, (three days of going from office to office) I wouldn't want to try and get a number plate...
And what about doing your reliability prep before you leave? I made sure my bike was absolutely tip-top. A bearing failure or whatever could put you out by weeks if you don't have a spare. If you don't know what bike you will be getting if you were to buy one in Russia, how the hell can you plan what spares you're going to take?
Another reason for taking my own bike: you can practise pulling it apart and putting it back together in the comfort of your own garage, because when you're out on the steppes in 40 degree heat with millions of bugs, you don't want to be looking through the manual trying to figure out how to take the back wheel out to fix your puncture.
The other option is to get a bike in Europe, which should be doable if you get one with British or German plates.
I don't think I'd ride towards the East though, because you'll inevitably start to race towards the end, and miss out on the best bits.
Check out my gps files here
If you want to enjoy it, I'd give it 5 weeks minimum. - that's about 350 km per day average.
If you want to know more, chuck me an email
russiantraverse <AT> gmail <DOT> com
Thanks for all of this it is really helpful. I fully agree on the need to take my own bike and am just starting the process of pulling mine down into component pieces and putting it back together again.
I'll be in touch as plans develop.
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