Mongolia to UK trail ride
My friend and I are currently planning a trip for this September 2010 travelling from Ulanbataar to UK (home), the trip is going to be as off the beaten track as possible (we will be carrying plenty of fuel to hopefully really explore) - trying to avoid tarmac as long as we can - theme of our trip "Muddy Miles from Mongolia." We are both fairly young and fit (IMHO) and are relishing a challenging route...
From what I have seen and read, we will have no problems staying muddy through Mongolia and Kazachstan, however we could do with some guidance on how we can stay "on the trail" for Ukraine back to UK. Any info would be a great help, thank you.
We are wanting to send our 2 Honda XR400's to UB by airfreight, but are unsure of the reliability of Aeroflot or similar services getting them to UB - as we have heard mixed / conflicting stories so far (big delays when transferred at Moscow, some not allowing motorbikes by airfrieght...) - has anyone achieved this before and if so any contacts you used would be greatly appreciated. Perhaps Irkutsk in Siberia would be a better option to send oursleves and our bikes to, has anyone out there done this route successfully with their bikes by air? Thanks.
Any other info from anyone who has done a similar trip - it would be great to get in contact with.
Thank you for reading this thread and for any contributions - this is my first post on the Hubb, I have previously had a good search on the site for relative info but unfortunately can find very little apropriate on the above.
cheers James :scooter:
I thought I had responded to this but maybe after the beers I was drinking I forgot to click send.. now that I am beer free I can respond and hopefully remember to press send/submit.
I don't know what the current costs for getting two bikes to Mongolia will be like.. I know that they didn't have the planes with the capacity to ship an F650GS from Mongolia despite contacting all the various companies that flew to the UB airport. I am sure you could find some specialist company if you search hard enough... I would be very keen to know their details if you do find someone. (Mongolia Express seems to be the only shipping agent in Mongolia that handles proper freight/cargo).
We did a trip from London to Sydney in 2009 taking around 6-7 months and covering just over 26000km. Of that around 6500km was done on dirt. It is possible to really get some great experience and see some fantastic scenery, meet some great people by staying away from the main routes. The flip side is that if you have mechanical issues you may have to push the bike for some distance to get assistance. I would recommend bringing at least one set of spare tyres between the two bikes with numerous tubes and repair kits. If you head down the south route you should be able to get about 1500km of dirt in Mongolia alone connecting up with Olgii and then going onwards to the Altai ranges in Russia (you will need a permit there). Once you have that you can go along the sealed road for a while.. although all the roads off the main route (M52) are not sealed and there are some amazing things to see (glaciers etc).. Once you get down towards Gorno Altaysk you can then start to deviate through countryside to Barnaul (the main road also goes to Barnaul). From there head south to Kazakhstan. Once your in Kazakhstan you can either head down along the border with China by following the mountains towards the capital and Krygyzstan.. or you can head west and go straight into the desert (through or near the nuclear test sites at semey). You can choose several different routes only the main road is somewhat sealed.. You can then keep on going either to Astrakhan or to Orsk and onwards to Moscow. However going north means your back on sealed roads. The route to Astrakhan goes down through Makat, Atrayau etc.. Its a beautiful route.. Depends how keen you really are for dirt and how much fuel etc you can carry. We spent a month in Kazakhstan just exploring and found it to be one of the highlights of our trip.
From Astrakhan its easy to get to the Ukraine and onwards to the UK. Although the police in the Ukraine are famous for their 'friendliness'. We met a couple just outside Astrakhan who intended to ride north and back to the UK via Scandinavia and a ferry to the UK (I think Newcastle). We later got emails from them saying that it was a fantastic route.. we came up from Turkey and the blacksea -> Sochi and then onwards so its personal choice :)
September is a starting to push the limits of what's comfortable in terms of weather. Many of the commercial Ger's will be closed or closing in Mongolia as it starts to snow on high ground. In 2009 we arrived in Mongolia via the Altai on the 12th of September and had significant snow (deeper than knee height) on the road from the Russian Border to Olgii. However on the lower ground we didn't have snow at all until October when it started falling on low ground and made riding very dangerous with the Mongolian crazy driving. We had temperatures down to minus 10 at night regularly in October and on higher ground in western Mongolia it was top's 5c in September.. However there are few tourists and we found it to be excellent just being by ourselves.
Anyway good luck with the planning....
Hey James, as Jimmy said, those are going to be some cold times to cross Eurasia.. but if you and your mate would consider post-poning this daring adventure until the spring of 2011, perhaps we'll see you along the way.. We expect to be in Almaty, Kazakhstan by June 2011 sometime..
Hope to see you en route ^_^
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