July 05, 2013 GMT
Still breaking in Kaz

Kazakhstan, wonderful country, wonderful people. But it seemed to be determined to kill my bike.

After Almaty we headed south west, flanked to our left by the foothills of the Himalayas and the borders of Kyrgyzstan. The roads here are good, and at times the scenery is spectacular as the green lower slopes are split from the blue sky by the white peaks.

gasline.jpg

Finding camp spots became harder with more agricultural activity in the fertile strip of land between Almaty and Symkent. One night we found a perfect spot, only to be moved on because we had pitched the tents on the Kazakhstan/China gas pipeline. “maybe she go boom!” we were told, “please move 300 metres”, so we dragged the tents into a freshly ploughed field.

The following morning we had our 1st puncture, Mike's rear, before bimbling straight into three hours of heavy rain, thunder and lightening. The greenness has to come from somewhere.

mikepuncture.jpg

From Symkent we turned west to Aral'sk, a change to our planned route. We had been given far too many warnings of the high temperatures in Uzbekistan. The most recent from a group of Czechoslovakian bikers who had passed through a week earlier, 45C+. Added to that the need for water and the lack of petrol, you need to seek a man on a street corner with a tube and a barrel, we chose not to go. It will still be there in another year, at a cooler time.

The only problem was that the road to Aral'sk is full of road works.

aralroad.jpg

And the old road is more dust that tarmac, with occasional herds of camels.

camels.jpg


The Kazakhstan method of road repair is to build a temporary road surface parallel to the current road, sometimes up to 30 kilometres long. Divert all cars and trucks down it up while they rip out the old road and place a new surface. Meanwhile all the road building lorries use the temporary road as well, cutting deep ruts into it. So they spread sand over the ruts. Oh how we laugh when we hit those bits, or maybe we scream ? What we cannot understand is, they have so much space, why not build a new road and leave the old one intact until it is finished ?

Following a night in a disused roadwork quarry (we know how to live the high life), the only stopping place we could find in the surrounding marshes and paddy fields, we had an early start. Two hours later, after managing only 70kms we met Baptiste, a French lad riding to Mongolia on an XT250. We wasted an hour chatting, as you do, exchanging road information and tales. Then as we parted company my bike fired, and then died.

baptiste-kaz.jpg

The engine was turning, but not starting. There was power from the battery, the ignition circuit was on and we could see a spark when I took the plug out. There are 3 curses attached to the Pegasos. !

1) The dodgy wires in the ignition barrel
2) The small fuel tank capacity (that was yet to bite us)
3) The cheap fuel pump.

Listening carefully, there was no activation sound from the pump. We removed the fuel line and checked to see if any fuel was pumped out when the engine was turned over. Nothing, not even a drip.

Normally this would be a very bad thing, but back in 2010, as I knew the pump is a weak spot, I bought a spare one. And have carried it ever since. Possibly the best £200 I have ever spent.

We set about stripping the bike, and it was not long before Mike had grabbed the spanners and was beavering away. The only man I know who smiles when he has a bike to fix.

pumpfix.jpg

Meanwhile, Baptiste hung around watching, enjoying the entertainment as two mad English men pull a bike apart and replace a main item in the middle of a desert.

90 minutes later I lapped my bike cheering, and performing a happy dance she fired up again.

As we progressed, into a sand storm, to see (or not) the Aral sea. My thoughts turned to route planning, it was currently a draw Kazakhstan 3 – 3 My bike (hey, a fix is a draw). I'm was running out of spare parts, and there was a lot more heat and rough road ahead.

Posted by Bruce Porter at July 05, 2013 04:28 PM GMT
 
 

NEW! HU 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar is now available! Get your copy now for some terrific travel inspiration!

HUGE, 11.5 x 16.5 inches, beautifully printed in Germany on top quality stock! Photos are the winning images from over 600 entries in the 9th Annual HU Photo Contest!

Horizons Unlimited 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar.

"The calendar is magnificent!"

"I just wanted to say how much I'm loving the new, larger calendar!"

We share the profit with the winning photographers. YOU could be in the HU Calendar too - enter here!


HU DVD Autumn Special!

Take 40% off Road Heroes Part 1 until October 31 only!

Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers Peter and Kay Forwood (193 countries two-up on a Harley); Dr. Greg Frazier (5 times RTW); Tiffany Coates (RTW solo female); and Rene Cormier (University of Gravel Roads).

The first in an exciting new series, Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers."Inspiring and hilarious!"

"I loved watching this DVD!"

"Lots of amazing stories and even more amazing photographs, it's great fun and very inspirational."

"Wonderful entertainment!"

Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'HEROES' on your order when you checkout.


Renedian Adventures


Renedian Adventures

What others say about HU...

"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada

"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia

"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders

contest pic

10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!

NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!

HU 2014 T-shirts now in!

Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!


What turns you on to motorcycle travel?


Global Rescue, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!


New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.


Books & DVDs

amazon

All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.


Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!

Motorcycle Express

MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!

Story and photos copyright ©

Sorry, you need a Javascript enabled browser to get the email address and dates. You can contact Horizons Unlimited at the link below. Please be sure to tell us WHICH blog writer you wish to contact.

All Rights Reserved.

Contact the author:

Editors note: We accept no responsibility for any of the above information in any way whatsoever. You are reminded to do your own research. Any commentary is strictly a personal opinion of the person supplying the information and is not to be construed as an endorsement of any kind.

Hosted by: Horizons Unlimited, the motorcycle travellers' website!
You can have your story here too - click for details!