March 14, 2006 GMT
Al's bit

So why ride to oz on a 16 year old bike, leaving my hot girl gemma behind and spending a large portion of your savings to do it? Well... why the hell not. you only have one life, don't realy fancy sitting in my rocking chair at 60/70 years old thinking i wish i'd done this and i wish i'd done that and it being to late to change it.
Since moving back from spain after a 2 year jolly i have prity much worked 7 days aweek for 3 years so it was time stop working like an idiot and go and have some fun.( can think of cheaper ways).

I was original going to do the trip from spain in 2001 on a gsxr 600 via Pakistan and india, but after working out what i thought would be the cost i new i realy couldn't afford it. Then a couple of years later once i had the money and living in the uk i decided to look in to it again. But after 2 months of planning, (which those who have done this will tell you it totaly consumes every minute of your day) we decided to invade iraq and suddenly people where getting there heads chopped off, after looking at the area and talking to alot of people it was obvious that going the afgan, pakistan way was out of the question because drug gangs were kidnapping foreigners for ransom and didn't much fancy the iran route either. So i sat on it for a while to see how everything panned out in the area. In 2004 i decided that i had to do the trip via mongolia because the urge was to great, i couldn't stop thinking about it and getting it done was all i cared about, which isn't a good thing! Since i couldn't get anyone to come on the trip with me and none of my friends having a license i decided to do the trip on my own as i couldn't not do something just because there was no-one there to hold my hand. Luckily after a got in to the swing of things, people started thinking about coming, i think at one point there was about 12 of us going, but people started falling by the wayside when a little effort was needed.
So after just over a year of planning, recruiting colin who i lived with, john who i met on the hubb and a trip to porto to meet up with some round the world bikers (and getting very very drunk) we decided to set the ball rolling and set a date...the 15th April 2006, which would make us miss the rainy season in Mongolia and the bloody world cup.

So for the people who are thinking of doing something similar, here's the bits you want to know.

Costs........ bloody expensive, my orginal budget for the trip which included everything was 5000 pounds. Here's what i'v spent so far:

bike 1000
rebuild of engine and bike prep 800
panniers 170
personal kit- clothing, tents, sleeping bag, cooking stuff, helmets, intercoms and 2 ways, all half price from the bike show at the NEC 500.
injections, hepititus a+b, tetanus, diphtheria, typhoid, japanese encephalites and rabies - 230
Malaria. we need full strenght tablets for 4/6 weeks, waiting for a price, was told possibly 60 pounds for 2 week supply.
visa's - russia double entry, kakahstan single entry and mongolia single entry though who have been great 210 pounds other visa's we'll get on the way. most tourist visa's are only for 3 months so if we get china, laos visa's now, they'll run out either while we're in the country or before we get there. most visa's average out at about 30 pounds so about another 150 for the rest of the visa's.
carnet from the r.a.c 680 but we get 450 back when the bikes back in the uk.
international drivers permit from the r.a.c 5.50
medical insurance through 104.00 the cheapest we could find.

As you can see the budget has gone before i've even set off. But i don't need to buy it all again so when i do the next one, (probably alaska to argentina) the trip will be about 70% cheaper. well thats what i tell myself anyway.

Money for the trip, i'm taking a couple of hundred euros, 1000 pounds in travelers cheques, 500 us dollars. the rest gemma can send me when i need it, we recon 5000 pounds should be enough.

The route - uk-france-belgium-germany-cheq republic-slovakia-hungry-romania-moldova- ukraine-russia-kazakhstan-russia-mongolia- china-laos-thailand-malaysia-indonesia and australia.
travel at gave us a good on/off road route through romania which aparently is prity amazing. thanx.

doesn't look very far does it!

please dont mail us asking how the hell are we gonna get into china because the answer is.... not a clue! we're sick of everyone on the hub saying you can get through and you can't get through so we're just gonna go there and have a go.
if we cant get in with the bikes then the other option is to send the bikes to loas or chang mai thailand and ride it on a chinese scooter. oneway or another i'm riding it!

the bike of choice.... a yamaha 3aj tenere 600 xtz. with a small budget, she seems to be the bike to do the job. suppose to be reliable, i'm sure they are but mine wasn't, gears started to chip away with in a month of having it, which scratched the oil pump and bore because the monkey i bought it off probably abused her. but on a good note, at leasted it happened before i set off with enough time to fix her. Heres a picture of the sexy little thing, still being worked on though.

For the panniers. well i looked into touratec and metal mule and all the other fancy ones which are all very nice and prity, but just to expensive. so i built my own. cost me about 170 for the pair. thats 100 for the metal and about 70 for the touratec quick release fittings. not bad. quite easy to do. built them with a rubber hammer, a drill, about 200 rivets and 2 tubes of sealant. they ain't prity but iv'e got the bike sat on one of them while i do the wheel bearings fit motorcross innertubes and new pirelli mt21's so they must be strong.


Posted by Allen Starkey at March 14, 2006 06:01 PM GMT

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