March 02, 2006 GMT
Why???

Hi, and welcome to my 'diary' of mine, Allens and John's trip to australia on Bikes.
For those of you that know me out there some of you are perhaps thinking this is a little out of the blue, but hopefully as you read on you will find out more about me than I have let you know in the past, and perhaps this will help you understand why I am involving myself in this whole thing.

So why travel half way around the world on two wheels, with pretty much everything i own on the back of my bike, leaving my friends, family and loved ones behind??? Good question!!! And one i doubt i couldn't answer fully, but I shall try to answer it as best i can.

For years i have been wanting to travel and see other cultures. To experience first hand what friends and family have been telling me is out there. To smell the spices of foreign cooking, to feel the heat of a foreign summer and to experience first hand how people from other backgrounds live there life.

So when Allen said to me he was going to ride to Australia, my initial thought was oh yeah, have heard these crack pot ideas before. The idea appealed to me also but being in the position i was it was out of the question. I am a partner in the family company, i had just met a wonderful girl who for the first time in years I could see a relationship going somewhere. And to be honest the last time i had gone anywhere outside the coutry was with my parents. I am now 30, so that was quite a while ago.

Anyway, after thinking about it some more and seeing Allen getting more and more serious, I spoke to my girlfriend (Kay) about it, and she could see that I wanted it to happen. So she gave me her 'blessing' or so to speak on the provision that i would send her a postcard as often as i could, and that i would come back to here when we had reached our destination. Shes a good girl and i know im lucky to have found her. When i get back from Oz we plan to move in together, watch this space..........

So what am i going on?? Well, we looked into this long and hard from the beginning, and basically our decision was dictated by funds, same as everyone else' i suppose. But what could we get that would do the job for the money we had, which to be honest, wasn't much. We decided XT's would be a good bet, made for the job in hand, simple, reliable, and pretty inexpensive. So we set about looking for some bikes.Al found his pretty quick. It was an 89 XT600, on 35k miles. I took him down to pick it up and it looked the part, no doubt, but since then he has had a few difficulties with it. Perhaps he shall mention this in his blog, but if i said the engine has been turned inside out for the past 3 months, has done more miles than the rest of the bike and been put back together a couple of times i wouldn't be stre
tching the truth. Anyway, before all this happened i was looking for an XT also, in the end i found a 97 XTZ 660 tenere in sheffield going for a good price, so off i went to have a look. image

This is the bike when i got it home. Its not quite finished yet but shall post another pic when it is completely ready, should be this weekend, or next..... will have to wait and see.

I had some of the things i would require along the way as i had started hiking a couple of years ago, so i had a tent, sleeping bag, and other camping things, though some of these clearly weren't upto the job and would have to be replaced. Anyway, over the past few months we have been trawling ebay and other online sites looking for things we need and have slowly got together a long list of things we think we are going to need. All of which is going to fit (i hope) onto the back of the bike............

The route.

We are to travel through Europe, into the Ukraine, Russia, Kazhakstan, back into Russia, Mongolia, China (fingers crossed), Laos, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and finally to arrive in Perth Australia sometime in early September. Where all being well, Kay is going to meet me for a two weeks before returning home together.

Anyway that should keep you going until my next entry which should be in the next 2 weeks. All being well the bike should be finished then and i can post a new pic, along with an update as to how things are progressig.

see you then.

Col

Posted by Colin Patrick at 11:26 PM GMT
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 gotorussia.co.uk 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 nomads.com 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 beyondtheforest.com gave us a good on/off road route through romania which aparently is prity amazing. thanx.

route.GIF
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.

P1010193.JPG

Posted by Allen Starkey at 06:01 PM GMT
April 07, 2006 GMT
john's bit !

Well with a week to go I guess It's my turn, I not good at this computer 'stuff' so appologies in advance,
At 42 I seem to be the 'old codger' on this trip (again) I bicycled around the world last year with a 19 year old German lan named Michael, www.noboundaries.de
My reason for doing this, I can't stop scratching my itchy feet & a proper job, domesticity & commitment don't seem to be my thing ! It's funny how all 3 of us seem to have wonderful ladie's in our live's but we're all leaving them for a journey lasting several month's ? My lady 'Gail' I can honestly say is the best thing to happen to me ( honey look I've said it, can you please put the knife down now )
Any way I have a Yamaha XT600 that need's my attention so I'm off to the workshop AKA second home (according to the afore mentioned boss) I will

endeavour to update this when I have a little more time, regards, john

Posted by John Yates at 07:13 AM GMT
April 25, 2006 GMT

So, here we all are sat around a computer in Bare Mare in Romania, and to be honest this is the first chance we have had to enter a post.

After setting off on Wednesday (19th) (John and I) a few days late we have been pushing on through the countries to catch up with Al who left a day earlier to try and spend a bit more time in Europe.

France we spent the first night in a turnip field, see our accomodation here.
image

Thats John all tucked up nice and cosy, and the straw in the foreground was my
bed for the night. Toastie!!!!!!!!!

Day 2 we had a run in with the Belgium police, damn disabled parking!!!! But to cut a long story shot, john got escorted to get some cash, cause he had none. I was kind of hoping they would keep him for the night heh

Apart from that the day wa motorways through Belgium into Germany and spent another night in a wood.


On day three (Friday) we finallycaught up with Allen in Nurnberg, where luckily a festival was going on so we though we wouls sample the local brew and meet some folks. Heres my mate Bern!!!!!!!!

image


But a good night was had and we spent the night on a campsite. Luxury compared the tha past few nights.


Day 4 (Saturday) we decided to reroute and head for Austria instead of Czech. A good idea as it turned out, the weather was beautiful and we stumbled across a lovely little town for lunch.
But we were there for 45 minutes and back on the road. But this time instead of motorways we decided to go back roads, and they are beautiful. Small little hamlets with perfect roads and perfect weather. In fact the bikes outnumbered the cars 2 - 1.

John found he was missing a bolt (in the bike - not his head) so we stopped off at a nice garage and got him fixed.

image

Hungary was a bit of a Blur, went through it without hardly stopping, a shame because Budapest looked quite nice, though we have a few days to make up on.

So now we are in Romania. The poverty here is terrible. Beggers everywhere, cars and vans that look like they should be in the scrappy and the roads are more potholes than tarmac. In fact we are having to swerve in and out to try and save the bikes somewhat.

Our first night here last night, and we thought we would try a nice little filed. But it was a little wet to be honest.
image


We finally found a nice spot in the middle of nowhere, but the mossies were a little nasty so we had to prepare for the night. Damn bugs, who invented them anyway.
image

So were off now to get some lunch and head off into the Romanian hills for another mossie ridden night no doubt in the woods!!!!!!!!!

Keep loggin in and we'll try and put a post up as soon as possible.

Tara - Romanian for goodbye. NOT

Posted by Colin Patrick at 12:51 PM GMT
April 27, 2006 GMT

So, here we are, still in Romania, in Isia just East of the Moldovian border where we plan on crossing in the next few hours. I shalll continue where we left off last time.

The lunch i mentioned in the end of the last post turned out to be a little diffferent.
John and Al had chicken and chips, and i hadpig brains and chips. Yup, pig brains, and yes believe it or not they were grey. but fried with a little onion they were actually quite nice. Can't say as they have done anything for my intelligence level mind you.

After leaving that town we headed for the hills here you can see Al poseing for a nice shot,
P1010087.JPG


and then 10 minutes after Al again picking up the pieces after he found a nice lane for off roading. The rock in the forground was the culpret, but he had to find it, it was probably the biggest rock for 100 yards.
P1010088.JPG


To be fair though it doesn't look it was quite a steep downward hill, and it was quite wet, so we shall give him the benefit of the doubt. The worst thing was, after fixing it all back on to his bike, on the way back up the hill he hit the same rock with his other pannier which had him off, but we were there ready to catch him that time.

The result of this was he snapped his frame on the back and had to get it welded, so in the next village we asked for someone who could weld and was pointed in the direction of a farrier, it was like something out of a museum, check out the old mans slippers, and that in the dfoorway believe it or not was the welder.
P1010089.JPG


And the inside was something else
DSCI0078.JPG


After getting through all of that we made for a small town were we thought we would find a decent campsite. On route, my pannier rack also broke in three of the six mounting points, after trying to find the campsite for about an hour we finally decided to stop at a shop where a bike was outside in bits. It turned out to be Vlad's fathers Romanian antique shop and Vlad was a bit of a fixer (bikewise not in any other way) so after some huffing and puffing and a few bolts we got my bike fixed and back on the road. Here he is after he had finished, out here they dont have many big bikes so he was happy to get his hands on mine and didnt charge me a penny, in fact of the three time we have had things fixed all didn't want paying, they were happy to help. Romanian hospitality at its best., but it got better, Vlad looks a little stoned on the picture though i think it was more tiredness than anything elso, by the time we got finished it was 11pm.
P1010101.JPG

Whilst we were getting the bike fixed we met Vlads friend George who father had a hotel in the town and he offered to put us up for the night free of charge. It was a nice place and he insisted we eat before going to bed so we finally got tucked up at about half 12.

heres the room he gave us for the night with an ensuite bathroom. Our first shower for a few days but we all smell as bad as each other so no complaints really.

P1010103.JPG

Below are the grid references of where we have been sleeping at nights when we have remembered to get them so if you wish you can instal google earth and enter the grid reference to see close up where we have been.

Day 1 50 47.103N 002 49.190E

Day 2 50 36.856N 006 01.257E

Day 3 49 25.347N 011 07.274E

Day 4

Day 5 48 10.352N 015 36.314E

Day 6 47 08.969N 020 12.107E

Day 7 47 43.582N 022 51.988E


So there we have it up to now, we shall be back in touch as soon as we can though we are are entering Moldova today and the Ukraine the day after so not sure what the interent is like there and if we can get online etc.

Any comments you can email me @ peekay69@hotmail.co.uk

some more pictures are below

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P1010090.JPG

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DSCI0062.JPG

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See you soon

Posted by Colin Patrick at 04:00 PM GMT
May 04, 2006 GMT

Well, since the last entry we have had some experiances.

We left Romania bound for Moldova, and to be honest, we should have saved ourselves the bother. It cost us money, time and effort that was wasted. It isn't somewhere i would recomend and i doubt you can get a package holiday the from Thompson's, nor will you be able to soon. Although the people there wern't so bad the whole experiance was over in a day, it is like a little place that time forgot and doesn't want to remember. below is a typical building in the capital Chisinau.
P1010105.JPG


Then we were onto the Ukraine. Customs were a bitch, we had three to go through, all wanted to know everything, they tool my knife and wanted $200 dollars to prevent them from calling the police as it was bigger than allowed, 'it was 4 inches long' so i gave them $10. which i dont think they were happy with but it saved me going through the hassle of sorting it all out without paying. Eventually after about 3 hours of buggering about we were in the country though we were expecting worse as john took 5 hours last time he came in and that was with a push bike.

We saw alot of the Ukraine, mostly at a 45 degree angle. The winds here are terrible, and they always seem to be either cross winds or straight into your face. no tail winds typically. So we started of on day one. All was going well and we were making goood time when Al got a blow out when doing about 65mph. I was about 20 feet behind him and it didn't look good, but after trying to save it three times he went down on the floor, hard.

I stopped the bike and ran back to him and by the time i got there he was on his feet and crouching by the bike so i knmew he wasn't so bad. but his rack was brocken and the innertube was obliterated. So after walking his bike to a nearby petrol station John and i went off into town to find a mechanic who could get it back into town.
After asking a couple of people we found a guy who was more than happy to help and ran around like a headless chicken trying to get it sorted. He did and this is how we got it back to his lockup.
DSCI0105.JPG


So anyway these guys spent the rest of the night fixing up als bike, and they did a pretty good job to to be hoest. After they had finished, they decided to invite us to join them for some food and drink. The food was chicken and cheese froim a local shop, the drink was a few beers and there moonshine, which was rocket fuel, so we stayed off of that pretty much.
DSCI0111.JPG

They were a good bunch of lads though and were very interested in our lifestyles back in England. Once the morning came we asked them how much we owed them, but again they wouldn't take any money, but we gave them some anyway. A big thank you to Dorick, Varnya, and Roma (spellings probably wrong) but than you anyway, shall speak to you soon if your reading.

So off across the Ukraine we set, and it was going quite well, until Al and i had a little bit of a bump. I was daydreaming down a straight road that was about 500km long with about 5 bends in it, when he slowed down to turn off for fuel and i noticed him at the last minute. I tried to miss him but didn't so our boxes collided and we were both send sprawling across the road. Al was understandable a little upset not only casue i had taken him out, but he had been intimate with Ukrainian tarmac twice within 24hours. quite a good record to set. Here he is after the accident.

DSCI0115.JPG

All in all it wasn't as bad as it could have been. Al had a slightly sprained wrist and a ruptured fuel tank, and i bounced quite well. All this was about 100 yards from about 5 coppers doing speed checks, they came over, told us we would have to get transport through them for the next major town which was 123km away, at $1 per km, luckily an English speaking girl stopped to help, and we told them we would sort the bikes out ourself. Once we told them this they dissapeared as quickly as they had appeared, withouit asking any of us if we were ok, for any documents or for anything else. Seems they just wanted to get a quick buck out of us. So anyway the next couple of hours were spent banging boxes into shape, mending fuel tanks with liquid metal and basically recovering. We hobbled into a town 15km behind us and stayed the night close by in some woods.
The next morning we couldn't find a mechanuic but found some more police, they found a guy who know one so we followed him there. Within the hour we were back on the road. I also got a puncture, two bolts on Al's oil filter lost there threads and had to be re tapped and it did nothing but blow a gale out here.

so now it was the last push to the border. we were about 40km from the border and whoops, Al found himself at the wrong end of a radar gun. 89 in a 70. but nobody really cares out here how fast you go, except the police. They stopped us and took him into a little office by the side of the road and tried to fleece some dollars off of him. Al did exactly the right thing, no, not ask to speak to his superior, or ask him his number, he played the dumb Englishman who couldn't speak russian, not to hard a task to be honest, but it worked, and he kicked him out of the police box by the road out of frustration and tiold him to get lost.

Last but not least on the way out of the Uklraine, another guard stopped Al and tried again to get cash off of him for not getting his piece of paper stamped, which was blatentley missed so they could get some cash off you. Al told him to stick it and went back and got it stamped. So at last we were out of the Ukraine.

All in all Ukraine was full of ups and downs. The Country is a horrible place, but all the people we met, apart from that copper, and the border guards were really nice. So if you meet a Ukranian be nice unless they work for the government.

As i say were in Volgagrad now, but have to go so shall do all of this part fo russia in one go, once were out of it.

More coordinates for google earth from our campsites.

Moldova 47 18.705N 027 42.343E

Ukraine 46 41.812N 030 01.66E

Ukraine 46 46.962N 036 45.435E

Be back soon.


Be back soon.

Posted by Colin Patrick at 03:38 PM GMT
May 11, 2006 GMT

So, since our last post we have managed to get into and out of Russia pretty much unscathed. Apart from the four and a half hours it took us to get in all went well, and to top it off the cafe next to the border crossing was closed when we were in so we couldn't even get a coffee.

All the stereotypes you have of Russians are true, they are nice people but can be a little loud at times. They struggle to make ends meet and they love to drink vodka.

Here's us in a mechanics house who moved from Germany to live in Russia with the local narcotics ploice head and a local pc who left his post on the outskirts of town to join us.

DSCI0137.JPG


We think it was all planned as the narcotics head had met us in a petrol station about 200km back and we asked him for directions. They said we were the first English people to go to there town. Maybe, maybe not but they were very pleased to meet us none the less, and very accomodating.

We went to Volgagrad on our way through Russia were we stopped to do the tourist thing at the local statue (Mother Russia) which was erected to commemorate the thousands who died in WWII fending off the Nazi's. Its a very impressive statue it has to be said and can be seen from miles away.

P1010121.JPG

So onward from Volgagrad and towards the Kazak border. It has to be said though that Russia is a massive country with not much in it. We travelled for distances of 300km without seeing more than a petrol station some farms and cows. But the weather was good and we couldn't complain. Though it has to be said the public conveniances leave a little to be desired.

DSCI0124.JPG

This was among the worst but we had to let you lot at home know what hardships we encounter when busting for the loo.

So into Kazakhstan we came, John finally got his hands on something with a little bit more kick than he is used to. Perhaps he should have kept it for Gail im sure she would appreciate the extra lenth!!!!!!!

DSCI0151.JPG

This was in no mans land between the two crossings. The Russians were finally glad to see the back of us. But the Kazaks new we were coming but it was no problem at the entry. We were done and dusted quite quickly besides one of the button pushers best attempts to keep us there till Christmas.

A new country and new roads. this has been one of the worst we have encounterd so far, and this by all accounts is a good road.

image

Some of the smaller roads are mud and i can only imagin what they like in the winter when the temperature drops to -40 odd which it did this winter. But they are quite good fun when they are dry, though the ruts can be a little hairy at times.

on our second day in Kazakhstan Allen needed a new tyre, so we went round a town trying to find one that would fit. As always we attract quite a bit of attention and we met up with baha, Sabr, Aliya, Sayle and Asel who led us around thir town trying to find a tyre. After about 5 tyre shops, 2 bicycle shops and a market we eventually found one that was 21". So Al went off to get it fitted while John and I had somehting to meet back at their house.
DSCI0154.JPG

Here we all are after a some food and some tea in their living room. Very nice people and thank you for all your help.

DSCI0155.JPG

Kazakhstan is also a big country with not much in it. We often encounter things on the road which perhaps should be elsewhere, here are some things we have seen while we have been out there.

DSCI0166.JPG

DSCI0167.JPG

John made this into some handy bungees.

DSCI0172.JPG

image

They asked me to swap, but the thing was a death trap and i wanted to get home in one piece.

Allens gone off to get his bike fixed again so i dont have any grid references but shall put them up next time.

Shall post again soon when we get a chance.

Posted by Colin Patrick at 12:00 PM GMT

So, since our last post we have managed to get into and out of Russia pretty much unscathed. Apart from the four and a half hours it took us to get in all went well, and to top it off the cafe next to the border crossing was closed when we were in so we couldn't even get a coffee.

All the stereotypes you have of Russians are true, they are nice people but can be a little loud at times. They struggle to make ends meet and they love to drink vodka.

Here's us in a mechanics house who moved from Germany to live in Russia with the local narcotics ploice head and a local pc who left his post on the outskirts of town to join us.

DSCI0137.JPG


We think it was all planned as the narcotics head had met us in a petrol station about 200km back and we asked him for directions. They said we were the first English people to go to there town. Maybe, maybe not but they were very pleased to meet us none the less, and very accomodating.

We went to Volgagrad on our way through Russia were we stopped to do the tourist thing at the local statue (Mother Russia) which was erected to commemorate the thousands who died in WWII fending off the Nazi's. Its a very impressive statue it has to be said and can be seen from miles away.

P1010121.JPG

So onward from Volgagrad and towards the Kazak border. It has to be said though that Russia is a massive country with not much in it. We travelled for distances of 300km without seeing more than a petrol station some farms and cows. But the weather was good and we couldn't complain. Though it has to be said the public conveniances leave a little to be desired.

DSCI0124.JPG

This was among the worst but we had to let you lot at home know what hardships we encounter when busting for the loo.

So into Kazakhstan we came, John finally got his hands on something with a little bit more kick than he is used to. Perhaps he should have kept it for Gail im sure she would appreciate the extra lenth!!!!!!!

DSCI0151.JPG

This was in no mans land between the two crossings. The Russians were finally glad to see the back of us. But the Kazaks new we were coming but it was no problem at the entry. We were done and dusted quite quickly besides one of the button pushers best attempts to keep us there till Christmas.

A new country and new roads. this has been one of the worst we have encounterd so far, and this by all accounts is a good road.

image

Some of the smaller roads are mud and i can only imagin what they like in the winter when the temperature drops to -40 odd which it did this winter. But they are quite good fun when they are dry, though the ruts can be a little hairy at times.

on our second day in Kazakhstan Allen needed a new tyre, so we went round a town trying to find one that would fit. As always we attract quite a bit of attention and we met up with baha, Sabr, Aliya, Sayle and Asel who led us around thir town trying to find a tyre. After about 5 tyre shops, 2 bicycle shops and a market we eventually found one that was 21". So Al went off to get it fitted while John and I had somehting to meet back at their house.
DSCI0154.JPG

Here we all are after a some food and some tea in their living room. Very nice people and thank you for all your help.

DSCI0155.JPG

Kazakhstan is also a big country with not much in it. We often encounter things on the road which perhaps should be elsewhere, here are some things we have seen while we have been out there.

DSCI0166.JPG

DSCI0167.JPG

John made this into some handy bungees.

DSCI0172.JPG

image

They asked me to swap, but the thing was a death trap and i wanted to get home in one piece.

Allens gone off to get his bike fixed again so i dont have any grid references but shall put them up next time.

Shall post again soon when we get a chance.

Posted by Colin Patrick at 12:00 PM GMT
May 16, 2006 GMT

Across Kazakhstan we came via Aktobish, Kostanie and now we are in the capital Astana.

We were in Kostanie when we made our last entry, and while the bikes and John were sitting outside, he was mobbed by the local biker club. They were thrilled to see us and couldn't believe their luck. They helped us find some tyres through a guy called Roman (rom,arn) not sure how its spelt. Sorry Roman if its wrong. Anyway Roman was a bit of a character, he was Kazak motorcross champion 4 years running before being involved in a car accident while on a bike and broke about 8 bones. He cant ride now but still loves cars, has a garage, owns the local motorcross club and drive 'full gas' everywhere. Full gas was about the only english he knew so it was said repeatedly, and i can see why he learnt it. Probably the best way to describe his driving. We got by though as he knew a little German as do i and lots of arm waving does the job nicely.

So we got the tyres, and were taken back to Sergey's. A member of the local bike club where we were given a Banya. This envolves stripping off, getting in a red hot sauna, then being thrashed with leaves. Not everyones cup of tea no doubt but it was very refreshing and its rude to say no., We all needed the wash so was quite welcome. 1st time i've been beaten by a man while naked though, cant speak for John or Allen ;). Cant say as i shall make it a regular thing though.

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Then it was beer and Vodka all round. Was a long night but a good one and we made some good friends in Kostanie.

So we left Kotanie earlyish one morning, but unbenokw to us the local tv cameras where there and we had to endure 2 hours of interviews. Everyone has 15 minutes, well i have had mine now and it was plenty. Quite annoying to be honest but there you go. On the plus side we did get a police escort from the city so no problems leaving that day.

One night in a field we had our first experiance of rain. So far the most rain we have had was about an hour or so back in Hingary, but that night it rained for about 7 hours and we had a little trouble getting out of the field the next morning.

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We then made it to Astana, the Kazak capital. This is a nice city that is being injected with lots of money. Also here again we were found by the local bike club who insisted we stay at a place of theres. Another nice night with a roof over our heads, but again it was a late night of Vidka and beer. Still feel a little rough from it right now to be fiar but these things happen. Thank you to Sergey (again) and the guys who helped us here.

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So tonight we are heading out of Astana for a place to sleep then on towards the russian border. Hopefully we shall be fine, im sure we shall, will post again as soon as we can.

some more pictures below.

See you


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Posted by Colin Patrick at 02:03 PM GMT
August 13, 2006 GMT

thought i'd better add an entry as it seems some people have been a bit worried that we havent entered anything in a while. (thanx rob for putting the notice up, i'll contact you soon and have a chat.)
al and colin are back in the UK and john is in the US,
we're just going through all are photo's at the minute and will have a full big update for you shortly. thanx for everyones concern!!
the next one will be ready in a couple of weeks.

Posted by Allen Starkey at 12:17 PM GMT
 



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