The route was an act of pure spontaneity. But my goals were simple. In addition to testing my own strength and endurance, I wanted to see as many historical and natural attractions as possible, come to know the lifestyles of other nationalities, and to experience their cuisines.
Prep for the trip took about a year and began with the purchase of an ’09 Honda XR650L along with upgrades and improvements and spare parts.
The route to Magadan would take me through Saint Petersburg, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kirgizia, Mongolia and the BAM (the Baikal-Amur Magistral, one of the most extended railroads in the world, stretching for over 2,671 miles and connecting Siberia with Russia’s far east). Some friends and family thought the whole idea was on the verge of madness. They warned of the lack of gas stations, settlements, and civilized roads. But I had faith that everything would turn out well and forged ahead.
Although the reliability of the bike and the equipment was paramount, there was also a psychological component. And once underway the initial animal fear of the unknown was replaced with extraordinary excitement. When you move along a route, you don’t think in terms of fear—you just solve problems and overcome obstacles as they arise. That said, a wise traveler still must be prepared.
On the road you don’t think about the remaining 10,000 miles, instead you set daily goals and, if possible, achieve them. This method allows you to enjoy almost every mile traveled. At some point you realize you’re no longer concerned or thinking about how far there is to go, you live by the journey.
Experienced travelers didn’t lie about Uzbek customs officers. Indeed, it was an intense experience and they kept me for a long time under the hot scorching sun. However, I didn’t meet any wild people or militants with guns. I didn’t come across any bears, either. On the Ak-Baital Pass, 4,655m above sea level, the XR650L struggled but got through it and proved to be an excellent choice.
Desert Western Kazakhstan, from Beyneu via Ak-Basta Aul to the dam between the Aral Seas
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Klim Badlands Pro Jacket and Pant
Many companies offer ADV gear, but when you whittle it down to RTW-expedition-grade quality, only a handful of brands stand up to the test.
YAMAHA TENERE 700
The wait is finally over. The Yamaha Ténéré 700 is probably one of the most anticipated bikes to come out of the Yamaha factory in quite some time. Yamaha teased us with what appeared to be a production-ready model three years ago and every model year came and went without show. We were starting to wonder if it would ever show up on the showroom floor. Well folks, the day is finally here, and it was worth the wait. The middle-weight class has been gaining a lot of attention over the last three years and is likely to be the most popular segment for years to come.
Nonprofits in the Moto CommunityWho Deserve Your Support
The security guard at the gate had a particular look on her face, one I’d become accustomed to over the previous month. I met her gaze with a big, cheesy grin. She looked confused. “What the hell are you doing out here mate, and where the hell have you been?”
Trails End Dual-Sport and Adventure Tail Bag
I’ve said it many times, I’ve never been a big fan of tank bags. However, they’re a creature comfort hard to resist once you’ve ridden with one that’s well designed.
Garmin zūmo XT
Garmin has long been the big fish in the pool of GPS, and their zumo line of products has graced motorcycle handlebars for years.
A REACH TOO FAR
This is not the story I thought I’d be writing when I began my motorcycling adventure on Namibia’s gravel roads.
3 KEYS TO HAVING A STUDENT MINDSET
We all do it. We get comfortable riding what and how we ride. Why bother stretching ourselves? Why try something different, more challenging, and unusual? Because having a student mindset focused on learning and growing will make you a safer rider. And, it’s downright fun!
2020 KTM 390 ADVENTURE
BIG BIKE IMPACT IN A SMALL(ER) BIKE’S FRAME
BACKCOUNTRY DISCOVERY ROUTES MARATHON
It was late afternoon, high on a ridge in the Rockie s, and I must have come into signal range, as my phone lit up with a message. Stopped in the middle of the trail, it indicated that my youngest had tried calling. She wanted me to come home, as she was ill. Although concerned, I also felt relief that this would give me a valid reason to jump ship. Fo r several weeks I’d been riding nothing but gnarly trails day in and day out and had begun to question whether taking on one Backcountry Discovery Route after another was a good idea.
A Sylk Road Renaissance
Excavations in Tajikistan have unveiled a city of merchant princes that flourished from the fifth to the eighth century A.D.
Deal Man In The Stans
Private equity investor Aidan Karibzhanov is chasing riches in the rough-and-tumble former Soviet Republics of Central Asia.
Celebrating Nowruz - Central Asia
Get a glimpse of ancient cities along the Great Silk Road, bask in the nomadic culture and Soviet heritage, and experience the vast mountains and steppes of Central Asia. Each of the five “stans” has much to offer, especially in times of celebration
Wanderlust READER TRAVEL AWARDS 2020 -THE WINNERS
Last year you ranged far and wide, thumbed many guidebooks, put a lot of gear to the test and generally proved yourself the most-travelled lot around. What you think really matters – so here are your top picks: definitively the best of the best