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Old 09-29-2013, 11:56 PM   #1
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Joined: Dec 2012
Location: Newcastle
Oddometer: 51
Uralistan: Bishkek to Kabul


Itís my first time posting a ride report so after reading through the rules for posting; it states that a report must have a definite beginning and ending. Well I have been on the road for some time now in Asia. I had never intended it to be like this, but it just is. So Briefly;

I had started back in March í12 as a lowly backpacker; I was traversing Asia from Hong Kong to Istanbul over a summer break from my work here in Australia. One night in Urumqi, China I met a Frenchman doing a similar trip, he having ridden motorcycles through India and Vietnam and was sold on motorcycle travel, after a few beers I didn't need any more convincing.
We both went on to find our bikes and ride them over that summer to Turkey, He a 150cc Chinese bike from Urumqi and I, an '89 Ural 650 from Bishkek.

Kaldama pass, crossing the Fergana Range.

Tabriz, Iran.

Now almost a year later from when I first set out, I have found my way back to Central Asia.
After spending over 2 months in Northern Pakistan this spring with a small rental bike but mostly on top of buses and jeeps, (my 2nd favorite way to travel), I was really missing 2 things in my life, beer and motorcycles.

Indus Valley.

Rooftop to Shimshal.

Travelling over the Khungerab pass in the natco bus I recalled what I had learned In Se Asia months before, (I rode from Hanoi to KL on a Honda 150GL) that a nice light bike is the way to go, As you can really take them anywhere largely because of their lightness & fuel efficiency. I took that bike places where even my childhood XL125s couldn't.

Cardomon Rainforest, Cambodia.

Kashgar, China.

This time round in the 'Stans' I wanted to spend as much time as I could off any such highway, even if it starts with Pamir. I decided I would try to procure a Chinese bike just as David the frenchman had done a year before in Urumqi. In Kashgar, The old Livestock markets now house the new & used motorcycle markets and so while all the tourists went out to see camels and sheep I took a bus to see some bikes.

The range of bikes was a bit of a disappointment to me, most of them being a Chinese copy of a Suzuki gn150, Cruiser style with cast wheels. That did not appeal. From seeing Chinese bikes in SE Asia literally break in half on rough roads, I was at least dubious of those cast wheels. Since I only have 10 words of mandarin under my belt I knew I couldnít even bargain for a bike, even if I wanted to.
The quoted prices were of course much higher than my sub 400$ budget from me being a foreigner.

Kashgar Motorcycle Markets.

With the 40+ degree day upon me and recalling the many army and police checkpoints heading to Irkestam pass it would be really a gamble to even be able to get to the border in the first place and on top of that the 1000 yuan fines for not having a local licence.
I reasoned to myself that I should just get another Ural in Bishkek and with my Russian vocab skills it would be a lot easier than taking a risk here.

so that was that after a few warm Chinese beers and kebabs, the next morning I hitched to Osh.

Bye Bye China.

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