Mongolia, will we ever get there?

Mike & Ben – Scottish adventure 2021

The last couple of years has turned the world upside down in more ways than one. With the COVID19 pandemic bringing the world to its knees and governments globally forcing their populations into mandatory lockdowns, closing borders and blocking all travel it became impossible to even think about adventure motorcycle trips overseas yet alone actually under take such a venture.

With the Russian government now completely destabilising the region with the war in Ukraine, Scandinavian countries applying for NATO membership and the threat of nuclear apocalypse things are only getting worse, not better.

As if it wasn’t bad enough already, the border conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan doesn’t look like it’ll end any time soon. The withdrawal of coalition troops from Afghanistan resulted in the Taliban taking control of the Afghan/Tajik border making it impossible to ride along some of the most challenging and beautiful parts of the region.

Many governments have shown their true colour during the pandemic with some even becoming totalitarian and turning against the very people that put them in power. I was appalled at how the supposed liberal government in Canada treated people during the protests over unnecessary mandatory vaccinations. Whatever happened to freedom of choice?

The last two years have certainly impacted everyones lives one way or another.

Throughout the pandemic I’ve kept in touch with contacts in Russia and Mongolia and have received regular updates on travel restrictions and border closures. We’re now in April 2022 and the Mongolian borders are still closed to tourism, as are the Russian borders.

When I retired in October 2019 I was ready to go on my trip, all visas were sorted, ferry off this little island of ours was booked and I was kitted up ready to go. I’d been waiting for this moment for years and it was finally coming or so I thought.

I’m now beginning to wonder whether it will ever be possible to ride through central Asia and experience the open plains of Mongolia freely. It’s certainly not going to happen this year (2022) and as for next year, who knows!

Since the Mongolia trip is well and truly on the back burner until further notice I started looking at other options. South America has always fascinated me but, many of the borders are still closed and their death rates are still high, it’s going to be some time before this is viable again.

Australia has now opened it’s borders and so perhaps this is now my only option?

I’ve always wanted to ride across the outback and ride the coast road around Oz so perhaps this should now be my focus. Shipping coasts due the pandemic are ridiculously high so I’d need to consider selling the bike in the UK and buying a bike in Australia for the trip.

Fortunately my wife’s nephew lives in Australia and so we have a contact there to get information about purchasing and insuring a bike.

The shape of travel has certainly changed over the last two years and not for the better. I’m not convinced it will ever go back to how it used to be but, we must strive to find ways around government restrictions so that we can experience this beautiful planet to the full.

More soon …

Getting back in the saddle post COVID19

Somewhere in the wilds of Suffolk

Now that the UK is starting to relax the COVID19 restrictions it’s been possible to get out on the bike more. Not being able to leave the country and head into Europe has meant that local rides are the only thing available at the moment, especially with Wales and Scotland keeping their lockdown in place and not allowing the English to visit.

The village of Walpole

I’ve been riding on my own on the little Honda CRF2510 Rally and really enjoying it. It’s the perfect bike for riding around the tiny B roads in Suffolk and Norfolk enjoying the countryside. Only problem has been not being able to get a drink very often as there is nowhere open for food or drink.

Not a soul for miles around

I’ve been using the Calimoto app to generate loop rides starting and ending at home. It really is superb for this and created some really interesting rides. The photo above is from an 80 mile loop ride automagically generated by Calimoto.

Being just just 15mins from the coast is handy to pickup the tiny coast roads and head north up through Suffolk and into Norfolk taking in Orford, Aldeburgh, Thorpeness and Sizewell to mention few eventually arriving at Walcott.

Phil and I on another of our coastal rides

I’ve also been stretching the legs of my Kawasaki Versys 1000 riding out with my good mate Phil who lives a couple of doors down from me. The weather has been superb and the riding has been great. The roads are getting a lot busier now which is a shame but to be expected. It’s been great to get out and about again for sure.

I’d really like to take the CRF250 Rally down to the Pyrenees this summer if at all possible and do the coast to coast route through the mountain trails. Whether this will be possible or not is still too hard to predict but we can but hope!

More soon …