Saturday, 14 December 2013

Starting the paper work!

Last weekend we went to see our friends Nick and Lesley. Those guys spent 3 years going round the world on a big bike, after taking early retirement. When they came back to the UK, they took a job in a motorcycle tour company in Spain, for the summer. Then, they cycled back to the UK! Oh but that is not all. 
They then decided to cross all of Russia... So their advice for Russia was certainly very valuable. Let's just say than the next day I ordered a sheewee from Amazon! 

Anyone interested can check their website: If you can catch with them. They're off to Morroco for the winter and then India next summer! 

I decided to use the same agency that they used for the visas. So on Monday I sent an email to I had a very quick answer, and finally put my application with them.

Few issues with me unfortunately. First, I am french and therefore I need to show a return plane ticket, despite the fact that I will be riding there all the way! Oh well, luckily I found that easyjet has very cheap flights to Moscow. I will get the cheapest fare on cheapest days as I will not use them! What a waste!

The second issue is related to the fact that I am a contractor, hence not on a permanent job. Anyway, I will get all the docs I think. The process is started and, finger crossed, in few weeks time I will get a multi entry business visa to Russia. Then I will apply for Uzbekistan's visa, another one not that easy to get. I will need the agency to help on those. As for the rest, Kazakh, Tajikistan and Mongolia I will apply for those in March / April as they should be easy to get.

This morning we took our little bikes to the workshop to discuss what would need to be done. Long list! Won't be cheap but hopefully the bikes should then be in top condition to take us all the way to Mongolia! We will drop them in January. 

I am still deciding on best itinerary. This is important as I need to know when we will get where. The 30 days visas for most of those Stans countries are with fixed entry / exit dates! So I need to be sure the visa kick in when we get at the border, and that we stil have enough days left to cross.... 

So, still a fair amount of planning before we are ready! 

That's all for now! 

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Learning Russian!

Before moving to Brazil, in June 2011, we had been planning to motorcycle from London to Sydney via northern Asia.

Brazil (and work!) got on the way.

As part of my trip preparation, I had been learning Russian for 1 1/2 year. Very tough!
But as we came back to the UK late last year, I had to revive our plan. At least ride to Mongolia.

So I am taking lessons again. Across all of central Asia, and even in Mongolia, speaking a bit of Russian will come very useful. No one speak much English on those parts of the world!

This time, as I have little time, I am having one to one sessions with a great teacher! She is designing the course for my specific needs on the road. So I can ask my way round, find the border, find where and how to ask about buying local insurance for the bikes, food, shelter, we will cover all that.

Of course the hardest part is to understand the answer! :)

I have bought all the maps we need from Stanfords, in Covent Garden, I love that bookshop! I could spend hours looking at their maps and guides. These maps will help me with my planning. You see, I deal with all the logistic, while Alistair deals with the mechanic and bikes preparations, as well as the GPS (OSM maps to loads and lots of way-points to add). That will be essential in Mongolia, where there are virtually no roads.

Tomorrow I am sending my bike's seat to get customised (lowered!). In January the bikes are going to the workshop to get checked, serviced, lots of parts replaced ....

That's all for now on our preparations! добрый вечер!

our travel bikes (well mine, but the other is similar!)