Thursday, 30 December 2010

Once In A Lifetime

What a dream ! To ride a KTM across the steppes of Central Asia and Mongolia's Gobi Desert. Did you see Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman go the Long Way Round from London to New York ?  Mongolia was the best bit, completely wild and amazing. You can do it this summer if you sign up now to one of the trips set to run from June through to the end of September.  Most of the roads you would think of as "off-road" and the lightweight KTM 450EXC and Yamaha WR250F bikes are just the job. You don't have to carry all your own stuff because there are support vehicles for that. You don't have to think about food, water or accommodation either because that's all taken care of.  You only have to concentrate on good riding and enjoying yourself. Get all the info here:

Mongolians themselves are quite keen on motorcycling, even from an age far too young to be safe and legal. They seem to think of it as a kind of motorised horse; but it goes faster and is more expensive to run. They used to favour the 350cc air cooled  Russian Izh Planeta  which could carry loads of weight.

Nowadays the shiny but unreliable 150cc Chinese Mustang is the motorbike of choice because it uses only 2 litres petrol to get 100 km which outweighs all other disadvantages. Anyway, the local people don't need to get anywhere fast, but if they have to travel a vast distance to get to where they're going then fuel consumption is of vital importance. Also the Chinese bike's electric starter is delightfully easy and spare parts are available in every small market.

 The KTMs and Yamahas attract a lot of attention because they are so beautiful and make a great sound, espcially en masse. Local people never comment on a Westerners bizarre off-road body armour because they are much too polite and would pretend not to notice that the riders look as though they've landed here from the moon.

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