Big bike trip - South Africa to China
31 January 2012 10:31
We are riding KTM 990 Adventure motorcycles from South Africa to China and in the process raising funds for Autism Research Trust.
Fanny, a former professional beach volleyball player, is the first Chinese woman to undertake such an adventure and has only 12 months riding experience under her belt.
She has now successfully ridden 22,000km across Africa and has gained a local following in China of over a million people who follow her through her blog and Chinese language articles.
We have just had to detour around Jordan and Israel and now back to Egypt as we cannot continue through Syria because of the troubles.
It is possible to ride through, but not worth the risk and so we will be shipping our bikes from Alexandria, Egypt to Mersin, Turkey by cargo ship thanks to COSCO, a Chinese shipping company, and the Chinese Ambassador to Egypt, who stepped in and kindly helped us.
We plan to continue riding through Turkey, Bulgaria, Greece, Albania, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Germany, France and to the UK and then explore northern European countries such as Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland and then through Russia before crossing into Xinjiang province of China from Kazakhstan.
We will be joined by several Chinese motorcycle clubs as we tour through Tibet and other Chinese provinces and plan to finish in Hong Kong in September.
We are still contemplating Alaska to Argentina, but will have to check remaining funds.
So far, our KTMs have been faultless, even though Fanny managed to cartwheel her bike several times in the sand in Namibia and along the infamous Moyale road rocks in north Kenya.
Pleased to say both Fanny and her bike just received a few scratches and grazes. The only mechanical hitch has been to temporarily replace a broken starter relay that "melted" in the Nubian desert.
Seems wiring in a generic Chinese one worked well enough and kept us going in the 50 degrees heat until we got to KTM Sharm El Sheikh in the Sinai where our bikes got a welcome and good quality service.
We have met a few bikers along the way on all sorts of motorcycles from BMW, Yamaha, Jinchang, Suzuki and other KTMs and from all over Europe.
Of course the expedition has been full of adventure and excitement, and we have many stories and all sorts of advice and suggestions about planning, bike set up, carnes, permits, visas, riding techniques, costs, places to stay and see etc...
But we have perhaps two important tips:
1) Keep your sense of humour
2) keep those fuel filters clean
The whole story, photos and videos at www.bigbiketrip.net