Intrepid R5K member and former MCN man is on a trip of a lifetime
At the start of the year, Andy Davidson, and his girlfriend Alissa, did what many of us have always dreamed of doing – he gave up the job, rented out the house, loaded up the bike and headed off with a plan to ride around the world. We’ve been following his progress since he rode through snowy Europe in January. He’s now riding where few dare: through Tajikistan and into Afghanistan.
“I knew it was going to be special when the Tajik border guard drew back the curtains to reveal towering mountains – a tease of the legendary Pamir Highway to come. We were finally out of Uzbekistan’s flats and into Tajikistan’s peaks. With grins so big they poked out the side of our helmets, we clicked into first gear and raced towards them.
“As we entered Khorog, a little town in the Tajik mountains, we saw an Afghan flag flying high above a building, signalling an embassy. Two days later we left in silence, clutching our Afghan visas and wondering what the hell we were doing.
“Similar thoughts crossed our minds as another Tajik border guard raised his eyebrows, stamped our passport out and said “Good luck”. The Afghan border guards unshackled the rusty, barbed wire gates and beckoned us in. Within minutes, we were in their office, drinking tea and joking around.
“Once we made it to the main town we were quickly pulled into shops for photographs, welcomed into homes, ate with the locals and spent hours chatting to the military. But we came here to ride into the Wakhan Corridor in the north east, where nomadic people live far removed from the rest of the war-ravaged country.
“Hours of paperwork later and we were riding into one of the most remote places on earth. We left nearly all our gear in Tajikistan, carrying only spare fuel, water, a tent and a few clothes and the bike still took a hammering. Jagged rocks infested the ground and sand pits snatched tyres, trying to wrench us off. But being locked into a breath-taking valley by soaring mountains was worth it.
“Leaving Afghanistan was hard, and not just because the guards said we couldn’t go, but because the Yamaha had enough with a puncture and a snapped spoke. By the time we got back into the high passes of Tajikistan the rear shock completely gave up and released all its fluid.
“With no rear suspension and a pogo stick for a spring we have 550km of gruelling off-roading and the no-mans land between Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan to go before we reach the nearest city.
“It’s been an amazing experience and I urge anyone contemplating to just do it. Next stop, Mongolia… maybe.”