We understand that booking a motorcycle expedition is a big commitment both financially and in terms of time and preparation. Here are some of the most common questions we are asked before riders make a booking. If you wish to meet with us prior to booking to ask more questions, do not hesitate to contact us and we can set up a one-to-one meeting. In addition, we hold a Pre-Expedition Meeting for the group at our premises around 6 months prior to the start of the expedition.
What type of bike do I need?
Our expeditions are designed so that you can use your own motorcycle. We recommend that you use a dual purpose / adventure style bike. We support any make and model. Our Support Crew normally ride the Triumph Tiger 900XCA or Tiger 1200XCA. We also have extensive experience with the BMW GS motorcycle range, having ridden them for over 15 years and many riders chose a BMW GS bike. The smallest capacity bike that has been used on this trip previously has been the Honda CB500X. What is important is that you have a reliable and robust bike that you are comfortable riding and that it has been properly prepared and fully serviced prior to the start and has new tyres.
What riding experience do I need?
This trip is not suitable for novice riders. It is our toughest expedition and is only suitable for those with advanced road riding skills, experienced in riding up to 400 road miles in one day and be confident at tackling up to 250 miles on challenging, unpaved roads. Three weeks of riding is at high altitudes over 4,000 metres, where it is often cold. Ideally you should also have other travel experience in developing countries, either on or off the bike.
We generally recommend that you are an experienced motorcyclist, who has ridden overseas before and is used to touring. You will enjoy the experience more if your riding is of an advanced standard and by that we mean you have a good command of slow control (eg you don’t dangle your feet or paddle at slow speeds and can U-turn your bike), you are assertive on the road and have good forward planning and hazard perception, you are able to perform safe and precise overtakes and are able ride to the legal speed limits.
You also need to have experience of riding your motorcycle on unpaved surfaces such as gravel, and dirt as some of the expedition routes are on these types of roads. In addition, if there any roadworks on our route, normally diversions will be on temporary dirt roads.
Please note that our route covers around 10% of dirt and gravel roads (up to 1,200 miles), although as the infrastructure develops, this may reduce in future years.
If you need to improve your off road riding skills, attending a training school such as Adventure Bike Training www.adventurebiketraining.co.uk, Triumph Adventure Experience https://www.triumphmotorcycles.co.uk/adventure-experience or BMW Off Road Skills is highly recommended.
It is your responsibility to ensure your motorcycling skills are up to the requirements for this Expedition.
How does motorcycle freight work?
We start the expedition from the Ace Café, London, so UK and some EU riders can ride to the start point.
If you are a non-UK resident, you are responsible for organising your own freight to the start. We are able to provide you with details of our UK freight agent, who can organise the freight of your motorcycle to the UK from your own country. They can customs clear your motorcycle in the UK and you simply need to collect it from the freight agent’s depot and ride to London or they can deliver your bike to the start point in London. This is an additional cost to you. You are free to organise your own freight through your own freight agent, at your own cost.
At the end of the trip, all bikes are road transported from the Ace Café to Tianjin, and then sea freighted back to the UK. This is included in your expedition price. From the UK, if required, you can request a UK freight agent to onward freight your motorcycle to your home country. This onward freight is a separate arrangement, at your own cost. You are free to organise your own freight through your own freight agent.
If we have at least 3 riders from the same non-UK destination, we can do a separate sea freight arrangement direct to that country, as part of your expedition price.
What about servicing & tyres?
All motorcycles must arrive at the start fully serviced and with new tyres. There are no authorised motorcycle dealers for Triumph, BMW, KTM once we leave Istanbul and before China. A minor service is then done around 6000 miles into the trip (Samarkand / Dushanbe). This is done by you with assistance from the Support Crew if requested. All riders need to supply a minor service kit and change of tyres, which we will carry in our support vehicle. The tyres need to be a dual purpose or knobbly tyre ready for the rougher roads in Tajikistan and Western China.
Is it difficult to get fuel?
We have never had any issue with finding fuel. In certain regions, once en route, we will warn you in advance of any possible fuel shortages or if there is a route with a key fuel stop, where everyone must fill up with fuel to get to the next destination. It is not necessary to fit any after-market large fuel tank or carry fuel bottles, although some riders chose to do so. Our support vehicle also carries spare fuel for emergencies.
What is the average group size?
Our groups are normally between 10 – 15 riders (some have passengers). Our groups are often very international and whilst the majority of riders come from the UK, we also get riders from USA, Canada, South Africa, Australia, Switzerland, Scandinavia, Spain, France, Germany, Italy, Russia and so on. Groups are predominantly solo male riders.
Is this ride suitable for a passenger?
We have had other riders successfully complete this ride with a pillion passenger. Your passenger needs to also be an experienced tourer, used to long distance riding and riding on unpaved roads. Your passenger must ride the motorcycle each touring day – there is no option to sit in the support vehicle as this is only for participants who are ill or injured, or unless the road conditions are too difficult for a rider and passenger to attempt two-up. In some end destinations, there is accommodation where, as a couple, you will not get privacy and bathroom facilities can be very primitive.
Is there a support vehicle?
All our expeditions have a dedicated GlobeBusters Support Vehicle, driven by a GlobeBusters Support Driver. It is capable of carrying two motorcycle and two passengers. Our support vehicles carry a satellite phone, mobile phone, medical bag and spinal board, spare fuel, water, tools, some spare parts, some spare tyres. Our support vehicle provides temporary assistance to you if you have a mechanical problem or an accident and are injured. Depending on the size of the group, we may also take a second support vehicle and if not, we will have an additional local support vehicle in Xinjiang and Tibet.
These are not a luggage vehicles – you must carry your own luggage on your motorcycle. For more information, please see our Support Vehicle section.
Do I have to ride in a group?
No! We do not make you ride in convoy. We offer you the freedom to decide how you would like to ride. We give you a road book, GPS co-ordinates and hotel information. You can use this to self-navigate. If you prefer to ride with our Motorcycle Support Rider, then you can do this. However, there are some politically sensitive places where we must ride together. In China and Turkmenistan, whilst we don’t have to ride in strict convoy, we need to make sure that we are travelling relatively close together. We will also ask you to ride in a group when we are crossing a border or if there is a security issue.
What documents do I need?
You will need your original documents as follows: Passport, Motorcycle Registration Document or Title, Driving Licence from the country of your residence, International Driving Permit (1949 & 1968), minimum 3rd Party Motorcycle Liability Insurance (where available), Travel Insurance Certificate (see below).
Do I need any Visas?
As visa requirements are dependent on your nationality and a complex with constantly changing requirements, we appoint a visa agency to assist with the process https://www.thevisamachine.com/ Most nationalities will require visas for Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and China. The Visa Machine will have a dedicated GlobeBusters Portal on their website for you to order your visas, which they can get for all nationalities via the Embassies in London. The only exception to this is the Chinese visa, which MUST be obtained by you in person at the Chinese Visa Centre in your own country of residence. At our pre-departure meeting, we cover this in detail to ensure you have all the information to enable you to apply for the visas you need.
Special note about logistics for entry and exit of China
Your price includes entry and exit of China, as part of the group arrangement. Our entry point is the Torugart Pass. Our exit point is Beijing / Tianjin. This is agreed as part of the permissions given for our group to ride overland across China and is done well in advance of travel. You are not able to change your exit point after 31 January 2021. Should you wish to have a different exit point to the main group, you must inform us on booking and additional charges will apply, depending on the exit arrangement that you want.
What about my health when I am abroad?
You need to be physically fit and healthy and also take the necessary health precautions. It is essential for you to consult your doctor or travel clinic for up-to-date medical travel information prior of travel, particularly if you have a pre-existing medical condition. For up-to-date medical advice you may wish to use the Medical Advisory Service for Travellers Abroad “MASTA” https://www.masta-travel-health.com/ , the NHS website http://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/home.aspx or NaTHNaC https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/ .
You will be obliged to disclose any medical condition or medication that you are taking to GlobeBusters in advance and to your Tour Manager at the start of your Tour, for health and safety purposes. We provide you with our Emergency Details Form for this purpose and to collect information about who to contact for you back home in the event of an emergency.
You must not bring any medicines that contain tramadol, codeine, temazepam, morphine or opiates to Central Asia. These are illegal in all circumstances in most of Central Asia. You could be arrested for possession. If you are not sure about a particular medicine, then please do not bring it.
Please note that many countries on this route do not have the same level of medical infrastructure nor consistent medical standards that you may be used to. In particular, emergency services often may be a long distance away, with no co-ordinated response, or sometimes no medical response available within reasonable times. Please do not book this trip if this unduly concerns you.
First Aid Training
It is not a requirement to be first aid trained to participate in this expedition. However, we do strongly recommend that you consider doing a motorcycle first aid course. Some sections of this trip are remote and hundreds of miles away from medical treatment. If you, or a rider you are with, are involved in any accident, whilst not riding with or not close to the support team, having first aid skills may make a significant difference to an injured party.
You will be travelling to areas of altitude up to 5,500m, so you must think carefully about how fit you are and whether altitude may be an issue. Some pre-existing medical conditions are known to severely worsen at high altitude and be difficult to adequately treat on the ground, leading to more serious consequences. It is imperative that you discuss your pre-existing medical condition/s with your doctor. We understand certain medications are reported to aid acclimatising to high altitude; please discuss these options with your doctor. You must inform you Tour Manager of any altitude danger signs so that you can reports these as soon as possible.
Disease from Mosquitos
According to Travel Heath Pro there is a very low risk of malaria in mainland China. It is essential that you seek medical advice prior to travel. Whilst travelling there are several simple measures you can take to reduce your risk of infections spread by mosquitoes: wear suitable clothing and cover up at times of day when mosquitoes are active, use insect repellent on exposed skin.
Travel / Medical Insurance
It is a condition of you travelling with us that you are adequately insured. Your insurance policy must cover you for the costs of any medical expenses, medical treatment or repatriation needed, due to injury or illness on this trip, including those that occur whilst motorcycle touring, either as the rider or a passenger. It is important that your insurance company understands that the MAIN PURPOSE of your trip is motorcycle touring, using your own large capacity cc motorcycle or a rental motorcycle. Your insurance must cover you for the full duration of the trip and for all countries we travel through.
In addition, we strongly recommend that your insurance policy has cover for loss or damage to your personal belongings, delay at your outward or homeward point of departure, personal liability, overseas legal expenses and cancellation and curtailment. We also strongly recommend that you take out your travel insurance at the time of booking your trip as cover will commence for pre-departure cancellation from the policy issue date. This will therefore provide cover should you have to cancel your trip for an insured reason such as illness or serious injury. We do not refund your deposit simply because you failed to take out insurance in sufficient time.
Are these countries safe?
The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) (www.fco.gov.uk/travel) monitors overseas destinations and provides destination travel advice for UK nationals. GlobeBusters monitors the advice from the FCO and any decisions taken regarding a Tour’s safety and security will use the vast experience of the company’s 16 years of operating as well as the FCO advice. In the interests of your safety and security, changes may be made to your Tour based on any FCO warnings given.
We strongly recommend that you read the information about the country you are planning to visit to be fully informed – each country has a summary and general information as well as advice on safety & security, local laws & customs, entry requirements and health, and road conditions.
There are currently warnings and travel restrictions in place about travel to the countries listed in the itinerary due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We assume that by the time of travel these will have been withdrawn.
If you are not a UK national please make sure you have checked your own country’s travel advice for your destination/s: The US Department of State: http://travel.state.gov Canadian Foreign Affairs: www.voyage.gc.ca Australian Government Travel Advice: www.smartraveller.gov.au NZ Government Travel Advice: www.safetravel.govt.nz.
What will the weather be like?
This motorcycle expedition is run at the most optimum time for the best weather possible. We have to have a start date that is not too early or the weather in the mountains in Turkey and Central Asia may be too cold with snow. Nor do we want to leave much later than the current start date, as we want to avoid peak rains and monsoon season in China and very high temperatures in the deserts in Central Asia. It is a fine balancing act. Clearly riding in Europe in mid-April, the weather could be cold and rainy or fine and sunny.
The bottom line is that on this trip, it is possible to experience every weather condition – from below freezing to above 45 degrees centigrade heat, from baked searing deserts to flooded Chinese streets. So be prepared!
What about local currency?
For Europe, Turkey, Georgia, the EURO is used / readily exchangeable. Once in Central Asia and China, the base currency for this trip is the US Dollar. The US Dollar is readily exchangeable for the local currencies. When you bring US Dollars, it must be in MINT condition or locals will not readily exchange the notes. The websites below will give you the current rates of exchange.
We require a minimum number of 10 riders on this tour. If we do not have this number of bookings, then we reserve the right to cancel the tour. If we have to cancel the tour we will provide you a minimum of 84 days notice prior to departure.