During my overland crossing of Myanmar, I met two great motorcyclist travellers who are currently on an adventure of a lifetime. They are riding together on a Suzuki V-Strom 1000 and have some of the best travel stories I ever heard!
Here are 10 questions to the Claudia and Peter from RoadsUp:
Can you tell me a little bit about yourselves and your journey so far?
We are Claudia (29) and Peter (30) travelling with a Suzuki V-Strom 1000 from Austria to Southeast-Asia. We are currently in Thailand and plan to explore Laos and Cambodia as well. The two of us have been travelling 25,000 kilometers in 24 countries during the last seven months. Our goal is to explore as many countries as possible and see how the world really is!
Was this your first big motorcycle trip?
Yes, this is our first big motorcycle trip.
Peter did his first motorcycle trip in 2010 with a good friend. They travelled in Italy all the way south to Sicily, took the ferry to Greece and went back to Austria towards Albania and Croatia. From there on he got infected by the travel disease and planned to do a big trip later in life.
Our first motorcycle tour together was in 2014 from Austria to Morocco via Italy, France, Spain and Portugal for about 6 weeks. Then also Claudia became a huge fan of motorcycle travelling. After that we did smaller annual trips around Europe.
How did you plan your route?
Our goal was to ride as far as possible on the road without taking any ferries or airplanes. The next step was to check possible routes and if the borders are opened for crossing with our own bike.
In some countries like China or Myanmar the planning was more difficult as we needed a guide throughout our stay there. Normally it's cheaper to travel in a group with other overlanders.
What was your favourite country to ride through so far?
It's hard to say because every country has its own attractions. On such a long trip the mixture of different cultures is very interesting for us. For example we really liked Iran because of the friendly people there. We got invited everywhere.
Tajikistan was interesting due to spectacular mountain ranges along the famous Pamir highway. Another highlight was India. Everything is so colorful there!
Did you need help from locals along the way? If yes, where and why?
Yes, for example in Turkmenistan. Our rim was bent and locals took the motorcycle and us in their truck to Dushanbe. Another time we went out of fuel in Kazakhstan and had to stop.
A car stopped and took us to the next petrol station. In every country we found friendly locals who would help us if we had any problem.
You mentioned that you also rode your motorcycle through Afghanistan. Can you tell me about the preparations you did to ride through such a country and your experiences there?
At first we met Didier Martin in Turkmenistan, who told us in detail about his experiences about riding his own motorcycle in Afghanistan. In Khorog we applied for the visa and talked to others about their experiences in Afghanistan. For us it was important to have some contacts from local people in Afghanistan.
We also bought a detailed map and found out where to get fresh water, medical help etc. Before entering we took two canisters of extra fuel and a lot of food.
The first impression of Afghanistan was a bit shocking to be honest. In Sultan-Ishkashim all the women wore burkas that covered even the faces. In the Wakhan Valley things were different and we met so many friendly people and even got invited to their home to stay overnight!
What are 5 things that you brought with you on the trip that proved to be of great use during your trip?
Our tent proved to be very useful for us. It gives us the freedom to sleep nearly everywhere while on the road. It's also cheaper than sleeping in a hotel.
Sleeping bags - we use them not only while sleeping in the tent but also when it's cold and there is no heating inside the room or when we're not sure if the bedsheets got changed during the last month.
Our Rukka down jackets were extremely useful during cold nights in the tent but also while riding under the motorcycle jacket.
Waterproof bags - every one of our Givi panniers and bags is waterproof. Additionally we put our electric stuff in waterproof bags.
Multitool - we use it nearly everyday. We carry a tool containig small scissors, screwdriver, a knife and many more useful items in our motorcycle jacket.
What things did you get rid off during your trip or ended up being unnecessary?
During the trip we sent home a big parcel containing clothes, things that we had more than one of and spare parts. We still carry too much stuff on our motorcycle ;)
What is for you the best thing about traveling by motorbike?
Riding on a motorcycle means freedom for us. We can go wherever we want, stop wherever we want and don't have to wait for any public transportation. Travelling for us also means to visit different places of a country, not just the tourist areas.
If other people want to plan a motorcycle adventure like yours, what are their best (online) information resources that you can recommend for them?
OpenStreetMaps is really useful. It's free and we use it for navigation. Before starting we also read blogs and watched videos of other travelers to see their route and get some information.
Forums like Horizons Unlimited are good to find other travelers for groups like crossing China. If someone is interested in travelling around Central Asia, we highly recommend Caravanistan. They have some really useful information about border crossings and visa.
Thank you so much for sharing your stories and tips. I wish you many more great adventures and safe kilometers on the road!
It was nice talking to you. Hope to see you again somewhere on the road :).