Love for Riding: <b>A Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan Motorcycle Adventure</b>

Love for Riding: A Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan Motorcycle Adventure

I’m a motorcyclist. This, I think, describes me better than anything else. I’m in love with riding. I’ve got this in my blood. My father, grandfather, grand grandfather and also my grand grandmother were all riding at some point in their lives.
02-19-2019
Adventure

Article

Adam Dąbkowski
#REVITRIDER

Adam was born and raised in Warsaw, Poland. The Commercial and Video Content Producer grew up in an automotive environment with a shared passion for motorcycles. Adam first threw his leg over a bike when he was 10 years old: a Honda MTX80. Now, he’s graduated to a large touring bike and you can find him traveling the world with his wife in tow. Over the last five years, he has spent every holiday on two wheels. And as of almost two years, he created his own website, “Love For Ride,” which focuses on motorcycle routes, videos and motorcycle reviews. Check it out here.

WEBSITE | INSTAGRAM | FACEBOOK | YOUTUBE

Wayne Mitchell

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TRAVELING THE WORLDON TWO WHEELS

I had always dreamed about traveling around the world on a motorcycle. Five years ago, the dream started to come true. Together with my wife, Izabela, we conquered a huge part of Europe. Then, two years ago, we started the project “Love For Ride,” an online portal (including social media) focusing on the best riding roads in Europe. The goal was to showcase these roads to our audience via high-quality videos.

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Love for Ride 1
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FILMING THE ADVENTURE

I’ve been working in the film industry for nine years as a Production Manager/ Video Producer, so I was familiar with filmmaking, but not from the creative side. I always wanted to make a “real” motorcycle program, but it was hard to get the money together. Then I thought, hey, I could do it by myself! So I did.

Visiting Central Asia and South America on a motorcycle had a permanent place on my bucket list. The regions are a mecca for adventure riders. And last year we decided to do a Kyrgyzstan (officially the Kyrgyz Republic) and Tajikistan trip together on one bike.

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ADVENTURE: UNPAVED

We had quite a lot of prior experience with motorcycle trips on paved roads. As mentioned, we traveled across a large part of Europe, but I had basically no experience in off-road riding, especially with a passenger and luggage. The big challenge was to experience all this beautiful, raw terrain on a large adventure bike, loaded to the max.

In addition to typical luggage, we had to take all our own camping equipment (for two people), as well as film equipment and a drone. To prepare for the trip, I took a course in off-road riding with a big adventure bike, which turned out to be a very good decision.

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Riding with a Passenger

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OFF THE ROAD AGAIN

We traveled over 5,000 km on the roads of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, and of the 28 days in Kyrgyzstan, we spent 25-days riding. Had I known in advance which roads we would be riding on, I probably wouldn’t have taken a passenger!

Almost every road - except the main one (M41) – wasn’t paved. Some of them were even hard to call a road. The sections with loose surfaces (small pebbles, sand) and mud on mountain pass - where it rained heavily - were the worst. The hardest day was riding from Kazarman to Osh.

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Roads

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The black gravel road seemed more like a slow-paced river, governed by loose rocks, sand and mud. At times, it became so dangerous that I asked Iza to get off the bike so I could traverse the hazard without harming her in the process.

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FROM KAZARMAN TO OSH

What should have been an “ordinary” day of riding soon turned into something extraordinary. And not in a good way! It took the better part of 12 hours to complete 300 kilometers. While that might seem relatively fast for riding on a surface that loomed danger around every bend, it was exhausting, and at times, defeating.

The black gravel road seemed more like a slow-paced river, governed by loose rocks, sand and mud. At times, it became so dangerous that I asked Iza to get off the bike so I could traverse the hazard without harming her in the process.

On muddy, wet sections, the motorcycle slid around – sometimes uncontrollably, making it physically exhausting. Besided, during the whole process, I felt a lot of stress. Not only was I responsible for myself, but also for my wife. Both of us felt some form of fear and anxiety through this pass.

Despite my efforts to keep things under control, I got thrown off course into some very deep mud. What I didn’t expect was a rock to be hiding in the mud. I lost the front and… WIPEOUT. We hit the ground. I’m used to falling off, but it was Iza’s first time. Fortunately, we weren’t going fast, but Iza fell heavily on her side, flying out of the seat and lightly hitting her head on the ground. Fortunately, we fell in mud. Nothing happened and we walked away unscathed. The initial shock resulted in tears. I asked if Iza was okay. Finally she said, “I’m okay, but a little scared.”

A moment later she said, “It wasn’t so bad” and a smile appeared.

I picked up the GS and we decide that I would go through this section alone. I thought to myself, “I hope it ends soon, soon there’ll be a better road, but this is our only way out.”

Finally, after many hours, the nightmare ended and we arrived in Osh.

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Kyrgyzstan 1

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Kyrgyzstan 2

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THE SHOW MUST GO ON

We remember this experience like it happened yesterday. They say the toughest moments are remembered the longest. Then again, there were also beautiful moments, too. The amazing landscapes that can be found in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan made a lasting impression. Wild and beautiful. Kyrgyzstan has what seemed like never-ending green hills, covered only with grass. No trees can be seen.

Kyrgyzstan also has beautiful mountain lakes such as the Song - Kul. The lake is 270 km2 and is located on the largest meadow imaginable (the size of a large European city), which is surrounded on each side by mountains. There are no trees or buildings in this meadow. Locals travel here in the summer months, living like their ancestors in yurts. Some yurts are designed for guests, letting you see the world as it was 100 years ago. There is no electricity or running water. We also encountered herds of wild horses who often started running when we passed by. Fantastic.

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Tajikistan 1

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SO HIGH

Tajikistan is different. There’s no vegetation here. Altitude is over 4,500 meters high (the highest, Ak-Bakal pass, is at a height of 4,655 m). We sometimes felt like we could touch the sky. The clouds were low and it was cold. In front of us were what seemed like endless straight roads, partly asphalt, partly gravel, and mountains.

The color palette is sterile, from white (snow and salt), to light yellow to almost orange. The desert is almost devoid of life. Karakul Lake, the largest and most beautiful lake in the area, was created as a result of a meteor impact about a million years ago. The water has a beautiful blue color and there is no fish or other life present in the lake.

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THE PEOPLE WE MEET

Along the way, the local population lives simple, poor. But they’re also very happy and friendly (we did not have any unpleasant or dangerous situations). We also meet a lot of travelers. People from all over the world. It’s usually part of their trip around the world. Most often on bicycles, but there are motorcycles and off-road vehicles, as well.

NO REGRETS

We found ourselves on what we thought were some of the most beautiful off-road trails in the world. And while we had our share of challenges – bad weather, terrible road conditions and more - I wouldn’t hesitate about coming back. But to better explain our experience, check out, “Love For Ride”. Perhaps it will inspire you, too.

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WANT MORE?

Download Adam's favourite routes from this trip on Motorcycle Diaries.

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