RideUnlimited: From Russia to Japan
We Buy Any Bike would like to thank Jenny of RideUnlimited for contributing her travels to our website again!
In my last blog, we had just finished riding the famous western BAM road and were leaving Tydna. In Siberia, the transition from Summer to Winter is unlike anywhere else and Autumn as we know it lasts for only around a week or two. Temperatures were now dropping quickly so we had the heated gloves out and at max power!
We were now making our way South East to Vladivostok, which was 2,104km away on a straight, boring road. Once we had decided we wanted to get to Vladivostok and arrange bike shipping we got going, tackling this section in about 3.5 days. In this part of Russia, riding can be extremely boring which also makes it quite dangerous as there is nothing to break up the monotony of pine tree after pine tree and it becomes very easy to get tired and lose focus. It was also hard going in the freezing weather but with a lot of coffee and good music we made it:
Vladivostok is a charming city with a lovely, hilly setting, striking architecture and loads of sandy bays along its Pacific coastline. Sometimes known as the “San Francisco of the East”. The name Vladivostok loosely translates from Russian as "ruler of the East", the population of the city is around 606,589. Harbin in China is 515km away, whilst Japan is about 775km east. The city is the home port of the Russian Pacific Fleet and the largest Russian port on the Pacific Ocean.
Vladivostok was the perfect city to spend a few days getting back on our feet after the BAM and then riding over 14 hours a day making our way down. We finally had the chance to wash all of our disgusting riding clothes, and actually, go to a restaurant rather than eating noodles every night. The first night we arrived we dressed up, went out for some pizza and lots of cocktails! It was a great celebration night, which we were definitely in need of.
The Plan of Attack
Our plan was to ship our bikes to New Zealand from Vladivostok, this wasn’t what we originally wanted to do but unfortunately, costs were starting to pile up and we needed to make cuts. Before leaving the UK we had a rough idea of the countries we wanted to go on the bikes and trails we were interested in riding, Australia is meant to be one of the most amazing countries to ride in the world. It has everything, miles of offroad tracks in the sand, forest and gravel. This was one of the hardest cuts we’ve had to make but realised it would cost too much to get the bikes in, as Australia requires a Carnet De Passage.
A Carnet De Passage is a document which allows travellers to temporarily import their vehicles, without having to leave a cash deposit at the border. The Carnets were going to cost us £2000, and the shipping to and from was mounting up! So it was working out cheaper to do a one bike shipment from Russia to New Zealand.
We cleaned the bikes thoroughly and fixed them up from the BAM bashings, new mirrors on both bikes, rebuilt our forks, replaced brake lines and so on. After a whole day of working on the bikes, they were ready to put in the shipping container the next morning, for their two month trip to New Zealand.
The bikes were sorted and on their way to New Zealand, but we still didn’t know where we were going!
We had two months until we could meet our bikes in New Zealand. So we pulled up a map and decided on a country we have both always found exciting but never been... Japan! Flights were cheap from Vlad to Tokyo so we booked to fly out in two days. As well as visiting this fantastic country there was the added extra of meeting back up with my parents for two weeks, their last stop before flying home. They had also just put their Land Rover on the ship back to the UK so had some time before needing to head back!
Big In Japan
We arrived in Tokyo at night, which was absolutely incredible! Out of the airport, we got a 30-minute train to the city where our hotel was. We both had pretty heavy backpacks. Carrying all our work equipment (laptops, camera etc). But we couldn’t help but take a long way around to reach out hotel. Tokyo streets are like nothing we’d seen or experienced before. It felt like we had time travelled into the future. If you are familiar with the film Blade Runner you’ll know what I mean! Everything moves so fast in Tokyo, shops, lights, people everywhere... amazing.
We met my parents in Tokyo and from there got the Bullet train to Kyoto, about 2 hours away. Kyoto was once the capital of Japan. It's now famous for its numerous classical Buddhist temples. As well as gardens, imperial palaces, Shinto shrines and traditional wooden houses. Dave and I instantly fell in love in Kyoto! Now we think we’ll hopefully live there at least for a year at some point in the future. I have to say in our travels we haven’t met any culture quite as welcoming. The residents of Japan always seemed to go over and above being helpful and kind to us. They have a very respectful way, always polite and smiling, what an amazing country!
After two weeks adventuring around these two areas of Japan, it was once again time to move to another country. My parents got a flight back to the UK to meet their Land Rover. Dave and I sat down looking at the map. We were planning to check out South East Asia after Japan. At this point but we would have hit rainy season. So out of the blue, we decided our next port of call would be... Australia!
Follow the adventures of RideUnlimited here:
We would like Jenny for once again contributing her exciting journey to our blog! Here is a little bit about us...
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7 Nov 2018