Long Way Home 1

Update - clothing

Boots BMW Savanna Enduro  A big mistake for this trip of ours. The boots themselves were everything I could have wished for at the beginning of the tour, however, they were a nightmare for me when the temperature went up. The Gore-Tex lining was unable to cope with the heat generated and became uncomfortable and sweaty. For the cooler, wetter climate of Europe they are ideal. A pair of plain leather enduro style boots, and for the wet spells, Gore Tex socks, would have been a better option.  I shall know better next time.

Jacket  Polo Mohawk. A good rugged, half-leather/fabric jacket with integral waterproof membrane. Cost me 199 euros 18months ago and is still going strong after 30,000miles A little warm in temperatures of 45+ but nothing unbearable. I did decide to ride with the sleeve zips undone once, to let a little breeze through, something I regretted when a bee flew up my sleeve and stung me!


Trousers  BMW Atlantis 3.  Leather trousers with a removable Gore-Tex lining.  Truly a fantastic pair of pants. I would recommend these to anybody. They look good even when covered in sand and dust. My problem now is that after loosing 20lbs, mostly from my bum and legs, I look rather like a baggy rhinoceros from the rear.


Helmet  A Shoei Syncrotec pinched in Ulaan Bataar and replaced with a black, Chinese made, open faced bubble visored atrocity. Mick tried to get me a job as a human cannonball on the strength of this replacement helmet. It wasn’t until we reached Germany that I was able to replace the helmet with another Shoei.


Heated Waistcoat  Widder … and they work!  Siberia in March/April, still winter, frozen lakes, frozen roads… and a pleasure to be riding the ‘bike.  An unsung hero if ever there was one!

The rest or, as Mick calls it T’other stuff.

The rest of my clothing amounted to 3 pairs of quick drying pants and 1 bra. 1pair of polycotton trousers with zip off legs, 2 T shirts and 1 fleece sweatshirt made from Polartec quick drying fabric. 1 easy dry shirt made by Mountain Equipment and a fleece jacket with a reversible windproof side. I took a cotton sweatshirt, which was not particularly easy, to wash or dry and I wouldn’t take again. A pair of Damart long johns were a godsend for the bitterly cold Russian weather and I wished I had taken with me a polycotton wrap around skirt for the hot and sunny countries. The only items of clothing I bought were a couple of cotton T shirts in Uzbekistan.

Of the items I took but didn’t use, the small world band radio could have been jettisoned early on, as could the plastic plates, as we ate everything out of bowls.

I wished I had taken a pumice stone and another throwaway razor. Now you might think that an odd thing for a woman to wish she had taken, but the grief I got from Mick for nicking his razor to shave my legs with was unbelievable!

Paperwork (my department!)

International Driving Licence – nobody ever asked me for this.

Ordinary Driving Licence – again, nobody wanted to see it.

Insurance. No interest shown.

Passport – Obviously everybody wanted to see this.

Health Insurance we paid £295.50 each for 4 months, enabling us to be flown home from wherever, should the occasion arise. Campbell Irvine is the travel insurance specialist.

V5 document. Absolutely no interest shown. BUT a translation of the V5 document obtained from the RAC with all the bike details translated into Russian was the most important document we had. Every border control we went through accepted this booklet as ‘the bikes passport’ it was without doubt the bargain of the year at a mere £5.50. I would advise anybody who wants to travel through the old Russian states to obtain one.

We were advised to take small denomination US$  for ‘smoothing the way’. Never once were we asked for money/ read bribes, and the 1 and 5 dollar bills were a nuisance, getting a really poor exchange rate in most of the ‘Stan’ countries.



Boots    Da
ytona … simply the best!  Unlike me, when they’re knackered, they can be re-built!

Jacket  BMW Rally 2 (Rainbow Motorcycles) a great piece of kit.  Great going through Siberia with a heated waistcoat underneath, and in its element through Turkmenistan when the temperatures exceeded fifty degrees, but when it rains then it’s not quite as user friendly.  Great for a shower or two… no probs.  BUT it is sold as hot territory tackle, and for this it exceeds all expectations.  Goretex lining out, ventilation zips open, and it’s the Bees Knees.  Did I say zips… Oh c’mon BMW not again!!!!!

Trousers   BMW Atlantis … they’ll bury or cremate me in mine!  Perhaps the best bit o’ kit ever.  If I’ve nothing to cuddle up to then these will do nicely.  Hot or cold they’re comfortable.  I’ve fallen off on track days and they even work!

Helmet   Schuberth Helm Concept … helmets always a personal thing, like tyres, but  this helmet suits me… I like it, it’s great,  ‘nuff said! The sun visor is the ‘pièce de rèsistance’! 

Heated Waistcoat   Widder. Perhaps the most valuable piece of clothing, luxurious warmth, real heat, a must for anybody riding in wintry conditions. It makes me look forward to winter, just to plug it in to the 12v socket!

T’other stuff   BMW Xstatic silver function ‘T’ shirts and BMW underpants (Rainbow Motorcycles) again does what it says on the tin!  Wash and dry overnight, don’t smell when sweaty (honest!) because of the silver… two pair of underpants, two ‘T’ shirts, carried for five months… honest! Really good tackle and the first into the panniers for future trips….

‘North Face’, Rohan style, lightweight trousers, fold up to almost nothing, dry overnight, windproof… and comfortable.  One pair lasted the five months and are still like new.  Well worth the money!

Berghaus Zero lightweight walking boots, the only footwear I took apart from the Daytona’s.  Like slippers, friendly kit, take up little space… love ‘em to bits.

BMW Comfortemp Schoeller ‘long johns’ (Rainbow Motorcycles) only wore them in Siberia, but would have had frozen ‘parts’ without them…

What I took but didn’t use  Nothing really… we did our homework!

What I didn’t take  Belt and braces… honest!  I could have done with a belt for my North Face pants so that I could hang the compact camera on it, and keep the pants up, and braces for the Atlantis pants. I lost a stone and they kept falling down… honest.  I didn’t take any sunglasses, thinking that the sun visor of the Schuberth helmet would be sufficient… it wasn’t, it was bright in the desert! I didn’t do my homework that well now did I!

I also didn’t take as many photographs as perhaps I should.  Stuck in the deep sand, sandstorms, loading the ‘bike onto a lorry, river crossings… there were many occasions I should have got the camera out, but unfortunately survival at that time was foremost in my mind, to get on with the job, no time to get the camera out, but maybe I should have!

Sue wished that she had taken another disposable razor!  After the first time she nicked my razor she didn’t get any more grief from me… for just as we had ‘dummy’ wallets in case we were robbed or held up, then after the first time I had a ‘dummy’ razor.  I kept an old blade in it, and just put a new blade in when I shaved, took it out afterwards and hid it, and put the old blade back in!  She never complained, didn’t cut herself, and didn’t  even know until she reads this!

Gadgets  A self confessed ‘gadget’ freak, I carried two Swiss Army knives, a Leatherman AND a Gerber… they all have their specific tasks of course, but they were outclassed by a small Winchester multi-tool that Alfons, Christians father at the Hotel Forsthaus, gave me as we departed there in March.  Small enough to be carried at all times, it repaired an ailing GPS, two helmets, a rear brake master cylinder, cooker, several zips and performed numerous other tasks on a daily basis. It’s in my pocket now!

The tins of chain spray we carried were quite simply clipped into the inside of the rear tyres we were carrying on the back of the ‘bikes!  Simple eh!



“Promises and pie crusts are made to be broken” Jonathan Swift