Kazakhstan, it nearly goes Pete Tong

We had time to make up so it needed to be a long slog up the road of nearly 750 miles. of high speed pot hole dodging

I was just thinking this area should be called Flatistan and that I’d have nothing to put in my blog when BANG!

I was doing about 70 mph when the back wheel locked up! ” Foo Kin ‘Ell” I thought in Chinese. I do speak Chinese so why I was thing in Chinese I have no idea. To save you going to Google translate this means “This is not good”

Clutch in but bike still locked up so I know the engine hasn’t seized. Maybe the chains come off and it’s jammed in the wheel?

Then it free’s up and i coast to the side of the road with my heart racing thinking it’s nearly all over, well it is now. Shit but at least I’m in one piece even if the bike isn’t is my next thought.

I jump off the bike as Ian does a U turn and comes back to see what’s wrong. The cause is immediately obvious.

We’ve been carrying our spare tyre on the back strapped to the rear luggage rack brace. The webbing strap has come loose and got caught in the back wheel with such force that it’s bent the metal support bar and dragged the bar and the spare tyre into my back tyre. Fortunately the webbing strap has snapped and that’s why it all free’d up. Have a look at the picture and you’ll see what I mean.

Could have been nasty but I’ve been very lucky.

My spare tyre goes on the back of Ian’s bike and off we go dodging thunderstorms, if it doesn’t rain it pours. First rain in over a month.

We carry on for another 200 miles till we get to the first big town of Oskemen wihich although is still technically Kazakhstan, it’s predominantly Russian but was given to Kazakhstan some years ago. That’s polotics for you.

I wander into the first car workshop I see and try and explain I need some welding doing by miming, pulling starnge faces and making funny noises.

Sergei thinks I’m mad though luckily he’s a tolerant guy. Then all the workshop turn out for a look at the lunatics that have just arrived and in typical Russian fashion, nothings a problem. Andrei his brother and also the boss speaks some English so he has to put up with me boring him to death whislt Sergei does the hard graft.

Half an hour later job done and when I ask how much I owe them he looks at me as if I’ve just asked to marry his lovely wife who is also there. With this kind of generosity I do contemplate asking if he’ll lend me a couple of million dollars but reckon I’d be taking advantage of his kindness so we part with big smiles and handshakes to find a hotel for the night.

The bikes have to be parked on the street so this morning I went out to check everythings ok to find a note on the handlebars which read.

“Smooth roads and a strong tailwind from the bikers of Oskemen (which is also known as Ust Kamenogorsk). How cool is that, but “smooth roads”…..Don’t they know who Iam? I’m Ewan MacBoreman.

Off to the Russian border and the Altai Mountains next.

Some bloke on a horse

Some bloke on a horse



Oops this isn't right

Oops this isn’t right

Mordor, where's the hobbits?

Mordor, where’s the hobbits?

Andrei and his mate

Andrei and his mate

Sergei doing the fixing

Sergei doing the fixing

Andrei and Sergei's workshop

Andrei and Sergei’s workshop

Sergei and Andrei, my hero's

Sergei and Andrei, my hero’s


    • Shaun

      Hi Andrey

      Great to hear from you, I hope you liked the photo’s

      Once again mnay thanks for the help fixing my bike so late on during the day. The help was greatly appreciated.

      All the best


  1. Shaun

    Hi Julie

    Ian here, glad you’ve enjoyed the blog.
    Alan’s doing a great job so I’m off to Magadan for another month.
    Shaun is very jealous!

  2. Julie Clare


    Hi Ian,
    Was standing in the pouring rain last night waiting for James Blunt to appear on stage at Hoghton Tower. Then I spotted Tony Smith huddled up under his waterproof with his wife. So after much chat he told me about this blog and to have a look. It’s great and looks like you’re having a fab time. No doubt you’re missing your work and those trees…
    Must go. Some of us have work to do Ian! Regards Julie Clare

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