Sitting here writing in the Zurich airport, with all the chaos around me, it’s hard to imagine that in just seven days I’ll be sitting on my BMW F800GS riding through rural China with my brother Colin Pyle. Just seven more days until our epic 60-day – 20,000km – motorcycle journey around China, The Middle Kingdom, begins.
So much has happened in the build up to this trip that it seems like it has been years in the making. But the idea of riding around China only came to be about five months ago, when my brother and I met in New York City in March 2010. Sitting in Central Park on a warm and sunny spring day we decided that something epic needed to be attempted. With my brother soon to be unemployed it was time to do a bit of travel together, after all this kind of freedom comes along so rarely in one’s life; we needed to seize the day.
With Colin already leaning towards a career change, it was then and there, while eating Subway Sandwiches, that our plan was hatched.
Colin would hand in his resignation, which he did three days after returning from New York, and sell his house in Toronto. I, on the other hand, would begin the marketing campaign and securing sponsors and equipment for our expedition. After five months much has been accomplished, but many challenges lay firmly in our path.
Riding a motorcycle around China poses obvious difficulties: the language, culture and food are all foreign. China also has the most dangerous roads in the world. There is also a potential for altitude sickness, food poisoning and even bureaucratic interference. While my brother Colin will experience all of this for the first time, I on the other hand, will have to draw on the knowledge and experience that I’ve collected over the last decade of living and working in China. The differences in opinions and experiences between my brother, a virgin adventure traveler, and I, an old “China Hand”, should make this expedition enjoyable for people to watch and follow. Colin and I will be producing a documentary film from our journey as well as a written book. You can follow our journey and our updates at: www.mkride.com or here on OneWheelDrive.Net.
With just seven days to go I wish I could say everything has been wrapped up and taken care of, but things are far from settled.
The most serious problems have been importing motorcycles and equipment which involved working our way through Chinese Customs. That includes paying a 100% luxury tax on our (BMW) motorcycles, importing spare parts which seems bureaucratically impossible in China, importing Motorcycle specific GSP Navigators which are officially illegal and paying 30% import duty on rider clothing. Expensive? Yes. Exhausting? Yes. Rewarding? I’ll let you know a week from now!
With all the headaches aside, it can’t be underestimated how amazing this journey around China will be. In our 60 days on the road much will be experienced, as the Middle Kingdom (China) offers much in the way of hospitable people, stunning landscapes and great adventures. I predict the riding will be incredible diverse and challenging. It will also be extraordinatry to ride for the SEVA Charitable Foundation. Throughout our journey we at The Middle Kingdom Ride will be speaking about the SEVA Charitable foundation and all the great work they’ve been doing in remote regions of the world, assisting people who are struggling for basic healthcare and cultural survival. You can learn more about SEVA at www.seva.org.
We would also like to take a moment to thank our corporate sponsors (listed below), who have all assisted us throughout the buildup to this journey.
Lastly, please do stay in touch. Take the time to introduce our journey to your friends and family and we’ll be sure to send regular updates
Photographer, Film Maker, Adventurer & Motorcycle Rider
**Charitable Partner** – The Middle Kingdom Ride is riding to raise funds for SEVA, a charitable foundation that has, for more than 30 years, served people around the world who are struggling for health, cultural survival and sustainable communities. Learn more about SEVA at http://www.seva.org, and make a donation today.
**Corporate Sponsors** – The Middle Kingdom Ride could not have happened without our wonderful corporate sponsors: BMW, Touratech, The Tomson Group, Airhawk, Pelican, Kodak, Oakley, Cardo Systems, Lowe Pro & Mandarin House.