A Travellerspoint blog

A Thank You

Some things make long distances so much more comfortable

We'd like to acknowledge some products that have made this trip much more comfortable than we thought possible. Just to be clear we do not own any share in any of these businesses or receive anything for this endorsement.


The bikes that Steve and I are riding have undergone some changes to make them fit us better and therefore be more comfortable for the long haul. Lets face it when you're looking at 16,500kms in 45-50 days you are going to want to be as comfortable as possible and nothing off the showroom floor is likely to meet your needs.

The number ond change that we made to the bikes that we can't sing the praises of too much is the seat mod. When you spend hour after hour in the seat, sometimes 10 plus hours a day, if there is one thing that is going to get sore first it is definitely going to be your BUTT. The seat mods done for us by McDonalds in Tauranga have exceeded our expectations. We'd be lying if we said we get off the bikes at the end of a 700 plus km day feeling fresh but our butts are certainly not the bits that are letting us know how long we have been riding. We can't recommend the McDonald Motor Trimmers team more than this,

Contact Mac of Cherry https://www.trimit.co.nz/ +64 7 578 7903 mac@trimit.co.nz
Tell them we sent you


We are carrying thermals, jacket liners, winter gloves and wets. Our jackets are textile hi-viz ones with vents and our trousers jeans from the team at Resurgence. The temperatures have caught us off guard with temperatures in the 30's and then suddenly plummeting when the rain arrives, Being candid we have both struggled to get the clothing right with serious risk of overheating in traffic leading to us riding without gloves and jackets completely open - yeah we know not a good idea but better than succumbing to heat stroke. The only item of clothing that has not caused us a challenge or wish to mod is our Resurgence Jeans. This trip is the first time either of us have used these and we both used to ride with dual layer jeans from another brand - never again. While the stiffness of the Resurgence jeans took a little of time to get used to the fit and comfort as well as the reduced weight mean we will never go back. These are what we are wearing New Wave Jeans

Resurgence sales@resurgencegear.co.nz
Tell Aaron we recommended Resurgence! -


As you will know if you have read the earlier posts deciding what bike to take on this marathon was a decision we did not make lightly. Some will think we are completely nuts to have gone with a bike as small as a 650 or even a Kawasaki Versys but we are big believers in the right tool for the job. If we had to do the trip again knowing what we know now neither Steve or I would pick another bike. The Kawasaki Versys 650's have done everything we asked of them and performed flawlessly. As a pair of American/Canadian V-Twin riders we have frequently said to one another that we have gone a little Japanese. Do not underrate the Versys 650, it is a very very capable looonnnngggggg distance tourer. Ours are the full power, so non-LAMS, versions.

With 47 litre topbox, 41 litre panniers and a 15 litre tank bag we are carrying everything we have needed, or anticipated we might need including 7-8 days change of clothes, wets, spare gloves, jacket liners, oil for the oilers, tyre panda, spray silicon, some basic tools, two laptops, two tablets casual footwear and a drone.

Posted by Zamiam 08:59 Comments (0)

Novosibirsk to Omsk - 644kms

The open road, and wide open spaces, beckon

Not much to report on this leg. Another long day in the saddle. At home in NZ you'd be thinking 8 hours of riding plus stops for fuel and food etc so 9-10 hours max. In Russia think 11-12 hours minimum.

Some shots from the road


Posted by Zamiam 07:27 Comments (0)

Tomsk to Novosibirsk - 258kms

And that bloody statue!

View Ride Europe - East to West on Zamiam's travel map.

Due to the delays with the bikes arriving and because of the flooding we were behind schedule so decided we needed to forgo the short diversion to the Mongolian border in order to meet the schedule for flights at the end of the trip - oops did I say small, only 1,903kms saved.

So it with somewhat sad hearts that we left our Tomsk friends and headed out in the rain to our next destination.


Novosibirsk is home to something that I had found while researching the stops on the trip and was keen to see with my own eyes,

Courtesy of Wikipedia: The Monument to the laboratory mouse is a sculpture in the city of Novosibirsk in Siberia, Russia. It is located in a park in front of the Institute of Cytology and Genetics of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and was completed on July 1, 2013, coinciding with the 120th anniversary of the founding of the city.

According to Nikolai Kolchanov, the director of the institute, the monument commemorates the sacrifice of the mice in genetic research used to understand biological and physiological mechanisms for developing new drugs and curing of diseases.

So it was into a cab and some 30 minutes later I got to see the monument first hand.


Needless to say this excursion which cost us the grand sum of around NZD30 in taxi fares and the better part of an hour an quarter of time led to
- My brother being seriously bemused. To such an extent that he decided to give me some grief on facebook about it;
- Great amusement for our hotel reception staff when I was ordering the taxi and telling them where I wanted to go;
- Much head shaking, and laughing behind his hand, by our taxi driver who obviously was in awe at the "stupidity" and "wasteful spending" of the crazy "English speakers" .

Frankly, I don't give a damn. Any country that builds a monument to the likes of mice and rats that have been sacrificed to the betterment of mankind deserves applause.

(P.S. I will concede that in the photos online he/she looked much bigger, like 8 foot tall)

Posted by Zamiam 06:57 Comments (0)

Sights of Tomsk

The Center of not just Siberia but home to supposedly the center of Russia!

View Ride Europe - East to West on Zamiam's travel map.

We had a couple of full days in the Siberian city of Tomsk where we had the very best hosts and guides we could have hoped for in Alexey and Jane. Refer to earlier post.

Courtesy of Wikipedia: Tomsk is a city and the administrative center of Tomsk Oblast in Russia, located on the Tom River. The city's population was 524,669 (2010 Census) 487,838 (2002 Census); 501,963 (1989 Census).

Tomsk is considered one of the oldest towns in Siberia. It celebrated its 410th anniversary in 2014. The city is a notable educational and scientific center with six state universities, over 100,000 students, and the oldest university in Siberia.

Our host Alexey is a Professor of Geology at the Tomsk University


Our first look at Tomsk had Alexey and Jane coming to the apartment and us walking through the University (above), Revolution Square, down Kremlin Street and Lenin Square taking it numerous sites. Tomsk is an interesting city with a mix of traditional wooden homes, century old concrete buildings and some modern ones.


Over the years and particularly after having travelled across Europe in 2005 and witnessed firsthand the mastery of a diversity of sculptors from Michelangelo, Bernini to Gaudi I have developed a liking for sculptures including monuments. Therefore I am always interested in these and the stories behind them.


For dinner the first evening we ended up at of all things an Irish Pub, apparently one of Alexey's regular haunts, where Steve decided to try and eat most of a pig


Any similarity to Steve in the last one?

Our next outing had us enjoying more of what Tomsk had to offer


Our wandering eventually led us to a Russian Orthodox Church reputedly the centre of Russia. The bell would have been more than 2 metres across. We were told not to take shots of the interior but I managed a sneaky one down low.


One night we had the pleasure of being hosted in Alexey and Jane's apartment and served up some real home cooked Russian fare. We experienced our first taste of Russian public transport, a bus.

Overall Tomsk was an interesting city made even more so by the hospitality of our new friends.

Posted by Zamiam 06:56 Comments (0)

We Regress to being Varsity Students

Accommodation in Tomsk

sunny 30 °C
View Ride Europe - East to West on Zamiam's travel map.

Steve has developed a friendship with a Geology professor from a university in Tomsk over the last four years, Alexey, who very generously provided us accommodation in Tomsk and was waiting outside when we arrived. Alexey cannot speak English so translate apps on smart phones got well used.


Below are photos of the excellent accommodation provided which is normally used for students.

Entrance to the property is by security gates so no worries about the bikes.


Entrance to the building is via a security door that would do Fort Knox proud.


Entrance Foyer and Lift


Foyer and passage on our floor


Our apartment door is also made of steel and very secure, just look at that lock. As for the key ...


Inside we were fortunate to have a full kitchen, dining area, large living and a bedroom for Steve. I got to sleep on the pullout this time which I guess was only fair after Vladivostok.


So overall we were in luxury.

Alexey and his wife Jane have also very graciously acted as our guides and showed us Tomsk as well as hosting us in their home for dinner. A more welcoming couple would be hard to find. We hope that we can return the hospitality in NZ one day.

Posted by Zamiam 12:38 Archived in Russia Tagged russia siberia as_the_crow_flies tomsk Comments (0)

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