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Dublin: 8°C Tuesday 20 April 2021

My Best Road Trip: from Clifden to Mongolia via the Trans-Siberian Highway

A 27,650km charity motorcycle ride across Europe and Russia so I could hang out with Genghis in Mongolia.

Source: Google Maps

  • Each week, TheJournal.ie/DoneDeal motoring mag will feature a reader’s best road trip. If you’d love to see your top trip featured, email us on bestroadtrip@thejournal.ie

MY BEST ROAD trip was riding along the Trans-Siberian Highway.

Who: Sean Rima, Renvyle, Co Galway, Ireland, Ulaan2015

Route: Clifden to Mongolia and back again

Distance: 27,650km (17,181 miles)

Time: 79 days

When: May 1st to July 18th, 2015

Vehicle: Honda Varadero 1000

Source: Sean Rima

THE 1 May 2015, I mounted my trusty Honda Varadero 1000 and headed for Dublin to meet up with friends at Temple Street Children’s Hospital. My trip, ULAAN2015, in aid of them was starting. I had previously been to Spain and France on my motorbike but never a trip like this.

After a few photographs, I headed for the ferry to Cherbourg, booked a cabin and slept. Then the trip started in reality. And what was the trip you ask? A visit to the Genghis Khan monument in Mongolia, through Russia along the Trans-Siberian Highway.

Source: Sean Rima

In 12 days, I went from Ireland to France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Poland and the Baltic states. I was travelling with a toy mouse, Mr Mouse, who had been a bit of a joke to start with but was now being photographed all over the place.

Source: Sean Rima

Russia on May 12th at the Luhamaa border was my first dealing with Russians in all reality. I quickly got through border control, then hit a problem with Customs. My passport had my name in proper terms, my bike logbook had an ‘MR’ in it and that caused three hours of delays. But then I was in.

Source: Sean Rima

I had arranged to stay in a hotel in Pskov the first city inside Russia. $30 for the night, so was not expecting much. But it was amazing, marbled floors and walls and a huge room.

Source: Sean Rima

Moscow was next, where I had arranged to stay with friends and spend two glorious days wondering around Red Square, the Kremlin and the space museum amongst many places. Moscow is an amazing city.

I had arranged to couch surf in many cities along the Trans-Siberian Highway. I met so many wonderful people. But of them, two stand out. In the city of Kurgan, I had arranged to stay with Albert. He said I could leave my bike at his office, so I followed him to his place of work. it turned out he was a forensic mortician, and true to form, my friends make a joke of it, “sure no one would be seen dead on your bike” etc, etc But a wonderful man with whom I stay in contact to this day.

Source: Sean Rima

In Krasnoyarsk, I stayed with Max and his wife and family. A truly wonderful couple who did more for me than I can ever thank them for. I stayed with Max twice, once on the way out and on the return.

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At the Kyakhta border crossing with Mongolia, I bumped into a Russian soldier who found me a place to stay, getting very annoyed with a hotelier who wanted to rip me off. He drove around the city for an hour and then made sure I was ok.

Source: Sean Rima

As like most adventure travellers to Mongolia, I arranged to stay at the Oasis Hostel, a truly remarkable place in a busy city. Ulaanbaatar is an amazing place but with a lot of poverty and crime. The black market is a hustling place of trade and next door is the biggest motor market I have ever seen.

The statue of Genghis Khan is amazing and it deserves to be called a modern wonder of the world. And all built by a businessman.

Source: Sean Rima

Sadly I had to return, through Russia to Georgia – two days after the animals escaped from the zoo – then through Turkey and back to Ireland.

Russian people are amazing. They are open, warm and trusting. Give them your respect and they return it in bundles. I want to return and will do soon. Magadan is calling and so is Murmansk in the Arctic Circle.

Source: Sean Rima

During this trip, I used 1,590 litres of petrol, with an average cost of €0.90 a litre. Cheapest was out in Siberia around 48c a litre, most expensive was in Turkey €1.67 a litre. I used two sets of tyres, Michelin Anakee 3 on the way out and a set of Continental TKC 70’s, which did over 11,000 miles in the end, and they now live outside my house.

READ: All our previous reader-submitted road trips>

About the author:

Melanie May  / https://www.melaniemay.com

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