B.Bilguunzaya: My friend taught me to drive a bike in London
The following is a translation of an interview by the Dailynews, Mongolian newspaper, with the motorcyclist, B.Bilguunzaya, who traveled to over 17 countries during her more than 20 thousand km motorcycle trip from London to Ulaanbaatar.
The 28 year old biker was given an acknowledgement certificate for becoming the first Mongolian motorcyclist to cross Europe and Asia on a motorbike, by the Mongolian National Auto-Motor Sport Club and Sport Center.
-We heard that you travelled from London to Ulaanbaatar on a motorcycle. Tell us about your trip?
-My journey started on July 13, for a charity rally to Mongolia. I and another woman started our trip but unfortunately, she injured her hand in Turkey and had to go back to London. After that, I carried on my journey alone. I visited 17 countries.
-Did you drive through all the countries marked on your helmet?
-I travelled to 17 countries, including England, France, Belgium, Germany, Hungary, Bulgaria, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Mongolia and more. I travelled with an auto rally team to Uzbekistan, and from there, I travelled alone because I was not a member of the rally team.
It was easy to communicate with people in English and Russian in European countries. Sometimes we travelled over 1,000 km a day. We stopped for snacks briefly while we were buying fuel. The snacks were just bread with olive oil, and we would make do. Sometimes I shouted, “Wake up! Wake up!” inside my helmet in order to energize and wake myself up.
Journeys on motorcycles are challenging because in a car, there are typically four people travelling together. They can relax and eat inside the car, but you can’t do that while riding a motorcycle.
-Was it difficult to travel alone?
-I had many problems such as flat tires, loose wheels and other mechanical issues. I drove a Suzuki, which is very heavy.
In Iran, a rally car bumped my ride by accident. The car changed course suddenly in my direction and we collided. Fortunately I wore protective clothing and a helmet, so no serious injuries came out of it.
-Have you ever travelled by a motorcycle previously?
-No. A friend of mine taught me how to ride motorcycles in London. I studied and worked in England for ten years, and I only moved back to Mongolia a year ago.
-Was there an incident where the gas ran out on the countryside roads?
- The bike I rode has a seven liter fuel tank. With this I can go around 180 km. I also kept an additional ten liters of fuel in a container.
-Did you use GPS?
-No. I did not have GPS. I just used maps.
-You travelled countries with Islam or Christianity as their main religion. What was it like?
- Everyone greeted me warmly. Chinggis Khan is famous in Iran and Turkey, and people there asked me to send their greetings to him. I also met two men from Mongolia; they were very pleased to meet another Mongolian.
-I think travelling by a motorbike is closer to nature as opposed to a journey by car?
-Yes, I agree. Birds flying around and the sound of wind blowing around you are much clearer. I could feel nature much better.
-Driving a bike for long periods is difficult, especially for a woman. Were you often tired?
-I was never tired, because I was doing what I loved.
-When did you arrive in Mongolia?
-On September 5, I entered the border in Bayan-Ulgii Province. When we arrived in Mongolia, the border officials said, “Welcome to Mongolia!” in English. Maybe they thought that I was a foreigner.
-What will you do in Mongolia?
-I plan to make a documentary film using footage from my travels. Recently, I acquired a 20,000 USD in loans. I need to pay it back.
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