Fri, 19 Apr 2019

Two bikers ride from Scotland to China by motorcycle for 70th birthday!

“My family just wanted to go a cruise, I thought no, that’s not for me. I’ll maybe do that when I’m old!” said 69 year old Matt McLanachan from Kilsyth as he jumped aboard his Ducati Multistrada 1200 Enduro.

Matt and his friend John Kelly from Airdrie, are heading off on the trip of a lifetime, riding their motorcycles from Scotland to China, during Matt’s 70th year. This 13-thousand-mile trip includes riding to Everest base camp, across 20 countries, over a 3 month period with a temperature range from 46 degrees to -18degrees, leaving Friday 19th April.

The official trip has been organised with motorcycle tour operators Globebusters, and starts from Ace Cafe London and concludes at Ace Cafe Beijing an impressive 3 months later. The duo have titled their own part of the trip “Scotland To China”, as the mileage truly starts from their homes just outside Glasgow.

The riding difficultly Matt and John will experience on this adventure is set to extreme, not to mention the temperatures and some of their living conditions.

“When we get to Everest Base Camp, nearly 6,000m up, we sleep on the floor of a kitchen, there’s a diner there but no accommodation so it’s the only way to get some rest. There’s not even enough space for your sleeping bag, we’ll be like cadburys fingers in a box!”

The altitude will also severely change the performance of the bikes, dropping brake horse power by a third, and increasing fuel economy by 20%, due to the lack of air. The potential risk of dropping the bikes on these unpaved, off-road situations is highly dangerous, as physically you can’t pick the bike up.

John Kelly, who is riding a Triumph Tiger 800 XCX added, “We have to ride in minimum twos and threes for the most difficult parts of trip because if a bike drops, we’ll need all the help we can get to pick it up”.

Fortunately, these Scottish adventurers have a support vehicle in tow for most of the extreme parts of the trip, carrying their tents, sleeping bags, spares and parts. Matt explained that other riders on BMW GS’s and Triumph Tigers can share parts, although as he is the only rider taking his own Ducati Multistrada, this makes the trip even more complex.

“Against the wishes of Globebusters, Im taking my Ducati. In my opinion, it’s a great bike, and I feel it’s not really being given a chance. I hope I’m not going to be eating my words, as it’s a long way in the back of a van!”

Some of the sights these gentleman will visit include:
- Karakum Desert
- Everest Base Camp
- Darvaza Gas Crater, known locally as “The Door to Hell”!
- Mountains of Kyrgyzstan
- Desert roads in Turkmenistan
- Pamir Highway through mountain regions of Tajikistan. With its peak at 4,655m, this is the second highest altitude international highway in the world.

To follow Matt and John’s trip you can follow #ScotlandToChina on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube or visit their blog page at