Jenny and Dave from RideUnlimited have been riding the world for a year now, leaving the UK and making their way through the Stans last summer. They have both been riding on TFX Suspension’s shocks and have really put them to the test! They have written a guest blog for us describing tackling The Bartang Valley in Tajikistan:
The Bartang Valley is one of the most remote and wild ways of crossing the Pamirs. The route consisted of landslides, water crossings, deep sand, stark walls of rock with huge drops on the mountain passes. We started our adventure in Rushon, about 60 km North of Khorugh. The trail leads all the way from Rushon to lake Karakul, our Garmin Inreach registered us climbing to 4,003 meters and from start to finish we clocked about 287 km. It took us 3 days to complete, we had planned to do it in 2 but punctures and an electrical breakdown cost us half a day.
There were quite a few little villages dotted along the first half of the Bartang so on the first day we met a handful of people going about their everyday lives, cattle herders and children. They were all so friendly and excited about the bikes, pointing us onward’s and keeping us on the track! In terms of terrain on the first day we came across large boulders, random patches of sand and deep puddles. It was all pretty tough going but nothing that freaked us out too much! We started riding at about 8am and set up camp at 7pm, the weather was perfect, sunny but not too hot.
On the second and third day we began climbing the mountain passes, this is where things got a little sketchy. The track turned into tight vertical switch backs on sand and boulders! Our wheels were skidding all over the place and we had to keep on the gas to reach the tops. This terrain would be hard work on the flat but on these angles and with a sheer drop next to us, our hearts were going pretty fast! Riding this challenging terrain we were definitely thankful for our TFX shocks which are made for riders who want high performance and control.
TFX Suspension developed these shocks especially for us and our luggage load, perfect for our long distance adventuring with fully loaded motorcycles. Their shock absorbers are constructed and manufactured with heavy duty materials to guarantee shocks we could rely on through this tough terrain.
After reaching the tops of these mountains we would have the same situation but obviously on the way down, so we kept on the back brake and took it easy, trying our best to keep away from side. Although when we got too close to the walls our panniers would get bashed and ricochet us over edge. After these passes the track opened out into the most beautiful plains we’ve ever seen. By the end of the first day we saw less and less people, by the second and third we didn’t see another person until we nearly reached the road again. The people we did meet were always extremely shocked we were riding this track. They found it confusing that we were taking the route for fun, as they avoided it at all costs! Once we were about 30 miles from getting back onto the road the temperature dropped massively and the sky became moody, we came to our final (and largest) river crossing yet and typically, it began snowing! Actually, more like heavy hail, doing river crossings in heat is easy but in the freezing cold, it gets harder. We got in there though and felt the ice-cold water soak us through. We carried on with the trail. And then saw the perfectly straight tarmacked road ahead of us, the M41. We made it! Once back on the road we chatted about how proud we were of each other. How odd it was that we were sad the challenge had come to an end.
We were freezing but decided to push through cross the Kyrgyzstan border, which was about 45 km away. The border was closing quite soon so we got moving. The crazy thing was we were riding next to a barbed wire fence to us on the right which we realised was China! The views while riding this Valley were truly magical and we’ll always remember the kindness of the locals we met along the way.
Thanks to RideUnlimited for this great blog and sharing their experiences with us! If you have been riding with our shocks and would like to contribute to our blog let us know on +31 0495 750529 or firstname.lastname@example.org, we’d love to hear from you.