I started my first scouting ride to China in 2009, traveling west to East, freighting bikes back from Beijing, (the 1st scout ride was a big adventure, it’s a long story!) Since that trip, I have helped many riders travelling to China and experience riding the Silk Road China on their own motorcycles.
Prior to 2009, I specialised in Eastern Europe motorcycle touring routes, the Balkans, Romania, Slovakia – all regions I know well & still include some of these routes the longer expeditions. In a past life I’d trained and worked 12 years as a professional photographer and prior to that lots of varied mainly motor related jobs, as us guys from the 60’s often did! including mechanicing, lots of self taught spanner work on various vehicles with exploding engines, plus numerous motor trade distractions along the way!
Riding motorcycles has been a stop start affair for me, as is often the case – various ‘life events’ take us in numerous directions. Motoexplorers was actually founded as a result of suffering quite a serious back injury, which I knew would result in surgery and a good time away from travel – so prior to the surgery I decided to buy a motorcycle, ditch my professional photography business and take a leap into the un-known, let’s see if it’s possible to ride overland to the Chinese olympics, as you do!
Run by Steve Hotson who has spent the last decade exploring the Silk Road to China, I’m now dedicating more time to helping fellow overlanders & motorcycle travellers explore the Silk Road travelling through the Stans to China at their own pace, or as part of their own private ride team/group/club or join one of my trips and make new friends to explore east with.
Haven’t been riding motorcycles all my life, just yet!
Age: only 52 (Just’
Anglo-European (Budapest 2nd city)
Easy going, likes Exploring, open minded, generally think anything’s possible & ‘where there’s a riding will there’s a way’.
2019 Ride China motorcycle – the true free-spirited Explorers way
You really can ride your own motorcycle along the modern Silk road right now, 2019 the new super smooth Silk Road is fully open and waiting for you to explore! We’ve travelled this route constantly during the past ten years and it’s just remarkable how much the facilities and infrastructure have developed during this time! There’s now good quality regular Euro Super 95 octane fuel almost everywhere, with modern petrol stations – even with coffee machines and indoor toilets usually!
Silk Road Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan – the roads and routes are fantastic, great variety of terrain including some rougher bumpy sections, twist back mountains, super smooth desert stretches with vast horizons – and what’s great, there’s now a steady stream of fellow international travellers using these new facilities which means there’s so many more interesting people and vehicles to meet as you travel overland to China.
Improved highway conditions and fuel facilities along the Silk Road = more road haulage and trucks = much more local support on the roads, gone are the days of not seeing another fellow traveller for 3 hours! what’s more there’s a super friendly helpful culture where travellers and truckers help fellow travellers – if you have a problem on the roadside it’s usually not too long before a local driver will stop and offer assistance. Mobile telephone coverage is vastly improved as of 2018 – virtually 99% of the Silk Road to China has mobile phone coverage – so long as your own phone operator supports international roaming, which most do! (We use O2 – and tend to get uninterrupted mobile coverage right through the expedition)
2019 onwards – this site is now a portal to help share information and assist other riders, travellers and explorers, specialising in driving, riding and organising all motor routes riding to and through China to Laos, Thailand + Asia.
We have official government licensed partners in China, who work exclusively with Motoexplorer UK.
I’ve discovered that ‘not everyone wants to ride all the way through China’! but maybe you might like the achievement and adventure of riding ‘up to China’ on your own bike! My Motorcycle support services can cater for exploring China in many directions;
1. A complete Expedition, from Motorbike expedition riding from London to Bangkok, via China (with flexible options to join from Europe) We can also organise other rides / routes through China, using your own motorcycles, 4×4, camper etc. Combining with other travellers, significantly reduces the costs to obtain the necessary travel permits, licenses, guides and support to travel through China using your own motorbike or vehicle.
2. Ride the Silk Road from Europe to Shanghai, China or onwards to Japan and RTW – a facility to organise your own Trans-China motor expedition, sharing the support and experience of our SILK66 network. You can freight motorcycles from Shanghai, back to Europe, or onwards Worldwide.
My travel style aims to accommodate a flexible ride, with the variety of doing long distance expeditions to explore many of these mysterious places, at an affordable price & reasonable pace, which most experienced riders can achieve.
The goal on the Explorer rides is to incorporate; distance riding, adventure, variety of riding into the un-known, a challenge to reach the China border, see, hear & taste different cultures, whilst following an organised but flexible structure to make the expedition achievable for average experienced tour riders.
I started riding back in the days before metal luggage, mobile phones, or the internet. Looking at the map, The Pyramids & Egypt just seemed like a good exploring ride, not too far away & in 1989 not too many folk were going that way for their summer ride outs. I bought a 600 Tenere, cheap tent and plotted a rough route – no real plans, other than to keep heading towards Egypt until we got there, (2 up). The ride was good, down to Luxur, Aswan & back. No spares, no back up plan, no visa, no preparing – I’ve done a few rides like that and it does show that less can be more. Just gather the basics and so long as you’re comfortable with your bike & love the riding, you’ll have a great adventure.
Things don’t always go just how we like it, That’s the way it is – if you’re happy with yourself, everyone else will be happy to see you. This quite ‘informal’ approach to World travel on 2 wheels seems to have set the foundation for MotoExplorers and my 1st scouting ride to China, set in a similar vain to the Egypt ride. China was there, not many people seemed to be travelling to China overland from Britain, it’s always looked just a short hop across to Russia & then if you can keep plodding on through Kazakhstan you’re on the Chinese border, how hard can it be to just keep riding east for 30 days!?
2009 Scouted first routes overland China riding the BMW GS800 motorcycle
The first China expedition actually started out as a plan to motorcycle to the Chinese Olympic games in Beijing, riding west to East finishing on the China east coast. Arrived just a year late for the Olympics, but at least entry into the stadium was half price.
China’s an amazingly diverse, exciting country & makes for a really great challenge to get yourself, bike and life together and go see just how people live on the other side of our planet. Very few western motorcyclists will ever make that great journey, it’s quite an exclusive club! If you’d like to have a go at joining, then start by freeing up about 3 months out of your life & find a bike you really really enjoy riding, A few basic travel items – all in tiny quantities. Everything you’d use in the West is available in the east, except motorcycle tyres for some reason! Don’t worry about the small details and paperwork, I will guide you through the process and help you prepare yourself and the bike, until you’re ready to set of riding east, China awaits. (or as far as you desire)
MotoExplorer China assist: Overland travel within China is complex, requiring overland permits, regulated approved guide & fixer, army & police clearance for each Province, customs fees & vehicle/bike bonds (in place of Carnet) transport department bike check (like a mini-mot) Chinese drivers license, scheduled route plan & hotel bookings through your China route.
MotoExplorer approved guide partners based in Beijing & Western China, enabling a direct link to the 2 key regions for organising documentation and travel papers for overland travel through China with foreign registered vehicles, trucks and motorcycles.
Torugart Pass, enter from Kyrgyzstan – travel north via the Great Wall of China.
Or south east through the edges of Tibet, (subject to access / conditions)
Kashgar – turning south to the Tibet Highway & Yunnan
Silk Road – trans China to Laos Mohan border
Riding to Kazakhstan and China; It goes without saying is a long endurance type tour & riders must be experienced at riding 300 miles upwards / day, comfortable to high temperatures & accepting to take responsibility for themselves in some remote regions. If you are prepared and accepting of different cultures & environments, you will find these journeys enjoyable, extremely rewarding and well within the capabilities of normal well prepared adventure motorcyclist.
Much of this ride is on normal asphalt surfaces, with occasional rougher loose surfaced roads, or dry grassland fields to the side of the roads.
Ride History – MotoExplorer supported Rides
East Europe / Balkans
RTW / Alaska – Canada – Yukon
China – Laos – Thailand
USA routes scouted, west-East coasts
Alaska & Canada
Romania – Slovakia – Croatia – Hungary
Turkey, Greece, Montenegro, Macedonia, Kosovo, Bosnia
Routing info, advice – available for independent travellers.
Alaska is also a perfect start to your Trans-Americas adventures!
email for more details
tel: Steve Hotson 07788-101144
Based: Lincoln, UK, LN1
Site owner: Steve Hotson / MotoExplorers