MotoExplorer UK

2024 – As work to complete the PressGo book, you will see it has a direct connection to my own family and how my own travels started, as well as the past 15 years of travelling to and through eastern Europe and Ukraine.

Steve Hotson: Overland Motoexplorer, since 1989
even earlier: by classic car & on foot!
Motor exploring overland miles covered in vehicles: 1,000,000 + still adding.
Started exploring: officially by moto age 17 learned driving in my £300 MK1 ford escort, yep those were the motoring days.

Short version, about;
I’ve travelled a bit, drive and rode hundreds of different vehicles, worked in travel, transport, couriering, motor-trade, photography + ran a few overland expedtions to China…. and back, thankfully.

I’m grateful and humbled by the human spirit, kinship on the open roads, wherever we travel – we’re all the same, just people trying to keep our lives and wheels rolling onwards.

> PressGo > Venturers book – due in the west around 2024
from a million overland milesIt’s not what you think >

The distance or formats of how I travelled isn’t really so relevant.

I’m not an Adventurer, just someone who kept exploring some new things and places, often, by various motos

There’s lots of crazyness from a million miles to share.

Whatever happens, wherever it leads – it’s an adventure 
steve Hotson motorbike explorer
some ‘local friends’

meanwhile a few things I’ve been up to a long the way;

1st 250,000

I started riding back in the days before metal luggage, mobile phones, or the internet. Looking at the map, The Pyramids & Egypt seemed like a good exploring adventure, not too far away & in 1989 not too many folk were going that way for their summer ride outs. I bought a 600 single cylinder 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 big preparation – 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 a 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!?

2007 eastern Europe adventures to Budapest.
2008 starting working towards making a Silk Road expedtion traveling UK to Beijing, China
Scouting trip to China in 2009, traveling west to East, freighting bikes back from Beijing, was a big adventure, it’s a long story!  Since that trip, I have helped many riders explore the silk roads east.

adventure motorcycle riders

Prior to 09, I’ve explored the Balkans, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia – all regions I know well & still explore. In a past life I’d trained and worked as a professional photographer and prior to that a few motor related jobs, as us guys from the 60’s often did! including mechanicing, couriering, transport, lots of self taught spanner work on various vehicles with exploding engines, plus numerous motoring distractions along the way!  

Route1Million Stats
I’ll do a proper count one day, but back of envelope stats I know it’s at least along the tracks of;
Vehicles owned; 100+  (cars/bikes/vans)
Electric vehicles; 1 (made in China & imported back through 10 Countries)
Miles covered in vehicles; 1,000,000+ (still growing)
Age started driving; 17

Riding motorcycles has been a stop start affair for me, as is often the case – various ‘life events’ take us in numerous directions.  Motoexplorer 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 an old in-appropriate K100 BMW motorcycle, pause my photography business and take a leap into the un-known, let’s see if it’s possible to ride overland to the Chinese olympics.

I am available to assist / ride / support – overland travel groups and expeditions
If anyone wishes to organise their own moto tour group – I can help with everything you need to go moto-exploring eastern Europe, as far east as you like, even right up to and through Kazakhstan and China if you like to venture onto the Silk Roads.

Meawhile, after spending the past 12 years organising overland UK to China motorbike expedtions, I am now also re-focusing on some writing ‘explorer time’ as I compile the PressGo book.

Scouted first routes overland China riding a BMW GS800

The first China expedition actually started out as a plan to motorcycle to the Chinese Olympic games in Beijing, 2008. Riding west to East finishing on the China east coast. We arrived just a year late for the Olympics, but at least entry into the stadium was half price!

Bikes include; Africa Twin 750, great bike, (if only Honda had fitted a top gear!) | lots of Yamaha Tenere’s, I like them alot, especially that glorious original 600single. Various BMW GS’s inc 800, 1200’s – do the job, usually! (+ a few Kawasaki’s mainly from the couriering days, I got through 3 engines in a GPZ550, couriering through all weathers)

africa twin motorcycle

Motoexplorer Ride History

motorbike ride egypt
Egypt 1989 – Yamaha 600 Tenere

RTW / Alaska – Canada – Yukon
Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan – about 10 laps, BMW GS800 (+ driving various vehicles, Toyota Hilux, VW transporter, Mercedes Sprinter)
UK to China (a few times + back) last 2 laps there+ back, Sprinter 
UK to Laos & Thailand – finishing and freighting out from Bangkok
USA – North to South & west to East coasts – Yamaha XT660 Tenere
Russia, Ukraine – about 10 laps (I would return to Ukraine tomorrow, if anyone likes to go, I’ll help, maybe transport, aid etc if we can help, lets help.
East Europe / Balkans – Bosnia – Kosovo
Romania – Slovakia – Croatia – Hungary – about 20 laps (various inc original Africa Twin + several 1200 GS’s)
Turkey, Greece – Yamaha 600 Tenere
Crete & Rhodes (distracted by German nurses on-route Egypt, typical nurses hey!)
Montenegro, Macedonia
Europe – most of – 1st drive to Paris age 17, (MK2 Ford escort) +Denmark & Sweden
England, Scotland, Wales – about 100 laps + Ireland a bit + still a bit more I hope with luck
Albania – maybe! oh & Mongolia would be a great challenge, since I have an unused visa.

Some background about the Motoexplorer expeditions;

Haven’t been riding motorcycles all my life, yet!
Age: ‘still counting’!
Anglo-European (Budapest 2nd city)
Open minded, AntiFragile thinking, generally think anything’s possible & ‘where there’s a riding will there’s a way’.
Never trained or quite qualified – just press go and have a go. Have done a few things for which qualifications do not logically fit. I think it’s known as; experience. (although was once a professional photographer, which is the only thing I actually studied and got any kind of college qualification for)
Recently; had a go at doing the HGV course, why not! that’s not going quite so well as 2 wheels, the thing where you press the gas pedal and wait 3 seconds for it to move doesn’t help! Goes up hills in 8th gear as well! at least I passed the going backwards bit (not sure that’s as helpful for us explorers!)

Free-spirited Explorers way

People we meet in the Kazakhstan desert, there’s more than meets the eye!

Scouted first routes overland China riding a GS800 to the Great Wall

Great Wall – furtherst point of the wall in western China

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! 

Based: UK + Budapest + sometimes off-grid
Steve Hotson

european road
riding the magnificent open traffic free roads through eastern Europe

motorbike wild camping overland kazakhstan
Wild camping – quiet spot, somewhere in central Kazakhstan, silk road scouting.

Was a wi’bit lost there in that spot in reality, about 700 miles through the desert scrublands to the next town and back then it was all no-road and no gas stations. (had to beg for fuel and water from any passing truckers, which were few and far between) or, buy a few jam jars full of petrol from an old lady who kept a few jars of petrol on her pantry shelve, in the middle of the desert. No idea what else she did there and that house is long gone nowadays, they built an actual gas station along the way. Anyone who’s travelled Uralsk, Aktobe, to Aral will know what I mean, especially if you did it as us, 2009 or prior, the days ‘before the 1000mile road was made’.