We are home safe and sound
by Chaz on 18 Aug 2008 at 10:34
We have been home nearly a week now and it has taken me this long to finally get the computer switched on. First and foremost Team REMIT would like to say a very very big thank you to everyone that has given us such positive support through the whole of this crazy event and we must give you all our sincerest apologies for not getting to the finish in UB. Although the brief text that was sent from Maqat in Kazakhstan announcing that we were not going to be able to continue contained the truth, it was not the full story as to what had happened to us. We felt that we were not able to give a full account of that morning until Steve's family had been fully informed first. So for those of you that have been wondering why we called an end to our ride just because we had an alternator fail here is the full story of that last day on the road. We started the day in high spirits as I had finally got Steve's clutch working properly for the first time since Belgium, although on leaving our campsite Steve realised that he no longer had lights or indicators. We scratched our heads for a couple of minutes but having done what checks we could decided that the bike was still producing electricity as the ammeter was not showing a negative discharge, so it must be a duff battery but the alternator must be still working. After about an hour we came across a Brit riding an XTZ 660 heading in the opposite direction. We stopped and had a chat and a smoke with him as he told us that the road we were on literally stopped on the other side of the next town, but it looked like we could be looking at a 4 day detour if we followed him so Team REMIT felt that we could make better time by pushing on regardless. We got to Maqat and found that the other biker was not exagerating as to the state of the road, it was just big pot holes. But our luck was still holding and a local appeared on a Ural and showed us the way to the good road to Aktobe, a really good smooth sand track. It was on this that Steve's bike cut out at about 30 mph. I was close enough to see him and the bike step sideways and then drop into shallow ditch. When I finally got to him he had just got out from under the bike and sat straight down again holding his right side. Me being me the first thing I did was check the bike over and it while I was doing this Steve told me that he had caught the handlebars under his ribs in the crash and from his previous experience of broken ribs his self diagnosis was that either one or two of them were cracked. This was a bit of a shock as we were about 15 - 20 km from the last town and it didn't look like the road we were on was that well travelled. So the first thing to do was to get the bike back on its wheels and see if there was any damage. It turned out that my crash bar system worked perfectly and there was no damage at all but the bike refused to start. No spark!!!! Fresh plug, no spark. So I swapped the batteries and it fired up second kick, at least we know knew that the alterator had packed up, not the battery. Now for the big talk, what do we do? Riding the bikes and swapping batteries every day was obviously not a problem but Steve's injury was, so we decided that all we could do was get both the bikes and ourselves back to Maqat and see what we could do there. My plan was to try and contact a bloke I knew in Aktobe that was involved in a childrens charity there and see if we could get the bikes on a train and donate them to him and get home from there. Unfortunately when I finally spoke to him he was in Almaty and everyone else he worked with that had ties to the charity were out of the country. So our only options were to ditch the bikes as soon as we could and make our way to Almaty international airport.