Torque to Strangers – from Berlin to Tokyo

Germans Thies and Momme are brothers by blood and travel buddies by choice. “Why not?” is their motto and that was by chance. Both have a vigorous passion for adventure riding and they just finished a big one!

The motto “Why not?” - it has been guiding their lives in these last months - was given to them in 2016 at the end of a difficult riding day in Georgia. While in a bar in the middle of nowhere, a friendly, and quite drunk, Georgian named Giorgi, excuse any repetition, finished all his delusional ideas screaming “Why not?”. But the inspired Thies and Momme took it as a teaching for life!

“Giorgi was drunk. Really drunk. So we didn’t exchange contact details. This man has no idea that his mantra is still ringing in our ears,” they say.

More than just ringing in their ears the mantra made them embark on a motorcycle adventure trip from Berlin to Tokyo last April.

The trip in a nutshell

31.013 km, 166 days and 22 countries, amazing sceneries, challenging roads, a variety of different cultures and people, one oil leak, two flat tires and two nourished souls.

“We expected to see a lot of the world – we did. We thought we’d ride some great roads through beautiful landscapes – we did. And we thought we would talk to strangers a lot – and find some new friends. That also happened. We’re really happy about how it all turned out. And more generally: the great thing about traveling might not only be what you experience but also the way traveling changes you, an experience that is hard to pin down but makes itself felt.”

Along those 22 countries, nothing really stopped them. The two KTM adventure motorbikes proved to be a good choice, as they say “They’re a great mixture of power, comfort and off-road capabilities.”

With regard to people, everybody’s sympathy was able to break every language barrier. Nonetheless, one country stood out among the others.

“Generally, when you’re travelling with a motorcycle you get a lot positive reactions. We felt welcome in all the countries we visited. One thing that differs is how to bridge the language gap. This is something Iranians do exceptionally well. They are determined to make communication possible and go out of their way to make it happen. If you don’t have a common language, Iranian talk with gestures. Or draw something into the sand. It always works out somehow.”

“We’ve received overwhelming support from total strangers throughout the whole trip. People who saw us lost at an intersection took us through the city for an hour to make sure that we’d reach our destination. Some even made 20 phone calls in the middle of the night to get us a place to stay. To sum it up: people are great, worldwide. And that’s good to know.”

In their hearts will always remain places like Montenegro, Eastern Turkey, Georgia or the Pamir region for the amazingly beautiful sceneries, and Iran for the friendliness of its people. But with regard to adventure riding, they have to choose Western Mongolia as they say “Its vast and open landscape is impressive and the fact that you can go any way you want gives you an incredible feeling of freedom”.

They kept diaries of the entire trip and they are all available on their website - www.torquetostrangers.com. They also dedicated a full Tab to the preparation details of the trip. From paperwork and visas to riding gear comparisons, you’ll find a lot of helpful information there.

“It turned out that most of the decisions we took while preparing were good ones. Probably because we both had done some trips already. One thing we definitely didn’t do well was choosing tires. We started with street tires, which was all right for Europe, but further away? No. From Turkey on, multi-use tires for both street and dirt would have been great. As our trip progressed, we got more and more into riding off-road. There’s nothing quite like a nice gravel road. But it took us until Osh in Kyrgyzstan till we corrected our initial planning and got tires that work on- and off-road.”

Keep track of these brothers as they have many more trips on their minds for a near future. And though they are very good in preparation, they will leave space for all the unforeseen things that can come along the next “Why not?” attack!

Do it yourself

For those of you who dream with such an adventure, they have some piece of advice to push you in the right direction and it’s more related to the way you think… than you think!

They ask “What keeps you from going? If you start to break down the overwhelming It’s impossible!-feeling into the things you’d really have to take care of, you might very well realise that it’s totally doable.”

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