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biker embarks on 13,000 mile trip to celebrate his 70th

Two bikers have set out to ride from Scotland to China to celebrate a 70th birthday.

“My family just wanted to go a cruise, I thought no, that’s not for me. I’ll maybe do that when I’m old!” said 69-year-old Matt McLanachan from Kilsyth as he jumped aboard his Ducati Multistrada 1200 Enduro.

Matt and his friend John Kelly from Airdrie, set off on 19 April to ride the 13,000-mile trip to Everest base camp, across 20 countries, with a temperature range from 46 degrees to -18degrees.  

The official trip has been organised with motorcycle tour operators Globebusters and starts from Ace Cafe London and concludes at Ace Cafe Beijing an impressive three months later. The duo have titled their own part of the trip “Scotland To China”, as the mileage truly starts from their homes just outside Glasgow.

“When we get to Everest Base Camp, nearly 6000m up, we sleep on the floor of a kitchen, there’s a diner there but no accommodation so it’s the only way to get some rest. There’s not even enough space for your sleeping bag, we’ll be like Cadbury’s fingers in a box!”

The altitude will also severely change the performance of the bikes, dropping brake horse power by a third, and increasing fuel economy by 20%, due to the lack of air. The potential risk of dropping the bikes on these unpaved, off-road situations is highly dangerous, as physically you can’t pick the bike up.

Fortunately, these Scottish adventurers have a support vehicle in tow for most of the extreme parts of the trip, carrying their tents, sleeping bags, spares and parts. Matt explained that other riders on BMW GSs and Triumph Tigers can share parts, although as he is the only rider taking his own Ducati Multistrada, this makes the trip even more complex.

Some of the sights these gentlemen will visit include:
– Karakum Desert
– Everest Base Camp
– Darvaza Gas Crater, known locally as “The Door to Hell”!
– Mountains of Kyrgyzstan
– Desert roads in Turkmenistan
– Pamir Highway through mountain regions of Tajikistan. With its peak at 4655m, this is the second highest altitude international highway in the world.

To follow Matt and John’s trip you can follow #ScotlandToChina on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube or visit their blog page at


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