The thought of returning to Tajikistan brought me mixed feelings, it had been the toughest part of my ride two years ago and having watched the clips on Youtube of GlobeBusters tackling the same route last year had brought back the scariness of it.

On the positive side though, I’m on a lighter bike, with a lot less luggage and no pillion rider (apologies Annie!), not to mention the fact that this time around there are 12 other bikes and riders with me to assist with river crossings and other tricky patches. There had been some nerves about crossing the Uzbek border, last year’s group had been stung by the finance declaration, with some people having fairly large sums of money confiscated from them. One bloke had hidden his excess  money in his underpants and then had the terror of undergoing a strip search. Luckily for him they drew the line at removing his underpants.

We made it through without incident and were welcomed into Tajikistan by smiling border guards and Ali our guide for the country who was to prove a godsend. One advantage of having taken this southern border crossing was that we wouldn’t need to cross the high altitude passes through the Fan Mountains that lie to the north of Dushanbe (the capita). This meant that we avoided the Tunnel of Terror, those who followed my blog two years ago, may well remember my description of it