March 23, 2024 Mototravel Tbilisi Mototravel Tbilisi


Its February 2023, and I’m daydreaming at work about what riding the Pan-American Highway would be like.

Patagonia to Alaska. What a trip.

What’s even better is that COVID is now essentially a memory, the world is opening up and I’d dying for a trip away.

Next thing I know I’m on a website run by a couple of round-the-world motorcycle travellers, instead of doing actual work. They have reviews of countries, bike shipping agents and motorcycle tour companies all over the globe and I’m doing my research. I want to go for a ride somewhere.

After having a look around the site at places all over the world, I come across Namibia. Being in Australia, it’s not difficult to get to Africa. I call my Dad and ask if he’d be interested in coming, to which he jumps at. I make a few enquiries and realise the price is a little out of reach. Another time….

We look around a bit for a week or so. South East Asia? Very easy and cheap to get to from Australia, but I’m keen for somewhere different people don’t normally go. Plus, I’ve been to that part of the world a few times. I want somewhere new.

Dad finds a tour in Ecuador. Ticks the different and adventure boxes for sure, and it looks the goods. But Ecuador is tearing itself apart internally and isn’t the safest place to go. Getting in and out may prove to be a dilemma too. I’ll save that one for the Pan-American ride.

Then I stumble across this little country called Georgia and a tour company called MotoTravel Tbilisi. I find a tour, crunch some numbers, look at flights and run it past Dad.

“Georgia? You mean in America?”

“No Dad, in Europe. South of Russia, north of Turkey, Armenia and Iran, and west of Azerbaijan. It sits on the east of the Black Sea”.

“I have absolutely no bloody idea where you’re talking about mate”.

Dad looks at the info I send him and he signs up. Four months later, we’re in Tbilisi drinking the world’s best black and amber wine and gearing up for 10 days of adventure riding.

The following morning, we meet our guides. Willem, a red headed Dutchman who has settled in this former Soviet-republic and lives and breathes motorbikes and this striking country. His best mate Nika, the man with the greatest beard this side of the Caucasus’s, is also a terrific guy. He’s as laid back as it comes and is all about the group and having a laugh. These two are already having fun and it’s infectious to the rest of us.

Along with Dad and I, we have four other riders. There’s Jon from Texas, USA. He’s done a heap of riding around the world, but mainly on tarmac. He’s not scared to venture onto the dirt though.

And then there’s three mates from Belgium – Ivo, William and Wim, none of whom have ever ridden off road. Ivo is a very friendly and eccentric guy and interested to know Dad, Jon and I. William is focused on tracking where we are riding. He tapes a map of Georgia to his tank and is asking Nika and Willem about the routes we’re going to take. Wim is the smartest out of all of us and tells me he can’t wait to get to Svaneti. He’s been told the route in is spectacular and he wants to witness it for himself.

Soon enough we’re off on our ten-day ride. Going through each day will take up too much time and space, so here’s some highlights and some lessons learnt:

  • William found out on day one that in washouts off-road, it’s better to go through the puddles than the soft soil where the grass is on the edge. It’s also a good way to not cover yourself and your bike in mud.
  • Sighnaghi is the Georgia’s City of Love. There’s no Eiffel Tower, but my God it’s pretty and the ride in is even prettier.
  • August in Georgia is hot. Like 40 degrees Celsius hot. That puffer jacket I packed wasn’t going to be necessary.
  • Cows hide themselves in tunnels, are very stealthy and will cause you to soil your riding pants if you’re not alert.
  • The Georgian Military Highway is an amazing road to ride with incredible views and no guard rails and hectic traffic. Not to worry, Willem and Nika will guide you through. Remember that you’re here for adventure, not a haircut.
  • Don’t try and overtake your Dad on a dirt road. He will force you into a washed-out gutter which will put you in a bush with thorns, then claim no responsibility and tell you it’s all your fault (even if he’s the one who taught you how to ride).
  • Ivo thinks he can dance. He can’t. I have evidence from Kutaisi.
  • Georgia has some amazing mountain roads. Racetrack smooth, lots of twists and views you need to see to believe. The Caucasus Mountains are truely breathtaking.
  • Wim was right. Svaneti is staggeringly beautiful.
  • Georgian wine is without equal, as it it’s people’s hospitality and their toasts. May they never cease.
  • The Stalin Museum in Gori is a must see and,
  • A week of riding and sweating in the same clothes makes the laundry lady’s job not very enjoyable.

Now, there are two points that must be made unquestionably clear:

  1. It’s incredible how a group of riders from 3 different continents can meet in a little country not many people have heard of, jump on motorcycle each and become a group of friends that are there for each other from the very start. On day two I had a wasp sting me on my back inside my jacket while I was the sweep rider. I pull over for 10 minutes, take off my jacket and shirt and get the wasp out while pulling myself together. As I take off, William arrives and gives me a thumbs up and hinting if I’m ok. I reciprocate to say “yep, all good” and we ride to our lunch spot.


This level of care, respect and teamwork from people who would never have met if it weren’t for shared passion for motorcycling, adventure and making new friends, is what made the trip so good. This was a theme for the whole 10 days: look out for each other, make sure everyone gets to the guesthouse for a beer at night and if they drop the bike, check on them and help them get it upright again. What a group of people to ride with, I thank them all for making it utterly brilliant and becoming lifelong friends.


  1. Willem and Nika know what they’re doing and they’re exceptional people to boot. They provide nothing short of a premier adventure riding tour. Adventure riding isn’t about fancy hotel, luxury service and 5-star dining. It’s about people, places, experiences, scenery and culture. You do it to expand your horizons, bring perspective, learn new things, meet new people and see new sites. These guys deliver that in spades with a lot of laughs, some great bikes and a beer and a comfy bed at the end of the day.


That’s why I’m going back to Georgia this year to ride with them. It’s that good. Take it from me: go visit this hidden gem of a country and ride it with MotoTravel Tbilisi.

Gmadloba boys, and see you soon!

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