How is a 9-day motorcycle trip through Mongolia to deliver a bike to a Park Ranger?
Imagine that. You are in the most remote corners of Mongolia. You made it with a brand new Yamaha AG200 motorcycle. You’ve just been riding for nine days on some of the toughest terrain in the world and you’re greeted by a battalion of National Park Rangers on horseback. You hand over the keys to your bike and your journey is over – you’ve just provided this ranger with a whole new, more efficient way to protect the lands you’ve come to enjoy. That’s what a Gathering for the Rangers shipping is all about.
One of the coolest tourism initiatives for anyone who wants to combine the two things they love the most – motorbikes and the outdoors, obviously – Rally for Rangers delivers motorbikes to park rangers across Mongolia ( and beyond) since 2014.
Led by Wesley Thornberry, photographer, adventurer and founder of Trend Digital, an Ulaanbaatar-based imaging and post-production services company, alongside rally co-founder Tom Medema, a 30-year-old ranger with the US National Park Service, the Rally for Rangers Foundation has delivered 150 new motorcycles to rangers in 13 parks in four countries around the world since its inception.
The Rally for Rangers Mongolia 2021 Journey: 15 runners cover 1,500 kilometers of remote Mongolian wilderness
For 15 riders, a Rally for Rangers expedition is the adventure of a lifetime.
This 9-day, 1,500-kilometre journey through some of Mongolia’s most remote, unspoiled and inaccessible regions ends when the riders then hand over the keys to their ‘new’ motorbike – a motorbike that had zero miles on it. departure. on this trip from Ulaanbaatar.
The bikes, Yamaha AG200 Motorcycles, are simple and practical bicycles popular with farmers and cattle ranchers in Australia. With details like chain guards and drum brakes, these rugged, ready-for-anything bikes are precisely the kind of machine suited to Mongolia’s rugged terrain and remote expeditions with no repair shop in sight.
“The only thing more rewarding and exhilarating than riding over 1,000 miles of dirt, mud and river bottoms is handing over the keys to an (almost) new motorcycle, so these rangers can better protect the incredible resources natural and cultural,” states the Rangers Rally website.
“Having the motorbikes changes the way we do our job. Before, we used to spend three days somewhere on horseback, but now we spend half a day on a motorbike,” says Batdorj Davaa, a ranger at Mongolia National Park.
So this mission of delivering these motorcycles is important. And it works.
“You hear the stories of declining poaching. And the decline in illegal mining over the last six or seven years. These are real tangible results from these guys and gals being able to get out there on these bikes and do so much more. It’s not getting better, and it’s so rewarding for everyone involved,” says Medema.
In Mongolia, Rally for Rangers is partnering with Mongolian Ecology Center, a non-governmental organization (NGO) working hard to protect and develop national parks across the country. From facilitating Rally for Ranger expeditions to building “Sister Park” relationships with national parks overseas, the Mongol Ecology Center isn’t just focused on what it can do now – he worries about what he can do now to support those parks 25 years ago.
“With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1990, 30% of Mongolia’s GDP disappeared overnight. Economically devastated, Mongolia has opened more than half of its pristine landscape to foreign companies for development through the extraction of huge deposits of precious mineral resources and the ever-increasing demand for animal products.
Due to this unsustainable development and irresponsible decision-making, Mongolia today faces environmental challenges that threaten its natural resources and millennial nomadic way of life. These changes are all the more distressing for many Mongolians as respect for the environment is an important cultural element of Mongolian history dating back to Chinggis Khaan (Genghis Khaan). But how do you balance economic growth with the preservation of Mongolia’s most precious natural and cultural heritage, which ensures a sustainable future? reads the Mongol Ecology Center website.
Sign me up. (But also, how does it work?)
Well, I’m glad you asked. Because it’s super simple. The cost to join this adventure is $10,750.
This is used to purchase and import your brand new Yamaha to Mongolia, all your accommodation, meals and transportation once you have landed, as well as support vans, mechanic, translators, cultural ceremonies, welcome orientation, a farewell dinner and everything you’ll need to sleep at night during this adventure, including Mongolia-ready tents and sleeping bags.
How you raise that money and pay for that experience is up to you. You can ask friends to donate, companies to sponsor you, whatever you need to do to raise this amount, which does not include international flights, travel insurance or visa fees.
Where else does Rally for Rangers ride?
While Rally for Rangers has strong roots in Mongolia, they have since expanded to include rallies and motorcycle deliveries to rangers in Nepal, Patagonia (Argentina), and will soon host rallies in Bhutan (November 2021) and Peru (May 2022).
For more information on how the Rally for Rangers initiative works, watch the documentary film trailer.