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How Does A 9-Day Motorcycle Journey Across Mongolia To Deliver A Bike To A Park Ranger Sound?

The 2021 Rally for Rangers Mongolia ride took place September 11 – 19, 2021, starting in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

Imagine this. You’re in the farthest corners of Mongolia. You got there by way of a brand new Yamaha AG200 motorcycle. You’ve just ridden for nine days across some of the most challenging 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 done – you’ve just delivered a brand new, more efficient way for that ranger to protect the lands you’ve just come to appreciate. That’s what a Rally for Rangers expedition is all about.

One of the coolest tourism-for-good initiatives for anyone interested in combining the two things they love most – motorcycles and the outdoors, obviously – Rally for Rangers has been delivering motorcycles to park rangers across Mongolia (and beyond) since 2014.

The 2021 Rally for Rangers Mongolia ride took place September 11 – 19, 2021, starting in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

Imagine this. You’re in the farthest corners of Mongolia. You got there by way of a brand new Yamaha AG200 motorcycle. You’ve just ridden for nine days across some of the most challenging 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 done – you’ve just delivered a brand new, more efficient way for that ranger to protect the lands you’ve just come to appreciate. That’s what a Rally for Rangers expedition is all about.

One of the coolest tourism-for-good initiatives for anyone interested in combining the two things they love most – motorcycles and the outdoors, obviously – Rally for Rangers has been delivering motorcycles to park rangers across Mongolia (and beyond) since 2014.

Rider Bryon Majusiak, a four-time Rally for Rangers rider, handing over the keys to his motorcycle to a park ranger during the presentation ceremony.
Lead by Wesley Thornberry, a photographer, adventurer, and founder of Trend Digital, an imaging and post-production services company based in Ulaanbaatar, alongside rally co-founder Tom Medema, a 30-year ranger with the U.S. 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 it’s inception.

This 9-day, 1,500-kilometer journey across some of the most remote, untouched, and inaccessible parts of Mongolia ends as riders then hand over the keys to their “new” motorbike – a bike that had zero kilometers clocked on it when they started on this journey from Ulaanbaatar.

The bikes, Yamaha AG200 motorbikes, are simple, no-nonsense bikes popular with farmers and cattle herders in Australia. With details such as chain guards and drum brakes, these rugged, ready-for-anything motorcycles are precisely the type of machinery that suits Mongolia’s rough terrain and remote, no-repair-shop-in-sight, expeditions.

Rider Sarah Taylor customizing her Yamaha AG200 in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

“The only thing more rewarding and exhilarating than riding over 1,500 kilometers of dirt, mud, and river bottom is handing over the keys to an (almost) new motorcycle, so these rangers can better protect the incredible natural and cultural resources,” says the Rally for Rangers website.

“Having the motorcycles changes how we do our job. Before, we would spend three days going somewhere on horse, but now we spend a half-day going on the motorcycle,” says Batdorj Davaa, a National Park Ranger in Mongolia.

This year, National Park rangers from three different parks received motorcycles.

So, this mission to deliver these motorcycles is important. And it’s working.

“You hear the stories of the decline in poaching. And the decline in illegal mining over the last six or seven years. That’s real tangible results from these guys and gals being able to get out on these bikes and do a lot more. It doesn’t get any better, and that’s so rewarding for everyone involved,” says Medema.

In Mongolia, Rally for Rangers partners with the Mongol Ecology Center, a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) working hard to protect and develop National Parks around the country. From facilitating the Rally for Ranger’s expeditions to creating “Sister Park” relationships with national parks abroad, the Mongol Ecology Center isn’t just focused on what they can do now – they’re worried about what they can do now to support these parks 25 years from now.

“With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1990, 30% of Mongolia’s GDP vanished overnight. Economically devastated, Mongolia opened over half of its pristine landscape to foreign business to develop through the extraction of the huge deposits of valuable mineral resources and to the ever-increasing demand for animal products.

Due to this unsustainable development and irresponsible decision-making, Mongolia is now facing environmental challenges that threaten its natural resources and millennia-old nomadic lifestyle. These changes are all the more distressing to many Mongolians because respect for the environment is an important cultural part of Mongolian history dating back to Chinggis Khaan (Genghis Khaan). But how can economic growth be balanced with the preservation of Mongolia’s most valued natural and cultural heritage that 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 straightforward. The cost to join this adventure is $10,750.

That goes towards buying and importing your brand new Yamaha into Mongolia, all your accommodations, meals, and transportation once you land, as well as support vans, a mechanic, translators, cultural ceremonies, a welcome orientation, farewell dinner, and everything you’ll need to sleep at night during this adventure, including Mongolia-ready tents and sleeping bags.

Riders camping along the Mongolia 2021 route.

How you raise this money and pay for this experience is up to you. You can ask friends to donate, businesses to sponsor you, whatever you need to do to raise this amount, which doesn’t 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’ve since expanded to include rallies and motorcycle deliveries to rangers in Nepal, Patagonia (Argentina), and will soon be hosting 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.

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