One million kilometres.

100 countries covered on a motorcycle.

Martin never leaves his motorcycle behind on his trips through the desert: The photographer always has to assemble and reassemble his machine for his journeys. But to him, the effort is worth it.

"I've travelled over a million kilometres by motorcycle", says motorcycle adventurer Michael Martin. On his latest expedition, "Planet Desert", he rode a BMW R 1200 GS Adventure. For this project, Martin tackled Mongolia, the most challenging desert for a motorcycle. He crossed the Gobi desert in -40°C temperatures. Martin installed spikes in his studded tyres in order to ride on the frozen desert.

It's been through a lot: Martin rode this R 1200 GS Adventure on his desert expeditions.
Martin has been riding BMW bikes on his expeditions since 1991. For Heiner Faust, Head of Sales and Marketing at BMW Motorrad, the adventurer is not just a representative of BMW Motorrad, he's also a test rider: "Michael tackles extreme conditions on his bike that most riders don't encounter".
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In the desert, the motorcycle is a real catalyst for meeting people. ”

An interview with Michael Martin.

In this interview with BMW Motorrad, Martin talks about his experiences with the GS, the dangers of extreme places and offers tips for riding a motorcycle in the desert.
You often ride your GS in the desert. Why do you take a motorcycle and not a car?
The GS is the perfect bike for the desert because it's an extremely rugged motorcycle. It might be heavy, but it can also carry a lot of weight. When I'm on a bike I'm more in touch with the scenery and people, not to mention smells, temperatures and shifting winds. That's something every motorcyclist knows.
You often say that locals welcome you with open arms when you're on a bike. Why do you think that is?
In the desert, the motorcycle is a real catalyst for meeting people. In India, Africa or South America, people are extremely interested in the motorcycle, so I meet people more easily. You also get a lot of attention when you show up in a village totally exhausted on a fully loaded bike. The locals know that you've travelled a long way.
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Do you modify your bike?
I've always liked stock bikes. I don't like to change a lot on a bike, especially since the GS is an excellent, tough bike right out of the box.
What is driving through the desert on a motorcycle like? Did you have to learn how to do it first?
You do have to learn how to drive a motorcycle in the desert first and it can be dangerous. There is a greater risk of falling in the desert. I can only recommend wearing back protection, good shoes and a decent helmet. Because there are no helicopters to rescue you in the desert. I did have my falls, but didn't seriously injure myself. It took a while to learn how to drive on sand or dirt tracks.
How did you manage to drive the motorcycle in sandy deserts?
By now I can drive well on sand with the GS. At the beginning sand was a particular challenge for me. Manoeuvring a 400-kilo motorcycle through the sand requires a lot of courage and very good driving skills.
Do you have any advice for motorcyclists who want to ride in the desert after seeing your project?
First, you have to pick the right time of year. In the Southern Hemisphere I like to ride during our summertime because it's wintertime in the Southern Hemisphere. You also have to pay attention to the security situation. Also, use your daylight hours for riding. You can leave putting up your tent and taking photographs to the end of the day.
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Read the whole interview. external-link-arrow-slim

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