SWR Special – ‘Bikepacking the Himalaya’

September 9, 2014

14 days – 656km – 7 x 4900m+ passes – endless river crossings – snow – sleet – ice – heat exhaustion – diarrhea – solo – on a bicycle…

Prologue

The big orange sticker on the cover of Mountain Biking UK staring down at me from newsagents shelf at Heathrow coach station read ‘Welsh Special’. I read it on the way home and shelved it for when the opportunity arose.

Well that opportunity arose in May this year and I spent a week cycling mostly off-road from Coast-2-Coast (Conwy – Port Talbot) in what proved to be a successful first attempt at carrying all my kit ‘bikepacking’ style. I was ready for the Himalaya…

Surly Troll – Ready to Roll…

 

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Chapter 34 – Silk Roads to Siberia Pt IV: The Western BAM

July 31, 2014

[NB: Distance and time trips not updated this chapter]

With so much going on everyday my diary notes are a little ‘thin’ for the period I spent in Siberia and so I’ve used photo’s and written a daily account of events in a kind of Ride Report style for this chapter…

The Western BAM from Severobaikalsk to Tynda: 1464km of this…

 

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Chapter 33 – Silk Roads to Siberia Pt III – Altai Adventure

February 2, 2014

It was a slow, snowy, slushy, muddy descent from the pass and I was conscious of the pain in my back after picking my bike up off the ground at the border. Unsure if I had the strength to pick it up again should I fall I descended cautiously through the cloud.

After negotiating several switchbacks I came to a group of buildings surrounded by numerous trucks all with their bonnets open and presumably in various states of repair. I was approached by a guy and asked if I’d deliver a 1.2m long steel spike to some guys that were working on the road further down the mountain. I agreed, but failed to see that one end was covered in a thick, oily deposit that slowly found its way onto everything – including my tent!

I dropped the spike off and continued along what must be the longest ‘no-mans land’ I can ever remember crossing. Eventually I came to the Kyrgyzstan border where the first guard looked at my passport and sent me to the immigration office. Within seconds my passport was back in my hand having been stamped and I was ushered off to customs. I found them eating lunch and expected to be in for a long wait. All I got was “You go Osh?” “Da” I said and was told to “GO…GO!” I’ve never crossed a border so fast!

Back on tarmac after entering Kyrgyzstan from Tajikistan

…read the rest of Chapter 33


Chapter 32 – Silk Roads to Siberia Pt II – ‘The Roof of the World’

July 4, 2013

Tajikistan

Along with the change of country came a change of weather and as I followed the straight, smooth ribbon of tarmac along the wide valley so there was a storm brewing to the north.

The sky looked ominous as I rode into Tajikistan

…read the rest of Chapter 32