Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Kidderminster to China ^__^

If you want to do a transcontinental bike ride like this one you could spend months in the planning, carefully examining maps, considering routes and climates. Pre arrange all the visas. Research and source all the best equipment. Build a fancy website. Try to find contacts along your route, maybe try to get sponsorship etc etc.

Or you could suddenly decide it's time to leave and you can't wait another week. Let your house, resign from work and tie up all the loose ends that come with modern life and being a homeowner in just six weeks. Throw together whatever gear is to hand and make your way with no real plans at all, just a load of ideas and a desire to see some of the world.

I did the latter and 108 days ago I cycled out of my parents house, on a second hand bike I bought for 40 pounds. I threw together this blog enroute and called it Kidderminster to the Caspian just because it sounded nice (it was nearly Pensnett to the Punjab). I only decided against turning right for the Middle East at the last minute.

And so.....today I find myself in Khorgos, China. It's snowing, a fresh -8 degress outside, I have no phrasebook or dictionary and no map.

I've been pedalling my socks off trying to stay ahead of the winter and with perfect timing, the first snow storm of the season blew in from the west yesterday. It only took a day of riding in the snow to realise that I lack the gear (like waterproof shoes, decent gloves) for winter cycling. More has been accomplished with less but I have to admit defeat for now. I just don't have the guts to venture across Xinkiang completely unprepared. I'll be taking a bus to Urumqi (600km east from here) where I will consider what to do next. I will definatley be buying a sleeping mat. Sleeping with no mat on frozen ground is not recommended.

And finally...
"Would you give up everything you want to keep what you have or would you give up everything you have to get what you want"
Andrew WK (Wolf)



A beautiful way to cycle into China.


Signs here in Arabic aswell as Mandarin.

5 comments:

Bill said...

Great site. I cycled coast to coast across the USA this summer and already missing being out on the road.

Next year it's Amsterdam to Beijing (via Silk Road), so I'm looking forward to following your tyre tracks.

Keep those pedals turning.

dan said...

Nice one Ham. I would be amazed that you kept going if I didn't know you better. Think Bill may find it a bit harder next year than coast to coast U.S.A. though!!! Hope to see you in Thailand in January! Shame you're having to cheat by getting a bus. Keep it up. Look forward to seeing you when you finally give up.

Anonymous said...

FFFUUUUUUUUUCK!!!!, Make sure you keep a hard copy of this blog and all other evidence of this trip because if you're ever in the future charged with a serious crime like rape or murder you'll have no trouble getting a more lenient sentence on the grounds of obvious insanity!!
Absolutely fucking nuts and amazing. . . . Sean, the lazy derro.

Anonymous said...

Hello Ham! Very impressive! You have to come home soon though cause Sean misses you a lot and can hardly sleep at night.

Take care and good luck with the rest of the trip!

Kajsa xxx

DOMEHEAD AND BOWLER said...

HAM YOU SPUNKY MONKEY NICK AND BOWLER HERE.DONT GET FROSTBITE AND DONT BE A CHEAPO AND BUY A 5 YEN GROUND MATT,OTHERWISE YOUR ARSE WILL STICK TO THE GROUND YOU TIGHT BASTARD.ALTERNATIVELY BOOK YOURSELF INTO A 10 YEN A NIGHT HOTEL AND GREET THE KEYMASTER WITH OPEN ARMS.
I BET WHEN YOUR CYCLING IN THAT COLD, YOU'VE GAOT A FACE LIKE A HALF MOON FISH.
ALL THE BEST ME OLD CHINA.