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Life is a journey .... enjoy the ride!

Tiger Leaping Gorgeous Cycle Tour: From the Saddle… it’s berry season in Yunnan!

Cycling along the old Dali – Tibet trade route we were inundated with calls from the side of the road from local women to buy their freshly picked strawberries and blackberries…. who can refuse that? Certainly not me! So I went a little overboard and bought two kilos for dessert that evening. As we pulled into our guesthouse later that afternoon we saw the guesthouse owner Mrs Hong had already bought, washed a prepared a huge bowl of strawberries for us! We were eating berries for days ….

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Life is a journey .... enjoy the ride!

Tiger Leaping Gorgeous cycle tour; From the saddle... Monks like to cycle too!

Having just started our cycling trip in South West China from Lijiang to Dali in the shadow of the mighty Jade Dragon Snow Mountain we were pulling up to our lunch spot beside the Zhiyun Buddhist Monastery when I noticed we had been spotted by some very young teenage monks-in-training. Sure enough, after a few minutes a couple of them worked up the courage to ask for a ride on our mountain bikes. We said yes and off they tore, saffron robe flying as they some could barely reach the pedals. We had our picnic lunch and started to get ready to leave when we realised the boys weren’t back yet…. After some yelling and cooeeing, we finally saw them on a yonder hill racing back. As they pulled up to us, panting from exertion, I asked if they had had fun “Oh yes” they said “a lot of fun” as I clipped in and rode off waving them goodbye I looked down at my odometre… they had cycled 11 kilometres!!!

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Life is a journey .... enjoy the ride!

Wolf Totem

Wolf Totem Cover

Wolf Totem Cover

For those considering a trip to Mongolia, coming on one of our cycle tours or maybe just interested in Mongolian nomadic culture and their relationship with the grey wolf, this book is a fascinating account of a young Chinese man who was sent to live with a community of nomadic herders during the late 1960’s and 70’s.  The themes of this account resonate as strongly today as they would have forty years ago. There are several stories in this book, recounting in detail wolf pack attacks and behaviour that had me utterly absorbed and lost in this world .. I cannot recommend it enough.

I read this book whilst leading one of our cycling tours in the Summer of 2008, camping out beside rivers and in the valleys of the Arkhangai Mountain Range… with the sounds of yaks munching and goats bleating as my sound scape to this novel. What I was really waiting for as I was tucked in my sleeping bag reading, in my tent and under the stars after a great days ride …..was the howl of a wolf.

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Life is a journey .... enjoy the ride!

magnificent magnolia

Nomadic Mongolian neighbors

Nomadic Mongolian neighbors

The wilds of Mongolia call out to adventurous spirits offering an incredible experience for cyclists.  Its nomadic people dot a diverse landscape of arid deserts, lush grasslands and mountain forests.  A fascinating and almost untamed culture combines with cycling which really is an off-roader’s dream in what must be one of the worlds true traveling frontiers.

In July 2008 we took a bunch of Aussie blokes including “football great Ron Barassi, Federal Trade Minister Simon Crean, America’s Cup winning skipper John Bertrand and former Essendon player and AFL commissioner David Shaw” cycling in Mongolia.

These high profile participants also captured a bit of media attention for their Mongolian jaunt.   Check out the following articles featured in Australia’s “The Age” newspaper.


June, July and August 2010 promises yet another fantastic season of cycling across the magnificent beauty of the vast Mongolian steppe.   Click here to go to the Mongolia trip page!

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Life is a journey .... enjoy the ride!

Trail of the Dragon

Colourful Minorities

Colourful Minorities

Way back in September 2006, Naomi, (one of the Bike Asia directors), headed off into the relative unknown regions of Guizhou and Guangxi provinces to research a trip that has turned out to be a stunning jaunt through colourful minority villages nestled amongst absolutely superb mountain scenery.   Emerging from the towering terraced rice fields into the ethereal karst landscapes of the Guilin region this trip was selected by National Geographic Adventure Magazine as one of “The 25 Best New Adventure Travel Trips for 2007”.

To see what it’s actually like:

  • All the footage and images in our “On the Road with Bike Asia” Youtube video is from our Trail of the Dragon trip.

And, if you are still not convinced then take a read of the following incredibly detailed write up from one of our previous passengers on what they experienced.

http://www.warbyghostriders.com/2008files/China2008/China2008.htm

Our April 17, 2010 Trail of the Dragon departure is “Guaranteed to Depart” so come join us and sample this sensational adventure for yourself.

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Life is a journey .... enjoy the ride!

cycle across the roof of the world

Planning a trip or holiday usually brings a thirst for information about what we will experience and what we can expect when we get there.

We think our “Cycle Across the Roof of the World” trip is the adventure of a lifetime and we are pretty sure that most of the passengers who have done the trip would certainly agree.

  • “Loved it,  not sure about the yak butter tea!”  (Yvonne Armstrong, Sept. 2007)
  • “The trip was very physically challenging,but it was the experience of a lifetime.”  (Scott Goldsmith, Sept 2007)

After leading our September 2009 trip (the first after a forced 18 month hiatus), Bike Asia co-founder and director Scott Spencer wrote the following account of just one of the many awe-inspiring days he experienced.

Notes from the Road – Tibet: A Mountain in Memory.

Crossing the Himalaya by cycling from Lhasa to Kathmandu across the Tibetan Plateau is an unforgettable journey that looms large in the imagination and lingers long in the memory; it is also one of the iconic cycling adventures on the planet.  For me the great thing about this trip is how it unfolds…each day becomes increasingly dramatic: the people get hardier but friendlier, the landscapes ever changing and increasingly vast, and the mountains bigger! The start point and ultimate destination, Lhasa and Kathmandu, couldn’t be more different but are equally exotic and culturally fascinating.  Sure, there are highlights but also there are so few lowlights that the whole experience is an ongoing joy.  One of these highlights is definitely the expectation that builds each and every day as you edge closer and closer to Mt Everest, or Qomolangma to the locals.

The day we were to climb Pang La (pass) at 5200m was a near perfect day – few clouds and the promise of another endlessly deep blue Tibetan sky.   The rising sun warmed the ridgelines and also our expectations for what would be our first panoramic view of Everest.  Spirits high, we left our picturesque campsite by the banks of the clear-flowing Lolo River and quickly warmed the legs on the incredibly smooth and sealed Friendship Highway to a military checkpoint outside the small village of Shegar.  The open plains and islands of ridges were a blend of ochre, pink, cream and muted orange almost as if the sunrise had been stirred into a land made of yak butter.  Soon after getting the looks “up and down” and, eventually, the nod from the Chinese officials we turned off onto an unsealed road.   Before us lay a never ending snake of a road that climbed through endless switch-backs, high into the sky.  With a quick “cuppa” and a snack we hit the climb, 1100m up over 20km of road to the top.

As a cycling leader you learn to tell when people are looking forward to something; when the anticipation is high.  Sometimes it’s excited, chatty talk; sometimes it’s a quiet focus; sometimes it’s laughter; sometimes it’s tears.  This time it was all those things as people sought out their own way to meet the challenge of the climb and the emotion of coming face to face with the object that many feel symbolizes this tour: Everest.  Breath-taking views echo the breath-taking altitude on the way up but the heart still manages to leap at the sight of the prayer flags fluttering in the chilly breeze marking the Pang La pass.  Just over the rise and laid out in front of us, it seemed almost close enough to touch:  Mt Everest, Lhotse and Cho Oyu like a postcard and as white, bright and wide as our smiles.  Even here, the locals had set up tents and were serving hot cups of yak butter tea and selling trinkets.

The biting cold was eventually enough to pull us away from the view and back onto the bikes.  A dizzying downhill over 40km’s took us through more endless switchbacks and rural villages where farmers would throw up their hands waving as we sped past.   Into tunnels cut-through ridges, past ancient fortresses growing out of the rock-face, across pebble-strewn glacier morass and down tricky sections of jeep-track.  The sun was low on the horizon as we rode into camp with the smell of dinner in the air and a cold beer on the mind.   We were spent, overwhelmed and utterly satisfied.   It was then that one of the participants jokingly remarked, “After that day I can hang up the bike now… I’ve done it all … time to try a new sport as there’s nothing left to top that!”

This was a day we’ll never forget, but I knew there were more equally as thrilling days yet to come!

Get in quick to book your spot on our next Cycle Across the Roof of the World trip departing on 24 April 2010.

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Life is a journey .... enjoy the ride!

welcome

Welcome to the inaugural post on the Bike Asia blog!

We hope to share with you more news and information about us, our trip and our destinations throughout 2010 and beyond.

To get things started we have loaded a couple of video clips that we hope will give you a glimpse into life on the road with us and also a special look into our Tiger Leaping Gorgeous adventure.

We hope you enjoy these brief moments as much as we and our passengers did at the time!

Life is a journey …. enjoy the ride!!!

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