Sometimes, plans change – I’m on a bike now!
When I left Canada in December, bound for Taiwan I figured I would head in a general westward direction, overland towards and through Central Asia.
Biking as travel had floated in the periphery of my thoughts, before and during my first four months in Asia. I remember a night in November in Vancouver spent engrossed in bike touring blogs. Could I start my time in Asia off with biking around Taiwan? It was too much change for me to consider so soon before leaving. I couldn’t commit.
That same week I met Ed and Ben, squeezing in a trial ride during a leisurely weekend on Saltspring Island, in preparation for their nine weeks of travel through Asia on two wheels. I was intrigued, I was curious, and I watched them tune their bikes on the grass. But no, it wasn’t for me. I didn’t know what disc brakes were. Couldn’t spell or pronounce ‘pannier’.
Long days on buses and trains in China have for me been an eye-opening and rewarding travel experience. However, time spent learning how to survive on a fishing boat in the Philippines showed me the pleasures and challenges of traveling slowly, in an environment rife with uncertainty and spontaneity.
I’m on a bike now for the next six weeks. I met the right person at the right time for me to simply say yes to trying it. Somehow we managed to cobble together what I needed in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan with the help of our hosts and about ten days time.
I’m happy to report that we’re five days and about 400km into our 2200km route which is about to take us high into the Pamir Mountains in Tajikistan. Ilona flies back to Belgium in early June from Uzbekistan, and I’ll be once again alone, free to decide to continue on cycling, or feel satisfied that I tried it. We’ll see!
Kyrgyzstan has spoiled us with scenery, mountains and camping spots. Here are a few photos of our first days together on the road. Internet will be rare the next six weeks but I look forward to sharing more stories and pictures of me in the same sweaty outfit, come early June.