Monthly Archives: June 2012

Other people

One of the other brilliant things about China is that, for the first time in several months, I’m sharing the road with other cyclists. Well, that’s not strictly true – after all, there were a lot of people on bikes in Pakistan. But I’m discounting those people for whom the bicycle is an economic necessity […]

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Postcard from Urumqi

Warning: we recommend not staying in Urumqi as it is just a huge blob of an urban megalopolis with no redeeming features. So said the father of a friend, who backpacked through Central Asia and Western China last year, and has been giving me invaluable advice about the road ahead. But, as is sometimes the case, my […]

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Any questions?

What do you do if you can’t find a toilet anywhere, and have no toilet roll, or water? I try very hard not to let this happen. Iran and Pakistan turned me into an obsessive filcher and hoarder of toilet paper (I worry this will continue when I get back to countries where it’s readily […]

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Fear and inspiration on the Silk Road

After Kashgar comes the Taklamakan Desert. It is not, as they say, a walk in the park. It has been remarked upon that I focus rather a lot on pain and suffering in some of these blog posts. And yes, this has not escaped my notice. What I’ve also noticed, however, is that the difficulties […]

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Refreshment

And one of the best things about China? The soft drinks. They’re the nicest I’ve found so far. And a thirsty cyclist is surely the best judge of these things. In Iran the roadside beverages tended to be malted beer substitutes – in fact nothing at all like beer, but very refreshing, and usually flavoured […]

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Narnia in Xinjiang

Arriving in China felt a bit like stumbling upon Narnia through the back of the wardrobe. We spent days riding higher and higher into the mountains of Pakistan, the road deteriorating as we went and the villages and trees and other signs of life getting smaller and further apart and finally fading away altogether, until […]

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Hard Times (IV)

Pain – has an Element of Blank – It cannot recollect When it begun – or if there were – A time when it was not – (Emily Dickinson) We made it, of course. And the road was horrible almost all the way. But I didn’t die of altitude sickness – not even slightly. All […]

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Hard Times (III)

And from Passu it was on to Sost, the final town on the Karakorum Highway, and not even much of a town really – more just a collection of cheap hotels, money changers and customs buildings. It was from here that we’d get the bus to Tashkurgan, since the Chinese don’t allow people to cycle […]

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Hard Times (II)

I’d read all about the Attabad Lake, and worried at one point that it might mean my Karakorum dreams were doomed never to become reality. But at the back of my mind, I’d wondered how hard it could really be to blast away a few rocks and drain the water away. And couldn’t they just […]

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