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Alex, a French tourist met in Istanbul , is off for a year of travels across Asia with his backpack. His route passes through Iran , India and South-East Asia . He’s now cycling in South Africa . See http://alexgo.top-depart.com.
Matthias, a Swiss cyclist, approached us - barefoot, bearded, and with a big smile on his face - as soon as he saw us with our bikes heading for a hostel in central Istanbul. He was staying there too. A great welcome to the city! Follow his adventures across Asia on http://www.dieweltistblunt.ch.
It’s not so common to meet back-packers traveling long-distance by land. We have followed the same route from Turkey to Georgia with Morvan, a young French explorer on his way to Nagorno-Karabakh, the frozen conflict zone between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
We shared the ups-and-downs of the infamous Caspian Sea ferry crossing with two Swiss travelers on a Round the World journey, who kindly loaded our bikes into their car, saving us the special ferry "bicycle tax." Nico and Valerie can be found on http://www.gnous.ch.
François-Xavier had already made it from Belgium to most of Asia and was about to take the ferry in the opposite direction to us when we met him in the port of Aktau, Kazakhstan. There’s a lot of info on sustainable development on his website and blog: www.developpementdurableasie.com, www.tourdumondefix.over-blog.com.
No, it’s not the Paris-Dakar, even if the Central Asian landscape is the same. Cars participating in the Mongol Rally are old bangers and the goal is to raise money for charity rather than to win. See http://mongolrally.theadventurists.com/ and www.mercycorps.org.uk.
Peter Navratil is a German geographer working on the Aral Sea with the German Technical Cooperation, a development body. We spent a day together in Moynaq, Uzbekistan. For more details see http://www.gtz.de/en/weltweit/europ....
A French couple met in Bukhara, Uzbekistan, traveling with an 11-month-old baby - yes, it’s possible! Follow little Martin’s adventures on www.voyagemartin.canalblog.com.
Stéph and Manu are cycling from Briançon in the French Alps since March 2007; our paths crossed at the Kyrgyz embassy in Tashkent. They’re following the Silk Road by bike in the same direction as us, working with local and French schools along the way. We met them again in Kashgar... www.212223routedelasoie.over-blog.com.
Daniel, the Speedy Gonzales of Asian roads and his orange recumbent can be found at http://www.parispeking.de. Although he might be in Australia on a new bike by now...
Nicolas the French horse rider / film-maker traveling across the lands of Gengis Khaan was in Kyrgyzstan when we met him, heading for Kabul. See where he’s got to on http://www.cavalensteppe.com
Claude, a Swiss cyclo-travel veteran who everyone seems to know, has been on the road since October 2005 with his girlfriend Nathalie - just a short trip this time... We bumped into them in Sari-Tash, Kyrgyzstan. http://www.yaksite.org
Sébastien’s cycle-quest involves collecting samples of moss from around the Asian continent - they will be used as clues to reconstituting the climate of the past: http://lyonpekin.free.fr.
Mandy and Benny, the German Globe-cyclers on a recumbent tandem, are on http://www.globecyclers.de.
Bettina and Torsten had to get back from China somehow after a couple of years spent working there- and decided to cycle home to Germany. http://www.136-10.com
Erika and Robin from Aberdeen had been cycling 2 years 5 months when we met them in Kashgar, China in September 2007... Their donations of Pakistani dress, a sim-card and lots of good advice were very much appreciated! http://www.travelblog.org/Bloggers/...
The Karakorum Highway is a paradise for cyclo-tourists of all kinds. A group of 21 Dutch cyclists we met at Karakul Lake had chosen to travel light, while their luggage followed them in a bus.
Fumi, a seasoned Japanese cyclo-traveler, gave us invaluable advice on places to sleep along the Karakoram Highway in Pakistan when our paths crossed by the Muztag-Ata mountain in Xinjiang. You can look at the photos, but to read it you’ll just have to learn Japanese... http://blogs.yahoo.co.jp/fumionbike
Yuki, another Japanese cyclist, gave us his well-worn Pakistan Lonely Planet - thanks! Guessing the photo-captions of his Japanese blog is actually quite fun. http://ameblo.jp/myaworld.
Piotr, a Polish cyclist, entertained us with his company from Karimabad to Gilgit in Pakistan. As an English teacher in the town of Biugoraj in Eastern Poland, one summer he just decided to take a year or so off. He’s not sure when he’s going back home…
Argentineans Pato and Mauro were the first cyclists we’ve met crazy enough to want to cycle through Iraq . They had visas and were all set to go but were stopped by an accident on a Turkish motorway... apparently the Kurdish part of Iraq is perfectly safe for cyclists. Next time perhaps?
Unlike most people mentioned in this section, British kayaker Ben is paddling, rather than pedaling, across Asia - traveling by boat (or WITH a boat much of the way where there are no rivers to carry him). You can find out about his last expedition at http://fourbordersexpedition.com.
Manuel was working on an environmental project in Thailand’s forests before coming to Surin for NY’s Eve 2008. Website for the forest project: http://www.mm.helsinki.fi/mmeko/vit...
We shared squid stews, snorkeling trips and travel stories on Surin Island, Thailand, with Julie and Olivier from Marseille, as 2007 was coming to a close. We welcomed 2008 together with them and other travelers from France, Austria, Germany and Israel – see below!
Sylvia and Andy from Austria are on a “working holiday” making a film about budget travelers in SE Asia. Not the worst place to work, if you ask me… They too were part of the New Year 2008 Surin Island gang.
We met French cyclists Amélie and Nicolas under the appropriately named Thai-Lao " Friendship Bridge ." Their Asia tour blog: http://www.tourenasie.unblog.fr
Tandem couple Charleen and Richard from Australia are touring Asia on their beautiful red machine - we bumped into them between Vientiane and Viang Vieng, Laos. Their travel photos are on http://www.richardandcharleen.fotop....
We shared the unforgettable Vientiane-Luang Prabang road through the mountains of Laos with English cyclist Tom - four days of pure joy.
Nature-loving French cyclist David is an expert in dodging touristic places. He has a Lonely Planet with him - "to know which places to avoid."
We shared a trip on a long boat up the Nam Ou River in Laos with Dutch cyclists Sabina and Christian and their bikes. Cycle-touring addicts, they take months off at a time to pedal their way across countries and continents. This time it’s four months in SE Asia: http://www.bangkok2chengdu.blogspot.com/. Their blog is http://www.bangkok2chengdu.blogspot.com.
Monghon and Somsak were the first Thai cycle travelers we met during our whole time in Asia , and, apart from two Japanese and one Chinese-American, the only Asians.
Coming down from Phukun in Laos we met Andrew, an Aussie cycle traveler who seems to have cycled half the world... we exchanged impressions of the Karakoram Highway before letting him tackle the long, hard climb towards Phukun before nightfall.
A pleasant surprise to finally meet two women cyclists – Darna and Janneke from Holland, on a tour of Asia.
Francois from Hong Kong (although actually from France) chooses to look at the world from a more relaxed position, lying back on his yellow recumbent. http://route5.eu/
Nancy and Collie are a Korean-Irish team cycling from Seoul to Singapore, via snow-capped mountains, commentaries at midnight and other strange and exciting places... you can read their adventures on http://seoul2singapore.org/.
Experienced cyclist Thorsten and his brother Boris “can’t stand sitting in an office for too long,” so they cycle instead. They have a talent for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, such as anywhere that has riots on. http://www.bambi-on-tour.eu/
It’s good to meet local long-distance travelers too – we found Mr. Mashbat from Ulaan Baatar camping in the desert just like us as he transported his new motorbike from China back home.
As we fearfully approached the first kilometers of the Mongolian Gobi we met a father and son who had just walked across it, making us feel like right sissies for cycling... Randall and Leo from Texas win the prize for most challenging undertaking among all the travelers we’ve met.
When we met Nicolas from France and his Mongolian wife Dashka wearing traditional wedding dress by the Manzushir Khid monastery, they were intrigued to find we are cycling across Asia . We were even more intrigued by how they had first met - skiing off-piste in the wild Altai mountains.
We had heard many stories of a group of circus performers touring Asia on tall bikes, so we were thrilled to meet Tom, one of the legendary Cyclowns, in Ulaan Baatar. You can find him on http://www.myspace.com/botswanabanana and the Cyclowns on http://www.cyclown.org/.
Amanda and Olivier are cycling round the world on their recumbents, collecting stories of children’s dreams along the way. http://globicyclette.free.fr
We ran into Spanish cyclist Jordi and Luis in UB – he’s cycling around the country to make a film about children in Mongolia . www.ahoraonunca.org.
The Mongolian national cycling team happened to be training on a hill we passed. They went up and down at least 4 times while we went just up. But they did stop to talk to us.
We met several motor-bikers on the road to the Russian border with Mongolia – Wolfgang and Emil were the first.
Volker and Hans-Henning set off on their motorbike “Ride of Change” to see the post-soviet world (and more) before it is transformed beyond recognition by capitalism. www.ride-of-change-2008.de/
Jan and Romana from the Czech republic had just got off the Trans-Siberian when we met them in Sukhbatar. They gave us some good advice for the Russian leg of our trip. http://espinosa.klenot.cz/
Elena and Gael are a Franco-Russian team cycle-touring Asia in search of historical monuments for UNESCO http://commonlife.free.fr/
Unai and Anna, cyclists from the Basque country, were heading for Mongolia
Dan the biker from Romania had crushed his leg in an accident but seemed in the best of moods when we met him on the Russia-Mongolia border
Russia is the first country we meet local cycle-tourists! This group of Russian students were cycling the Baikal coast for a few weeks.
"Ultramarathonman" Radovan from Slovenia was cycling 10,000km to Beijing in 40 days, and he still had time to stop for a chat! http://hilarij.blog.siol.net/english/
Walter from Switzerland was heading for China when we met him on some steep slopes by the Baikal
We met Mickael Morel at the ABM festival in Rouen where he was presenting his 2008 cycle across the US: http://traversee-usa-a-velo.over-bl...