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Bicycle diaries


Now at: Kilometre 16 000 in Russia.

The point of this blog is to communicate our experiences throughout the "Dévélotour Asia" project, and to explore the realities of a development that does not destroy the future.

New articles illustrated with photos appear regularly, usually at least once a week, charting the countries crossed and people met as we put the kilometres behind us. There’s room for comments, questions or your own thoughts. More pictures can be found in the Photo gallery section.

Turkey | Azerbaijan | Kazakhstan | Uzbekistan | Kyrgyzstan | Xin Jiang (China) | Pakistan | India | Andaman Islands (India) | Thailand | Laos | Vietnam | China | Mongolia | Russia



The trans-siberian across Russia

Where we are now
Other travellers
Practical advice cyclo-travellers
Where we’ve been
Oil threat bypasses Baikal to re-emerge further East
5 October 2008 Gośka Romanowicz
As we end our cycle journey by Lake Baikal we are closing a loop - we were here 3 years ago to report on a planned oil pipeline that threatened (...)
Naadam: Nomad Olympics
17 July 2008 Hervé Bonnaveira
If any games deserve to be called "green," surely it’s Mongolia’s Naadam. Far from the political and media agitation of Beijing, this annual (...)
From steppe to slum: urbanising Mongolia
15 July 2008 Gośka Romanowicz
The nomads we camped with on July 1st brought in their animals like any other night, while 200 km away the Mongolian capital was burning. Here in (...)
Mongolia - mining a new future
9 July 2008 Hervé Bonnaveira
A land of desert, steppe and untouched open space, the only thing Mongolia has to offer to the world is its wild nature. And it’s the country’s (...)
Mongolia: life in an extreme climate
22 June 2008 Hervé Bonnaveira
Strong wind, sand storms, heat, extreme cold and even rain in the Gobi desert: during our 15-day Gobi crossing we sampled the unpredictable (...)
Beijing: clean on the inside, dirty on the outside
10 June 2008 Hervé Bonnaveira
Crossing a megalopolis by bike gives you a good idea of how polluted it is. Arriving in the Chinese capital from the South we followed a long (...)
Eating Chinese: fuel for 1.3 billion
10 June 2008 Gośka Romanowicz
Water shortages, industrial expansion and population growth threaten Chinese food supplies at a time when the country relies strongly on its (...)
China: destroy and reconstruct!
27 May 2008 Hervé Bonnaveira
China wants to be seen internationally as a modern country with a thriving economy. Just as Beijing’s old streets are continuously being replaced (...)
China pedals on
27 May 2008 Gośka Romanowicz
Our cycle across China comes at a time when many Chinese are swapping bikes for cars while the Western world watches in horror, prophesising (...)
China on red alert for emissions !
26 May 2008 Hervé Bonnaveira
In 2006, China overtook the US to become the world’s number one CO2 emitter. Crossing the country by bike, we plunge into China’s coal-powered (...)
Tribal China - surviving modernity
28 April 2008 Gośka Romanowicz
Our route leads through Guizhou, one of China’s most ethnically diverse provinces, and also one of its poorest. Here are a few images and (...)
China: what is left of the land of the poets?
19 April 2008 Hervé Bonnaveira
With its fantastic landscapes and idyllic countryside Southern China has inspired artists and poets, earning itself the the epitaph of "China of (...)
Deforestation – on the green gold trail
29 March 2008 Gośka Romanowicz
From Laos to China, the tropical wood trade is fast destroying SE Asia’s forests. Sustainable wood labels could help reverse the (...)
Vietnam... what man has done with geological wonders
19 March 2008 Hervé Bonnaveira
Translated by Rashaad JORDEN“Halong Bay, number one!” That’s how the Vietnamese boast about the beauty of their country’s most visited landmark. The (...)
Laos, future battery of Asia... but at what cost?
10 March 2008 Hervé Bonnaveira
Translated by Rashaad JORDEN
Building a new Laos
27 February 2008 Gośka Romanowicz
Images from a little country undergoing big changes, as reflected in building styles.
Laos: a smiling welcome
19 February 2008 Hervé Bonnaveira
Since getting into Laos we are under the spell of this country where everyone seems to be smiling. It all started in Vientiane with the (...)
How I rediscovered Thailand
11 February 2008 Mohammed Eryk Khalifa
Thailand urban style: Bangkok boom
1 February 2008 Gośka Romanowicz
[en]Bangkok got stylish urban living from the economic boom - but lost out on quality of life with a transport system that doesn’t match the (...)
Rural Thailand: off the beaten track
1 February 2008 Hervé Bonnaveira
The motorway is for people in a hurry. It’s the quiet country roads that show us the real Thailand and its inhabitants. Far from the madness of (...)
The two faces of Thai tourism
23 January 2008 Gośka Romanowicz
Thailand’s striking natural beauty makes the destruction of its coastline by tourism all the more distressing.
Tsunami: a lesson in natural disasters?
9 January 2008 Hervé Bonnaveira
As we travel up the Indian Ocean coast devasted by the Boxing Day Tsunami back in 2004, we talk to survivors and try to assess what has changed (...)
Andaman Islands: fun on the ferry
28 December 2007 Hervé Bonnaveira
After Calcutta, three days of marine adventure await us before reaching dry land and our next destination, the Andaman Islands. The best way of (...)
Calcutta - concrete jungle, urban village
24 December 2007 Gośka Romanowicz
Ganges - unclogging India’s artery
6 December 2007 Gośka Romanowicz
[en]Every day at sunrise, Professor Veer Bhadra Mishra takes his morning dip in the Ganges. He has taken a ‘holy dip’ every morning since 1950, (...)
Veg or non-veg? Good reasons to go green
3 December 2007 Hervé Bonnaveira
India is undoubtedly the country that boasts the largest number of vegetarians. During our two month bicycle journey through the country, we’ve (...)
India: On yer bike
2 December 2007 Hervé Bonnaveira
Of all the countries we’ve crossed so far, India is surely the cycle capital of Asia. Having said that, the extreme pollution and lack of hygiene (...)
India: Urban apes - in pictures
24 November 2007 Gośka Romanowicz
No need to get out into the countryside to get close to nature here in India... Monkeys are everywhere, and they’re so similar to humans in their (...)
Holy monkey! India’s sacred animals claim their rights
19 November 2007 Gośka Romanowicz
Historical monuments – surviving in the era of pollution
18 November 2007 Hervé Bonnaveira
The architectural masterpieces Agra , Fatehpur Sikri, Orcha and Khajuraho, historical Indian cities we’ve seen during our bicycle journey, strike (...)
Wild India under attack from people and climate
11 November 2007 Hervé Bonnaveira
With its 93 national parks and 486 nature reserves, India is the ideal place to observe wild nature – well, at least in theory. Of the country’s (...)
India: time to reduce, reuse, recycle
30 October 2007 Hervé Bonnaveira
By the roadside, in the rivers - rubbish is everywhere. How to get rid of it?
Tibetan refugees put eco-theory into practice
25 October 2007 Gośka Romanowicz
The Dalai Lama’s green preaching filters down to everyday life in Dharamsala.
Air pollution: wind of change
23 October 2007 Hervé Bonnaveira
From Lahore to Delhi, cycling across several large Indian cities, we’ve met several different strategies more or less successful in the fight (...)
India: welcome to the land of colour, music and tolerance!
13 October 2007 Gośka Romanowicz, Hervé Bonnaveira
Each border crossing brings a surprise: this time, across the barbed wire fences of Wagah-Attari, India welcomed us with (...)
Pakistan: little angels and bad boys
7 October 2007 Hervé Bonnaveira
A few contrasting portraits of northern Pakistani children from our cycle down the Karakorum Highway
Cycle-tourist’s heaven and hell meet in Pakistan
7 October 2007 Gośka Romanowicz
[en]Cycling through Pakistan during Ramadan, amid a rising wave of political protests and just before the presidential elections didn’t seem like (...)
The Himalayan ice fortress under climate attack
7 October 2007 Hervé Bonnaveira
A health-check for Himalayan glaciers as we cross the Pakistani Karakoram.Translated by Rashaad JORDEN
China’s selective tourism policy
29 September 2007 Hervé Bonnaveira
Our first experiences as independent Western travellers in the Chinese province of Xin Jiang
Xin Jiang, China: head out on the Karakoram Highway
25 September 2007 Hervé Bonnaveira
From Kashgar to Tashkorgan, an ideal route for cycling tourists with spectacular panoramas on the glaciers of the Kunlun Mountains, in western (...)
Over the mountains, no petrol
24 September 2007 Gośka Romanowicz
[en]From rice to renewables– a few thoughts on energy [fr]Du riz aux renouvelables – quelques réflexions sur l’énergie [es]Del arroz a los renovables (...)
Kashgar, a cycle-nomads’ oasis
14 September 2007 Gośka Romanowicz
[en]Spending a few days in Kashgar, the old Silk Road oasis, we quickly felt part of a global tribe of cycle nomads.[es]Pasando unos días en (...)
Kyrgyzstan : back to school
13 September 2007 Hervé Bonnaveira
Bouquets were everywhere, as were students in their Sunday best. We were able to photograph several scenes from the first day of the new school (...)
Yurt surfing - green tourism in the mountains
12 September 2007 Hervé Bonnaveira
In the mountains of Pamir Altay, semi-nomadic shepherds share their animal-skinned roof as well as their daily life with (...)
Roadside merchants - fair trade, local products
31 August 2007 Hervé Bonnaveira
Far from the luxury supermarket "Mir" in the capital, Uzbek villagers looking to get closer to the consumer lay out their products directly on (...)
The rebel women of Central Asia
30 August 2007 Gośka Romanowicz
[en] "Are European girls virgins when they get married?" From Istanbul to Tashkent, the question comes up again and again, asked directly and (...)
Uzbekistan: streets are for cycling!
29 August 2007 Hervé Bonnaveira
A few pictures of happy cyclists taken on the road in Fergana Valley
Samarkand: ancient heritage of a bygone era
22 August 2007 Hervé Bonnaveira
Founded in the 5th century BCE, Samarkand had its golden age in the 14-15th centuries under the reign of Amir Timur, who turned it into a (...)
Rural Uzbek life: big family, few external needs
17 August 2007 Hervé Bonnaveira
Following an encounter with a local cyclist and his broken chain we were invited into an Uzbek family farm, and learnt about its inhabitants’ (...)
Where on earth has the Aral Sea gone?
16 August 2007 Gośka Romanowicz
“People say there is another sea underneath the seabed and that the water went underground," says Lyuba, a retired telephone operator who has seen (...)
Modern-day nomads of the Karakalpak desert (Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan)
9 August 2007 Gośka Romanowicz
The people of the Ustyurt plateau - welcome to Central Asia
Kazakhstan - Uzbekistan: the desert by bike
9 August 2007 Hervé Bonnaveira
A few images from the cycle journey across the desert - much less monotonous than it might be expected.
The tarmac bites into the sand
9 August 2007 Hervé Bonnaveira
On the map the Karakalpakstan desert seemed one of the most uncertain sections of our itinerary. Looking across the Kazakh-Uzbek border, this (...)
A week in the Kazakh desert: water and sun…
30 July 2007 Hervé Bonnaveira
500 km, 40 ºC, 10 litres a day each: three numbers that summarize our first week of cycling.
Crossing the Caspian Sea: the Ferry of Chaos
23 July 2007 Hervé Bonnaveira
A chaotic ferry crossing that holds some clues to the ecological disaster that has hit the Caspian.
Baku - petrol, pollution and a warm welcome
20 July 2007 Gośka Romanowicz
In Baku after two weeks of trains, the oil-boom city reveals its dirty secrets to us.
Paris - Baku: plane or train?
17 July 2007 Hervé Bonnaveira
Shaken but not stirred after 15 days of trains and buses, we feel better prepared for cycling across the central Asian (...)
Turkey: Eastern faces looking West
14 July 2007 Gośka Romanowicz
A few portraits from pre-election Istanbul.
One wheel in Asia
12 July 2007 Hervé Bonnaveira
Tropical heat, hard, hostile asphalt and friendly locals are a foretaste of what is awaiting us in Asia
Cycle-railing it across Europe: descent into the surreal
10 July 2007 Gośka Romanowicz
Paris - Berlin - Warsaw - Vienna - Budapest - Sofia
La grande messe avant le départ du déVELOtour Asia a eu lieu enfin ce matin à la salle polyvalente du Lycée « Les Bruyères »
2 July 2007 S.Gómez
Nos éco-cyclistes ont particulièrement attiré l’attention sur les buts pédagogiques et humanistes à atteindre et les moyens mis en oeuvre pour (...)
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