On The Un-Road: 5,650km

“Your bike is discovery; your bike is freedom. It doesn’t matter where you are, when you’re on the saddle, you’re taken away.”

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“All my troubles disappear once I pedal my bike.” Kevin turned to me on our second day of riding and announced that he would love to create a bumper sticker that said just that and attach it to the back of his bike. Though we had both been suffering from stomach problems (which I am quick to blame on the deathly spicy chowmein we consumed), the beautiful landscape we found ourselves cycling through was enough to dispel our stomach troubles. After a magnificent downhill through the small farming villages doted along the hillside, we arrived at the valley were we found ourselves following a river. Kevin, being an avid fisherman, proposed we stop early for the day in order to spend the afternoon exploring the river. I readily agreed, and spent a peaceful afternoon bathing, wandering, and watching life slowly pass by me.

Home sweet home.

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We were camped across from a cluster of farming houses where people, goats, and enormous black buffaloes would slowly sauntered down to the water. A few hundred kilometers away there were children herding their animals and women washing their clothes in the river, but for the most part, we were left in peace to enjoy the beautiful scenery around us. We did have a few curious visitors of course, a few young boys rafting down on a tire (with flip flops attached to a stick for an or), and a few other youngsters who came by to watch Kevin fish, but at least all of our visitors where children.

Here is Kevin fly fishing with his gang of curious onlookers.

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Unfortunate our days of easy cycling dissapeared suddenly as we started out on our third morning with a treacherous climb. As a landslide had taken out the main road, we were forced to divert up a steep sandy pathway where even the 4X4’s had trouble getting up. Needless to say we ended up pushing our bikes up most of the way as it was impossible to ride. That seemed to set the tone for the rest of the hard day as we cycled and pushed our bikes up a bumpy unpaved road. What appeared to be a large road on the map was in fact an unfinished project (started thirty years ago) that would end up posing great difficulty to us and our bikes. By one we were exhausted and decided to call it a night before we completely wore ourselves out. It was one of the hardest days of cycling, “cycling” more like, as it felt like we did more pushing, and I was very glad when the day was done.

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The next day we started out bright and early to avoid the heat of the day, quite fortunately as we found ourselves climbing for over four hours up and over one of the ridges that defines the foothills of the Himalayas. It was a long climb, but as the road was paved (no more pushing!) it was actually relaxing and fun. After the decent, which seemed much too short for the amount we climbed, we arrived in a tropical region with more people and houses. It was hot and humid, and the nicely paved road unfortunately gave way to an unpaved dirt path once again. Instead of pushing out the last twenty kilometers to the main highway we decided to camp in a large open field and finish out the rest in the morning when it wasn’t nearing 40c.

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2 thoughts on “On The Un-Road: 5,650km

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