Page 4 of Bike Tour Eurasia Travel Blog Posts

Europe » Slovakia October 2nd 2009

For the first 8000 kilometers of our journey we had few choices of routes in that, over most of the Eurasian Steppe there are few roads connecting any two places. We would pick our next destination and ride there on the only route we could find. Sometimes this meant small, remote tracks where we were excited to see another car, horse, anything that could confirm our choice at the last intersection. At other times, however, this reality put us in heavy traffic on the only through road across huge distances. Russia was particularly rough as only one main road plies the whole of Southern Siberia and we shared that road with a never ending flow of aggressive trucks and maniac drivers. In Romania we found a New England-esque "you can't get there from here" sort of ... read more
Velo path near Hungary-Slovakia border
Getting Directions in Hungary

Europe » Romania » Transilvania » Brasov September 16th 2009

Until a few weeks ago we had been riding through countries so massive that border crossings, when they so seldom happened, seemed interestingly quirky at worst. When we met with our dear friends in the Crimean, we knew that one way or the other we would be crossing several international boundaries in only a few days. We thought this quite irksome as Julie and JP had to be in Bucharest for a flight by the morning of the eleventh and delays were not needed. We planned to take a ferry from the Crimean to Odessa in order to skip the few hundred kilometers of backtracking on major highways that would be required to ride to Odessa. Left to our own devices, the two of us would have probably just ridden this section but the thought of ... read more
Wide load
Welcome to Moldova
Cobblestone in Moldova

Europe » Ukraine » Krim September 2nd 2009

Riding across the vast plains of southern Russia we had a hard time imagining what any government could possibly want with all of this flat, dry land. As it stands now, the federation is the largest country in the world. Trying to picture all of this PLUS the former CIS states is mind blowing given that Moscow is closer to New York than the Russian Far East. Here in the Crimean Penninsula, however, it is easy to see how a superpower would want to lay claim to a destination so removed from its core. This place is truly gorgeous and different in every way from the rest of the landscapes on our route. Riding through vineyards high above the sea in the shadows of alpine peaks we are exhaulted after 5000 kilometers of flat, flat and ... read more
Weeeee.....down to the Black Sea
Above the town of Kerch, Ukraine

Europe » Russia » South » Volgograd August 19th 2009

When we studied the history of WWII in school we learned of the triumphs of the allies over the Nazi regime. We watched films and read accounts of the fierce fighting that raged for four years in the fields of central Europe and watched shaky black and white films of soldiers grovelling up the beaches of Normandy while warships launched barage after barage of cover fire and many of us came to regard "D-Day", rather by default, as the most critical event in the war. The role of the Russians was either largely left out or we missed it somehow as we passed notes beneath our desks, but to people on this side of Europe, the Second World War was one of the most devastating and unifying events in modern history. After all, they suffered more ... read more
Mamaev  Kurgan
Posing with Mother Russia
Forest campsite

Europe » Russia » Volga » Ufa August 6th 2009

When the Soviet empire collapsed in the early nineties it was heralded in the west. The thought of centrally mandated collectivism makes a capitalist's blood run cold and many (if not most) Americans view, or were taught to view this shift as a great victory in the name of the human spirit. The communists doubtlesssly had innumerable failings but, as western popular media triumphed through "kill-a-commie" films and the end of the "Cold War" was heralded, many Russians suffered and starved. The loss of a way of life that was a full two generations thick proved stifling and left many without the means to survive. To us, these casualties never had a human face, untill now. Things have doubtlesly stabalized these days but many older Russians still have warm regards for the good old days when ... read more
Gift of freshly picked cherries
Friendly Armenians share their vodka and watermelon with us at the Asia-Europe border
Russian bus stop

Asia » Kazakhstan July 25th 2009

Kazakhstan is by far the largest and most prosperous of the former Soviet Central Asian states. Stretching from the 7000m+ Tian Shan to the Caspian sea it is longitudinally nearly as large as the 48 contiguous states. In the east, pipelines carry petros across the mountains into China. The western most regions, where much of these petros are mined, are technically in Europe. It is the richness of its resources that makes the young state a standout in an otherwise impoverished region and, as one might imagine, more than a few neighbor states are at length trying to get their hands in the pot. The country is currently embroiled in an attempt to craft a national sense of identity amidst Soviet architecture and a very diverse culture. Here in Petropavlovsk, so far north that some Russians ... read more
Omsk, Russia
Russian bike tourist in Kazakhstan
Flat road, nice pavement

Europe » Russia » Siberia » Barnaul July 11th 2009

Definitions: gol -mongolian for river, nuur -Mongolian for lake, aimag -a mongolian state or province, asalam aleykhem -Kazakh for peace be with you. The Bohmoron Gol drains several lakes high in the boundary ranges which seperate Russia from Mongolia. It then flows through a large, wide (50 km +), rocky valley rimmed with 4000 m + peaks before dumping heavily turbid water into broad, shallow Achit Nuur. Along this course, the river devides Uvs aimag to the northeast from Bayan-Olgii aimag, the western most political division in the country. In dividing the two aimags, the mighty Bohmoron also divides two distinctly different cultures. On the Uvs side, the virtually plantless, rocky plains are occupied by a mostly Kalkh Mongol population, who ethnically make up roughly 90 percent of all Mongolian citizens. Two days drive over high, ... read more
We made it
Winding through Respublic Altai, Southern Russia
Southern Altai Range

Asia » Mongolia » Uvs June 26th 2009

A truck went by..... three hours ago. Smoke Creek Desert -Gary Snyder A few years ago a group of us were speeding across the basins of Northern Nevada en route to a remote hot spring. Sitting in the passenger seat of our rented Blazer was mama Vickie Wiles who was visiting from the Mid-Atlantic. As she watched the endless sage roll by and slowly internalized the vastness of the country around her she murmered: "well boy, you wanted to be in the middle of nowhere and this is it". In times since she has come to love Nevada as many of us do. She has enjoyed the feeling of travelling for hours without seeing another person and the fun of shooting at distant t... read more
Sain Banuu
Waiting out the weather
Storm ahead

Asia » Mongolia » Khovsgol » Moron June 4th 2009

We hit a strip of pavement a dozen kilometers before Moron. It felt like riding into some glassy, fourth dimensional plane. After a few days the riding style becomes adapted to dirt roads and a brief return to pavement can be an exulting (if eerie) experience. Two weeks of pounding the dirt have brought us here healthy and sure footed with only one slashed tire to show for it. We heard many a sadistic tale of the horrors of Mongolian roads but, knock on sand, few have come to fruition in the 700+ kilometers since we left the scruffy pavement of the capitol. The multitude of tracks leading off in all directions has proven to be more of a help than the navigational nightmare we had imagined. If we do not like the conditions of ... read more
We're on the right track, right?
Take a breather trusty bike
Sweaty back designs

Asia » Mongolia » Ulaanbaatar May 21st 2009

China stops at the Mongolian border. In Inner Mongolia province we experienced a fair amount of Mongolian culture as well as tourists hailing from Ulaanbaatar. Signs were usually written in both Chinese and Mongolian script, and the cross cultural exchange was evident in nearly every facet of daily life. Mongolia crosses the border into China but the opposite does not hold true. The crossing was long and beaurocratic, we could not ride but rather took compulsory jeep trasnsport into the Mongolian Border town of Zamyn Uud. Here we found a familiarly rougher version of life with child beggars and mangy dogs wandering the dust blown streets. It is all very reminiscent of other places we have rolled into in the developing world; touts trying to "help us" with our gear, everyone asking for a payoff, that ... read more
Speed Kills

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