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Emmanuel and Liny on the way to the Tibet border

Village below in Western Sichuan

On the road near Four Girls Mountains

Andrew and Godspeed on the Western Sichuan Road to Danba

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Erik Koto

To Bike Tibet: A Tour Across Western Tibet

Copyright © Erik Koto, 2007

Andrew John Ganner arrive in the Heart of Beijing


Erik Koto: A Tour Across Western Tibet:  Week 1   Week 2   Week 3   Week 4   Week 5   Week 6   Week 7


To Bike Tibet: A Tour Across Western Tibet

This is a collection of photos and notes from a 2001 cycle tour across Western Tibet to Mt. Kailash, a mountain sacred to both Buddhists and Hindus, and home of the Hindu god Shiva. The tour began in Pakistan riding through the Karakoram Mountains to Kashgar, China. These pages cover the trip from Kashgar to Kathandu, Nepal. My traveling companions are a Swiss cyclist I met on the road in Pakistan, and a Danish cyclist we met in Kashgar.

route

kashgar to kathmandu
distance: 2,627 km / 1,632 mi
time: 48 days / 43 riding
avg speed: 10 kmph / 6 mph
high point: 5,400 m / 17,700 ft

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week 1: taklamakan desert

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route

The Taklamakan Desert spans much of Western China. It is hot, dry, windy, and in places only just above sea level; as such it serves as a daunting jumping off point for a road that climbs above 17,000 ft.

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6.20.01

90 km 5.5 hrs

Set out from Kashgar with Martin Adserballe and Stephan Grumitz. Kashgar has grown so much in the last five years that I could not find the way out of town. A Chinese man on a bike noticed our confusion and showed us the way. Once on the main road he stopped, bought us soft drinks and sent us on our way to Kathmandu. Long hot day along the souther edge of the Taklamakan desert. Camped near a lake with views of the mountains.

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6.22.01

108 km 7 hrs

Nice poplar lined road, but a nervous day as we were turning on to road 219, the road is strictly closed to foreigners. Crested a hill on 219 and came upon a PSB (Public Security Bureau) checkpoint. Nervous ride through it but the PSD decided to ignore us. Illegal but tolerated seems to be the present Chinese stance on cyclists along the road (this is the same rumor we had heard in Kashgar).

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6.23.01

62 km 6 hrs

Frustrating slow day. Made horrid time, nervous about being able to make it to Kathmandu at this rate. Pavement ends. Washboard jeep road for the next 2,000K.

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6.24.01

65 km6.5 hrs

First pass, 3245 m. Back in the mountains. Fast descent then a bad road. Deep mud, rock fields, knee deep river crossings. Stephan and I parted ways with Martin, I feel bad but our pace is faster and we have under 2 months left on our visas and 2,000 km to go.

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Continued here...

Erik Koto: A Tour Across Western Tibet:  Week 1   Week 2   Week 3   Week 4   Week 5   Week 6   Week 7

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