By our usual recent standards we had a bit of a lie in. The border doesn’t open until 8 and we only had 15 kilometres to go to reach it so there was no point in leaving too early. The couple who’s shelter we slept next to offered us br [...]
We took the quieter of the two roads out of the city. It took a while to clear Tashkent but once we did it was pleasant enough riding through rich farmland. Wheat, maize and of course the ubiquitous cotton. Uzbekistan is the second largest exporte [...]
Uzbekistan calls itself the sunny country with more than 270 sunny days per year. It could equally be called the dry country. 70% of the country is desert and the rest doesn’t get much more rain. In 2005 the country had a water deficit of 2, [...]
We’d only been in Uzbekistan for 4 hours and already we’d been given lunch, a watermelon, some toilet roll, 2 bottles of water, and a bottle of coke. The generosity started within a few kilometres of crossing the border. Some farm work [...]
Upon arrival in Bishkek we found ourselves a guest house and made preparations to begin the Central Asian visa dance. The dance is long, drawn out and nobody is exactly sure of the steps. It seems to be different for each person. Our first partner [...]
Looking at the bright green valleys filled with lush spring grass and the raging torrents of melt water cascading down the mountain sides it’s hard to imagine Kyrgyzstan suffering as a result of climate change but it will. Its mountainous te [...]
When the phone call came I was sitting at the communal table drinking a beer to celebrate getting the last of our visas for central Asia. My mother very matter of factly informed me that my father had died earlier that day. That beer swiftly mutat [...]
Kyrgyzstan is beautiful. One of the most beautiful countries I have ever seen. The road in from China is just simply stunning. We left Kashgar and followed the river valley the 90 km to the Chinese border post at Ulugqat. The valley was lush and g [...]
As soon as your arrive in Korla it feels like a place under occupation. Which of course it is. The Chinese marched in in 1789 – massacring over a million people in the neighbouring Kingdom of Zunghar in the process – and haven’t  [...]
The original plan had been to ride to Lanzhou and then extend our visas because it was the most direct route across China. But the prospect of spending a week in one of the most polluted cities in China wasn’t exactly filling me with joy. Bo [...]
The first day we spent getting out of Guiyang. The national highway was closed because of building works and some of the alternative routes prohibited bicycles. We took then anyway as there didn’t seem to be another way. Finally we left the  [...]
I awoke early and pulled back the curtains to reveal a grey morning. Light rain was creating a pattern of rings on the water gathered on the flat roof of the building next door. When we emerged into the parking lot I shivered slightly in my shorts [...]