Saturday, September 24, 2011

Cycling from the Hermit Kingdom to Western China, Reloaded Bicycle Expedition Touring

Northern Silk Road - G314, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, western China (south of Tian Shan!)
My first expedition by bicycle, 3240km standing-only train, 1028km of extreme bus journey, 505km of hitch-hiking, 3200km cycling in western China - solo & with other adventurers down the road
 After the painful arrival on the train (36 hours, no toilet, no seats, standing-room only) Mark helps with a mobile phone purchase (100 RMB/Chinese Reminbi/Yuan) and mobile card for the first 30 days (100RMB)
 Mobile phone markets are common in China. Find a deal for less than new. I purchased a 2003 Siemens mobile and a China mobile 100RMB recharge card (including mobile telephone number). Deal.
 iPhones are available in the Chinese market, cheaper than export markets, Made in China.
 Mark and I met on the Beijing-Urumqi Express train ($49 USD, 316 RMB/Yuan)
 Not only are the noodles good in China, there are all sorts of ways to serve it up in Urumqi, Xinjiang 
The bare essentials - Ortlieb Ultimate (Large, Black) waterproof, handlebar bag, bottles, snack, water, toothbrush/paste, rear mirror, diary/pen*,bike repair tools (Topeak Alien II), glasses, Xpedition stickers
 Lowepro SLR camera bag (circa 1994), Canon IXUS 90is, Sony Handycam HDR-XR550V, Samsung Yepp 4GB mp3 player, Siemens phone/mini charger, Bodyglove sunglasses, spare batteries
Food supply for the expedition, oatmeal, raisins, dried apricots, water...Taklamakan Desert 552km was crossed with this and 6 loaves of Nan Bread. Just Do It. 
 Starting out on a new ride, Urumqi, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, Western China 
 Cycling the G314 leads to Kashgar, northwest to Kazhakstan, north to Mongolia, west to India, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan, South to Nepal, Laos, Vietnam, Burma (Myanmar)
 Proposed route across the Spine of TIBET, Himalayas of Xizang Autonomous Region of western China
 Proposed route across the Tian Shan Mountains, Taklamakan Desert, Uyghur Autonomous Region
 Leaving Gangneung, Gangwon-do, South Korea from LPG car (Gangneung-Incheon, 3 hours) to Ferry (Incheon-Tianjin, 36 hours) to Bike/Bus Tianjin/Train (2 hours) to Bike to Train to Bike 
 China is a very big place (especially when coming from South Korea!)
Mark wishes me all the best (but I think he had serious doubts about my safety on the road, he didn't know me well enough...same is true of many cyclists in Korea, they don't know me!!!!) 
 Finally ready for lift-off from Urumqi, China 
 Something important I prepared before leaving the Korean-World, a Logo banner supporting IDEAS foundation and Education Through Expeditions - Love you guys and important missions!
 Custom touring mountain bike (I wouldn't have it any other way...2008 Blackcat stock-aluminum frame OEM Giant, Bontrager Race Disc Wheelsets, Shimano Deore LX Hollow crank, Fox RL 32 front shocks
 Pavement and poplars in Urumqi metropolitan area
 Strapped for an expedition, cycle weighs 23kg, equipment 27kg, full-loaded touring
 My GOPRO helmet camera HD, 32GB Class 10 memory loaded
 My graphic design job, 1 semester of graphic design in California (circa 2001)
 Hitting the pavement for the next 3200km of expedition bicycle touring (10% of the A2A2012-2014)
 Signs are explained in Arabic, Chinese Pinying, and English (+ Numerical) at the start
 Older Uyghur settlements in Urumqi are being paved over, history is right next to the road!
 G30 Southbound, Highway travel by bicycle is NOT enforced as illegal in Xinjiang (luckily!)
 I ride hard, I always wear my mask (dust allergies, asthma, keeps hydration levels higher)
 Crankwerks sessions, 100km a day, 3200km + leap days+/days off-, I returned to Beijing 57 days later.
 Note: non-ergo grips. I rode the entire expedition hard on the hands. Next stage, Ergo grips already installed!
 G312/G30 split, the modern Silk Road in China never looked smoother. Straight ahead!
 Signs change to Arabic, Chinese Pinying and Numerical 
 Irrigation such as this is essential and breathes life into Uyghur Autonomous Region (the way they always did it...something of yesterday and of today). Waters run south from the Tian Shan Mountains.
 Open roads beckon the endurance cyclist in western China. I found the expressways an essential route across some of the barren parts of Xinjiang (New Province in Chinese language). Note: this is Uyghur Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China. A unique culture living alongside the Han Chinese.
 Feeling thirsty? With a MSR micro-filtration's a source of a cyclist's best friend on the road, H2O.
 Long haul truckin' on a custom MTB-touring bike, it's an awesome feeling today! Turpan 157km, others?
 HimalayasX2011 is a unique cycle experience to take on my greatest challenge to date, the unknown western  ranges of China
 Sheep travel in small herds in Xinjiang, Uyghur Autonomous Region, China
 Getting water when I was running low. This is a full-service, 1-stop brothel alone the desert highway.
 Friendly people making a living. I escaped with boiled water (Rhur Shuaa/Kai Shuaa)
 Back on the G30,G312 and glad to see that China is thinking ahead: Wind Turbine Power.
 Stoked (excited) to meet people at truck stops after traveling for hours in the desolate western G312
 Truckers out west in China have big hearts, nice to meet so many of you all!
 How is this for an amazing shot, high school students who work at the Petrochem station, Thanks guys!
 The high school students work at the Petrochem station and live in the dormitory, I take a room for free and share some GOPRO video with them. Language and cultures connect. 
Peace guys, you made my adventure great!  

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About the Korean-World Author

Brian Perich was an English as a Foreign Language (EFL) lecturer for a decade, father, and adventure cyclist based in South Korea.

Previously, Brian has led Canoe adventures in Quetico Provincial Park, Atikokan, Ontario, Canada (1993/1999); led Grand American camping adventures (2000); lived at Paramahansa Yogananda's SRF Ashram for 5 months (see the film "AWAKE"), formerly worked in titanium welding at Agilent Technologies, formerly worked in Winery industry in Marin County with Kendall Jackson in California; Surfing and Meditation continued for several years in California, British Columbia, South Korea, Yoga training in California 1999-2000.

Between 1994-1998 - Brian completed his own adventures with motorcycles. His motorcycling marathons took him across the United States and central/western Canada, while traveling solo over an astounding 24,000km in 60 days! Brian endured 900 mile/1300km average days in the motorcycle saddle and apparently loved every minute of those adventures.

Today, he has given up motorcycle adventures altogether, but finds an outlet for his enthusiasm in outdoor recreation while bicycle touring and micro-blogging about those experiences on his mountain bikes.

While employed as an English teacher in South Korea, Brian has became an advocate for bicycle touring on his mountain bikes. The Korean-World blog originated from those small adventures in Korea, now expanded to cover his recent trek down the TransMongolian highway to the Gobi Desert, cycling 900km east through the Khentii grasslands and in 2012 crossing Mongolia in 45 days, 2500 kilometers 1553 miles. HimalayasX expedition Brian previously cycled across western China, the Taklamakan Desert, the northern Himalayas of East Turkestan Xinjiang/Uyghur Autonomous Region, the corrugated back roads and mountains of Kham Tibet. Brian successfully completed his 2011 mountain bike expedition with 3200 kilometers / 1988 miles unsupported, on/off road MTB adventure cycling.
Brian has completed his second mountain bike journey, MongoliaX expedition - Crossing Mongolia 2012, an unsupported mountain bike MTB expedition across 2500km of Outer Mongolia from Ulanbaatar to Altai Taven-Bogd National Park bordering China, Russia and Mongolia.

In 2013, as a sequel to a trilogy of cycle tours, Brian enjoyed a more leisure bicycle tour onboard his Koga-Miyata World Traveller seeing the northern tier of the United States and western Canada covering 3400 kilometers / 2000 miles in 30 days. This North American cycle tour was called Totherocktour. Enjoying the adventure of bicycle travel and every great conversation started while traveling on the road - has refueled his inspirations to cycle around the Earth. In 2013, while he cycled solo from the Great Lake State of Michigan, United States to Banff National Park in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. He weaved through local communities and reconnected with friends, family and community after spending almost a decade in Asia.

Brian is now supporting several non-profit foundations through expeditions: IDEAS Foundation of Canada IDEAS is the acronym for Intestinal Disease Education and Awareness Society which supports the IBD community, those suffering from IBD-inflammatory bowel disease, also known as Crohn's and Ulcerative Colitis.

The second non-profit foundation is ETE.ORG - Education Through Expeditions, UK which supports educational outreach programs inside schools around the world. ETE connects explorers with students in the classroom, through an interactive online program in development (Beta).

Brian is researching support for a 18000 kilometer bicycle expedition across the Americas: North, Central and South America - ONE -Arctic to Argentina
Please contact him if you are interested in helping out.

Twitter: Cycleagain
Location: Gangneung, Gangwon-do, South Korea or southern Ontario, Canada.

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Brian's friends have also been...Cycling in Korea!

Brian's friends have also been...Cycling in Korea!

Cycling in Korea, Warning: always wear a helmet! (I gave mine to my friend)

Cycling in Korea, Warning: always wear a helmet! (I gave mine to my friend)

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