World cycle tours - slideshows

Past World Cycling Tours

This page is a real side trip, included to show a little about some of my past rides, and maybe to tempt some viewers.

Over the years, I've done a number of longer rides, mostly in various countries of the high mountains of central Asia, but also around the middle east, SE Asia & Africa. I've also done a number of rides in the far, far north of North America - Yukon, Northwest Territories, Alaska. 

In this section, I've packaged some photos into slideshows with some background info and context. On the Ladakh (India), Nepal and Iran pages, there are also a few (soundless, alas) video clips that I hope people might enjoy.

The East Indonesian Islands and far North (North America) trips predate my first digital camera, so the photos are not very good, and you may want to skip these slideshows.

Check out World cycle tours - slideshows

Click on the pics to jump to the slideshows, and a few video clips.  The pages below are in chronological order.  

 

The East Indonesian Islands and far North (North America) trips predate my first digital camera, so the photos are not very good, and you may want to skip these slideshows.

Years past, I did a series of rides where I flew up to the far north, then cycled south back home. Spectacular country. Tough riding, exceptionally remote, lots of wildlife, and, in places, bugs beyond belief. Now that the Dempster Highway has been extended north from Inuvik to the Arctic Ocean at Tuktoyuktuk, I'm thinking of going back again to reach the Canadian Arctic Ocean. Photos here predate my first digital camera, so are not very good - but give a good idea of this immense country - one of the world's grand cycling destinations

The Indonesian Island of Bali is well known, but there's much more to the east in the island chain known as Nusa Tenggara. I flew out to eastern Flores, then made my way back through rugged, fascinating Flores, Sumbawa and Lombok. This was after the notorious Bali bombings, so tourists were a rarity, and I was welcomed. I speak enough Bahasa to get by on the basics, and this was a super trip.

 

Photos here predate my first digital camera, so are not very good - but give an idea of local flavour.

This cycle tour to, and then over, the Karakorum Highway fulfilled a life-long dream. I didn't manage to ride to the top of Khunjerab Pass, getting turned back by immigration police (the border is a sensitive area), and had to put my bike on top of a bus for the last stretch into north Pakistan. This was the trip that whet my appetite for the high mountains of Central Asia and introduced me to Xinjiang, Kashgar and the mighty Taklamakan desert, which I rode for a thousand kms. 

I flew into Diyarbakir, ancestral capital of the Kurds in eastern Turkey. What an area, drenched in incredible history, ancient architecture, great food, friendly people, and excellent riding. But also current issues, with Turkish Kurds, Armemians and more. I finished by crossing a mountain pass into Georgia for my first look at a former Soviet Socialist Republic. 

I flew into Dushanbe, capital of Tajikistan. Then I rode the fabled Pamir Highway into Sari Tas in Kyrgyzstan, including long days along the Panj River, the border with Afghanistan. Then on to Kashgar in Xinjiang, China. This was a hard ride, days on end above 4,000m, but also a trip of incredible sights, breathtaking riding, friendly people, and unnerving army checkpoints. This trip was also notable for meeting hardy cycle tourists on epic cross Asia tours.

Met a Japanese cycle tourist in north Alaska who talked about Madagascar. Years later, I had my chance, and flew into the NE corner of Madagascar, then cycled (and pushed) my way back to Antananarivo, the capital (aka Tana). In many places, river bridges or ferries were no longer in place, but local entrepreneurs were always around to paddle a Canadian cyclist across. Idyllic islands, parks with extraordinary wildlife, and hard highland riding back to the capital.

On riding trips in Central Asia, I met a few cyclists who had done the ride through Iran. In spite of Iran's reputation in the western media, they were all blown away by the friendliness they had experienced. I flew into Shiraz in the SW, rode into the Dasht-e Kavir desert in Central Iran, looped west back to gorgeous Isfahan, and then south back to Shiraz through the Zagros Mountains. Incredible people, hospitality, history and riding.

Ladakh is the NE district of the Indian state of Jammu-Kashmir, nestled into the high Himalayas in a touchy neighbourhood complete with border disputes with China and Pakistan. I enjoyed an epic first ride from Jammu through Kashmir, Ladakh and Manali so much, I went back again, this time for 3 months, focusing on the remote, high altitude Buddhist valleys of Ladakh. Incredible place and people, complete with many of the world's highest mountain roads, riding multiple passes over 5,000m.

Flew into Kathmandu, took a bus to Pokhara, then rode NW into the fabled Kingdom of Upper Mustang, following the holy Kali Gandaki River, between the mighty Dhaulagiri and Annapurna mountain ranges. Reached Lo Manthang, one of the world's last enclaves of traditional Tibetan Buddhism.  Incredible mountains, rugged riding (lots of hauling the bike), high altitude, local hospitality and fantastic Buddhist architecture and culture. 

World cycle tour maps

Each of the World tour rides in this section included a route map.  This page pulls together all these maps into thumbnails so users can toggle about should they wish.

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