A scare in the map shop

atlasmap.jpgThe scariest thing was the map shop. A bit different to idly flicking the pages of my favourite atlas. It took a full sweep of my head to follow my gaze through a squiggle of roads from southern China up to the top of the Taklamakan desert, and that was only China; all of South East Asia lay before that not to mention cycling across Australia, and all of Kazahkstan and various bits of Europe AFTER that. Holy cow! It's a long, long way. A fantastically long way, most of it beautifully unpredictable, and I'm very much looking forward to it.

For those who asked, I'm aiming for a kick off (or is that a pedal off?) in early June. I'm still working as a bushwalking guide taking happy campers down Tasmania's Overland Track. The last two weeks I've been off work: instead a scurry of research, list making, talking, drooling over bikes and generally figuring things out. A huge thank you to all those cyclists who put all manner of useful details up the web for other bike nuts to read: you'll find them in the links page; in particular Edward Genochio (see below) and Claude Marthaler for route details, gear guides and inspiration.

As a result, you'll also find that my route has changed. Having opted out of sleeping in ditches and passing through towns by night, avoiding bureaucracy to get from southern China into Lhasa and beyond, I'm now going to follow the Yangtze river up to its source in a high-altitude, winter crossing to northern China and the edge of the Taklamakan desert. A lot of this section will be rather exciting, over 4000m, deliciously remote, and no doubt quite chilly enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey. Guess who's packing thermals? Thanks for the details on that bit go to adventurer and writer extraordinaire Edward Genochio. (Read The Colonel's Trousers for a laugh), whose 2005-2006 route I'm following. Beyond? Through Kazahkstan (hello Borat!) to Russia and Europe.

Cheers for all the interest. The site has had 30,000 hits since I launched it, not to mention won a couple of design awards. I'm proud!


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