dunhuang sanddunes
Sand dunes of Dunhuang, China (summer 2009)

Six years ago, I embarked on my first long overland journey, traveling from the little desert town of Dunhuang (China) to my new home town Berlin, crossing Russia and Eastern Europe on the way, much of it in the Transiberian railway. My first intercontinental trip and a marvelous adventure. Rather by chance, I realized that, during the first leg of the journey, I was following a stretch of the ancient silk roads eastwards.

An idea blossomed in my mind, an idea that filled me with inspiration and awe (and my parents with worries). Once my research in Berlin would draw to a close, I would take a different road to from East to West, starting again in Asia, but following the Silk roads westwards. And I would do so by bicycle. And solo.

So here I am. The journey is going to take me along the web of the ancient silk roads, from the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek to the Caspian Sea, cycling along the mind-blowing Pamir highway, through fabled Silk road cities, such as Samarkand, passing the dying Aral sea as well as the green pastures of Central Asian nomads who still live their traditional ways of life. My cycling expedition will lead me through Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan – and who knows, maybe this year’s winter is nice enough to allow me to continue my journey and explore Azerbaijan and Georgia as well.

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4 comments

    • annewestwards says:

      Thanks a lot, Larry! Yes, it has been an amazing ride so far :-). All the best for preparing your next bike trip – do you already have an idea where you will be headed?

      • larry says:

        Not even a clue where Ill go next winter on bicycle trip. I went through the Terai of Nepal last winter. I am in Nepal right now, I just came back from Trekking Everest. If I bring the bike next winter, I thought to go East from Kathmandu and head toward the Himalayas in India, or at least the foothills. I am following your blog in order to get more ideas as to a route. I have no real plan yet.
        I see you have not visited Nepal on your bike trip. There are the nicest people here! I really enjoyed traveling by bike through the flat part of Nepal (The Terai) English is widely spoken in even really remote places, and the people are a hoot!
        Thanks for adding me, I look foreward to following you for bike travel knowledge and possible routes.

        • annewestwards says:

          Great to hear that you enjoyed cycling the flat parts of Nepal. Maybe I will head there at some point. When I was in India and could have headed towards Nepal, the political situation in India became just too difficult for that (money devaluation in India and all the chaos that came with that).
          I can highly recommend the Indian Himalayas. But the high passes are closed Nov-May (some even longer), so winter is not feasible if you want to see the most spectacular landscapes. I was there in October – definitely a bit too late in the season, as I already faced snow storms in Ladakh. For routes: the three famous ones are Srinagar-Leh, Leh-Manali and the Spiti/Kinnaur loop. I cycled the latter two, but was forced to skip sections of Leh-Manali. Kashmir was out of question this autumn, unfourtunately, due to the escalating conflict there. You can check out Laura Stone’s book “Himalaya by Bike” which I can highly recommend.

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