Crossing Tibet by Bike: A 2000 mile / 3333 km journey

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September 10, 1996

Golmud, Qinghai, China

After 600 miles of riding we have reached Golmud, the gateway to Tibet. For the last couple days we have been riding through high desert, a landscape covered with sand, rock, and salt flats. For the two previous days we cycled on the edge of a basin dominated by strong easterly winds. Fortunately we were able to cover the 200 miles in two days because of a brief rest bit from the endless headwinds. We cranked out endless miles of flat stony land that looked to be the remains of nuclear testing, but we knew that the real testing goes on in Lopnor a bit north and west of this route. After a visit to the bus station and police station we quickly learned that official permission to cycle from Golmud to Lhasa will not be possible. It seems that our major obstacle will be a police checkpoint 18 miles south of town, that sits as a solitary beacon on the desert highway. In another couple days we will try to bypass the checkpoint under the cover of darkness to start the 700 mile ride to Lhasa.


© Copyright 1997 Ray Kreisel