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

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September 16, 1996

near the Tibet border in a road worker compound

We have cycled almost 1000 miles through Qinghai, the Province just north of Tibet. Over the course of the last 2 weeks we have gone through endless deserts, monster headwinds, 16,000 foot passes, rain, snow storms, and sand storms. For the last couple days we have been on the northern edge of the Tibetan Plateau where the ground never goes below 14,500 feet. Most days start off with a brilliant clear blue sky and temperatures a little below freezing. Once the sun warms up our bodies and melts the ice in the water bottles it is usually pretty smooth riding. By later afternoon the clouds are starting to build and the wind kicks up. This can quickly become a blessing or a curse. We have had days we constantly beat our way into the wind hoping for a change of direction of either the road or the wind and we have had days of tail winds that sweep us right up to the top of a pass. Along the road are road worker compounds every 30-50 kilometers, these folks are responsible for one section of road, doing maintenance work, fixing potholes, etc. Last night we decided to spend the night in an extra room at a compound just before the top of a pass (16,000 feet). Soon after arriving they asked if we knew anything about satellite dishes because theirs had broken a week before. In not too long I found myself fixing a broken coax cable connection with my ever-handy multi-purpose SOG tool, restoring this group of 30 Tibetan road workers connection to the Global Village.


P.S. Got 2 inches of snow last night.

© Copyright 1997 Ray Kreisel