... that is
assuming all goes well, and I resist the temptation to buy a
ticket to Thailand and lie on a beach for 8 months... click
links below for detailed maps and route.
through to the end of May, arriving in Istanbul 7 weeks
after leaving London. Likely cold, damp and rainy for
the first few weeks, warming up as I head through Hungary,
Yugoslavia and Bulgaria. "Warming-up" in more ways
than one - I'm hoping that by following the River Danube for
most of the Germany & Austria sections, I'll be fit enough
to tackle the traumatic mountains that are sure to start in
Turkey, building me up for the main show - Central Asia.
About 3000km, all on the bike.
** Turkey & Caucasus **
in Istanbul to see the sights and arrange visas.
Depending on time left may have to take a bus some of the
way to Erzurum in eastern Turkey. Then cycle across
the border to Iran. Meander across to Tabriz and press
on to the Caspian coast before heading to Tehran.
Assuming I've managed to get a transit visa for
Turkmenistan, I'll use a mixture of bus and bike to get to
the border. Otherwise, horror-of-horrors, I'll have to
skip it and somehow get a plane to Bukhara in Uzbekistan.
Some buses (the shame, the shame...), but still mostly on the
bike. Between 1750km to 2000km cycling, arriving at the
Turkmenistan border end of June.
** Change of plan! As my Iran visa
application was denied ("political reasons") I'll now be
cycling through Georgia and Azerbaijan, then boarding a ship
to Turkmenbashi in Turkmenistan. Hoping to see a few
mirages on the way to Ashgabat, the capital. **
Continuing to follow the route of the ancient Silk Road,
through Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan - with a possible detour
into Tajikstan, Kyrgyzstan and finally Kazakhstan. Rather
hoping I can avoid the very height of the summer by
completing Uzbekistan mid-July and hitting the coolness of
the Kyrgystan mountains. About 8 weeks, and 3300km of
"challenging" cycling, of which possibly up to 500km -
depending on the Turkmenistan visa - may be by bus or train.
Should arrive at the Chinese border towards the end of
mountains, ancient sights - it's all here. This place
is vast - it'll take me the best part of a month just to get
through Xinjiang (including the Gobi desert) and pass
through the Great Wall, onto China "proper". Then
almost another two months following the silk route to Xi'an
and turning off to head towards Shanghai. Oh, how I'll be
looking to Shanghai! Assuming I follow quite a direct
route, and don't get lost, around 5500km.
Korea. Ideally a boat to Pusan (Korea), and then hop onto
another boat to Kyushu, south Japan. A break at a
friend's house in the countryside (at last, someone I
know!), and then onto Tokyo. A mix of ferry and
cycling, depending on time left and remaining enthusiasm for
hard mountain climbs. Anything from 500km to 1500km
- but I'll be betting on the former...
... Game Over!