Another in the series, this time for Matt
It took a whole day, and lots of script-kiddie pseudo hacking, but l managed to recover most of the photos off my corrupted memory card — here are some in honor of Anjoronmo one of the people whose photos inspire me to trythis whole picture taking thing
pocket computer update
Been finding my way east through the himalya — carrying my bike a bit more than l would like. There has been plenty of snow and tough trails, but no internet — so l’ve a backlog of tales to share. l’m down in the flat-land tea-estate region now, about a days ride from Darjeeling (India). Have found internet and plan to spend the day tomorrow blogging up a storm. So stay tuned.
But in the mean time, Moy sent me photos from tso moriri, so revisit the tomando mate post if you like — its been updated.
The cable that holds my handlebar-bag to my bars broke…
l stripped the protective casing off, and spliced loops into the broken ends.
but the ends weren’t quite long enough — so again it broke.
(no pictures , because l always forget to take them)
l took the remnant brass bit to a machine shop to drill out the old cable.
but drilling steel out of brass was too difficult…
so instead they made a new one….
out of re-bar!
(and that’s why l love the ‘developing world’)
Matt gave me a camera
but l forgot to bring it
I’m trying to learn how to take pictures, so l used my pocket computer…
If you imagine it as a representation of the fabric of space time, the Kathmandu valley is a lot like a black hole. A more or less perfect ring of mountains, and a mysterious force inexorably pulling you toward the unimaginably dense (and crowded) core. Some how l’ve been in this general vicinity for 3 weeks! I don’t especially like it, the city that is — it has goods and services, a maze of unplanned alley ways and narrow streets, hundreds of temples, a tourist quarter packed full of shops all selling the same trinkets scarves and north fake outdoor gear — so it’s been entertaining and useful, I guess l just don’t like cities all that much.
In a (futile) attempt to break the unexplained attraction l undertook a mini tour around the kathmandu valley with two new friends, Wayne and Simon, both of whom are cyclists at home and intrigued with the idea of cycle touring. To accommodate their various time constraints we proposed to ride the ridge around the city. Despite being a bustling metropolis, the capital of Nepal gives way rather quickly to rural farmlands and national parks. The mountains which surround it are fairly wild — forested and relatively unpopulated. Our plan was to leave the city headed north west and ride the fire roads, and single-track trails across Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park (which lies to the north of the city) then turn south and continue the orbit, following the crest, till we made it all the way around. Continue reading…
There’s something about it. Mt Everest; that fascinates. Captures the imagination: The tallest mountain in the world… But so what? Why is it so compelling that, to date 250-some people have died trying to climb it, and over 40,000 people a year trek in the mountain’s shadow? What is it about “the tallest” that commands such interest? Not that I’m immune: after out abortive Annapurna circuit attempt, Matt and l agreed that there was but one thing to do with the rest of his time in Nepal.
So, head to Everest we did. Or at least the general vicinity. Thanks to our new friend Mads of Himalayan Trails, who has 15 years of exploratory mountain biking and adventure travel guiding experience, this time we were much better informed. We left most of our gear in Kathmandu (it turns out we should have left more — anything we left with our bikes while walking was thoroughly ransacked — fortunately nothing too irreplaceable or important was taken) as the solukumbu area is liberally populated with ‘tea houses. Combination lodge/restaurants which range from the decidedly rustic to 5 star. There is actually a 5 star hotel with a private airstrip and view of Everest, or so l’m told. After one last falafel we rode out of town. Strangely our trip toward the tallest mountain in the world started on smooth(ish) pavement which ran gently downhill! Along the Sunkoshi river.
Most of the roads on our route were under construction. Three or four different road projects, each with slightly different equipment and methodology. All engaged in transforming a muddy rutted jeep track into paved road. Mostly by hand — breaking rocks with sledge-hammers: turning boulders into gravel, and cobbles into building blocks for retaining walls; sweeping the road clear of pebbles with bundles of sticks; and boiling tar in 55-gallon drums over open fires. Forcing a single lane highway through improbably steep terrain. All this construction motivated at least in part, because this route is the supply-line to the everest region, and accordingly all the propane, keroscene, toilet paper beer and coffee, not to mention food, and building materials for lodges under construction pass this way. Continue reading…
many thanks to matt for all the lovely photos
pocket computer update
After a few days of rest and bike repair in the company of our new friend Mads of Himilayan Trails; we are off the bikes(!) and headed towards the tallest mountain in the world. Our steeds are waiting in the town of Ringmou, which was as close to basecamp as we could reasonably ride them. We’re the talk (laughing stock?) of the crowded trail; what with my bare feet, and Matt’s hobo-pole (rather than back pack). Proper update to follow, when I can find a real keyboard to compose on….
bike touring in Nepal
Leery of traveling alone among the highest mountains in the world, l had, once committed to going, invited my friend Matt to join me for some bike touring adventures. An Australian by birth and citizen-of the world by avocation, he is a coastal creature (passionate about surfing, and the water in general) but figured he could handle two months away from the ocean , especially if most of that was spent in Nepal, a condition to which l readily agreed. It’s hard to find someone with a similar travel style/willing to put up with mine. Matt and l have traveled together before, fat-biking the coast of Baja California, so despite being less enthusiastic than l about dragging his bike over mountains, he knew exactly what sort of absurdity we would be getting into. Continue reading…
Two thousand meters of elevation drop sounds like a dream come true for downhill mtn biking, but not when the trail is so steep and loose and exposed that you can barely walk down parts of it. The first thousand meters or so of drop was scree of mixed sizes, some of which l could ‘ski’ down with both wheels locked up, sliding on the edge of complete loss of control. l was rather excited when l slid my way to a halt at the gradient change l had been slowly approaching, but my misguided enthusiasm quickly gave way to something akin to despair: a lot of it would have been rideable for short sections, but bashing over miles of densely scattered loose rocks the size of your head was just too much effort to sustain. Not to mention that the relatively flat sections were interspersed with switchbacks barely a horse long and 6-inch-wide outward sloping traverses carved into mud and sand. Needless to say l walked, or rather pushed, or rather struggled to keep my bike from barreling off the “trail” and into the abyss. Continue reading…