Wednesday, January 19th, 2022

The stress of the past 24 hours has been immense. While the plane ride to Hong Kong and Chengdu were incident free, my arrival at Sim’s Guesthouse brought a bombshell: trouble in Tibet. For the past six months the journey I had been planning was accessible to cyclists. Today, it appears, it is not.
Apparently two [...]

Distance – 20kms
Max Alt – 3600m
Riding Time – 1 hour

Lhasa is spectacular, including the flight in where you weave through massive valleys. In the three or four hours I had been in Lhasa I managed to get the bike box on to a rickshaw (didn’t thrill the driver but I was coming [...]

Distance – 110kms
Max Altutide – 4300m
Riding Time – 4.5 hours
Wanted to have a solid hit out today before starting the trip proper and certainly achieved that. I chose Ganden Monastery for three reasons:

It looked spectacular, set high on the side of a mountain
It was about the right distance
It has a nasty climb and rose to [...]

Distance – 90kms
Max Alt – 3600m
Riding time – 4 hours

The first real day on the road. Being relatively
short, and on paved, flat roads, I set of at 11am
rather than the preferred early start. Before leaving I visited the Jokhang Temple in the Barkhor, and was confronted with absolute pandemonium with pilgrims everywhere. [...]

Distance – 85kms
Max Altitude – 4810m
Riding time – 6 hours

Zero sleep last night – who said camping was peaceful. The barking of dogs was incessant and a few times I could hear their breathing right outside my tent. I tried not to breathe, but they knew I was there.
Woke up this morning to two nice [...]

Distance – 110kms
Max Altitude – 5040m
Riding time – 6 hrs 15 minutes
I have never come so close to crying on a bike.
But more on that later.
If the dogs the night before had robbed me of sleep, the management, guests and tradesman at the `Clean Hotel’ (it’s actual name) more than matched them. They shouted, sang, [...]

Distance – 100kms
Max Altitude – 4000m
Riding time – 4 hours
One of the most enjoyable days I have ever had on a bike. In stark contrast to yesterday, the road was paved, the terrain flat and the wind barely noticeable. The first 40kms in particular were a dream: people sifting barley in the fields, horses and [...]

Rest Day

After 5 days and 500kms today was scheduled for a rest day. Shigatse is also the last civilisation between here and Kathmandu so I was keen to stock up on food, get laundry up to date and enjoy conversation with other English speakers. In the morning I came across an intense pool game on [...]

Distance – 140kms
Riding time – 7 hours 40 minutes
Max Altitude – 4550m
An epic from start to finish – one of the most satisfying days I have had on the bike. Left Shigatse at 9am and began the slow pedal uphill and upwind. The scenery was extremely barren, and remained so for the whole day, with [...]

Distance – 100kms
Max Altitude – 5300m
Riding Time – 6 hours

And I thought yesterday was tough. Six hours of riding, nearly 1500m of vertical and a trip high peak altitude of 5300m. I left at 8.30am hoping to get breakfast in Lhatse, but nothing was open. Shortly after Lhatse I went through my first serious checkpoint, [...]