Mongolia is a far more accessible place for a mountain-biking expedition than I’d imagined. Navigation has been a mixture of old techniques and new technology. Our GPS unit didn’t help us to choose a route through the maze of tangled tyre tracks, but it did provide a bearing and an approximate distance to the next small provincial town — which would always provide supplies, electricity, a meal and a mobile phone connection. In terms of facilities, everything we’ve needed has rarely been more than a day or two away.
After Bulgan we headed for the back-country. Riding the main route, though relatively easy going, quickly became a monotonous undertaking. Away from this, our sheet-map of the country provided us with the name of the next settlement, and armed with this knowledge we proceeded through the silent vastness of the countryside, pedalling along the streak of bare earth that best corresponded to the gestures of passing motorcyclists and horsemen, out herding for the day, and our combined common sense and experience.
We found ourselves covering more distance than we’d expected — our plan was to average somewhere around 35km per day, but 55km has been more common. The conditions have been challenging, but not overpoweringly so. It really helps to have benchmarks like Sudan and Ethiopia when tackling unpaved routes like this!
We’ve spent several days off in Moron, a relatively large regional capital in north-central Mongolia, in order to rest and to let an unexpected cold/cough to work its way through my system before continuing. There’s plenty more to say, but just for a change I’ll let the pictures do the talking. It’s been a fantastic ride so far.
10 replies on “Off The Map In Central Mongolia — A Photo Essay”
Thanks for the comments — I think I’ll try another photo essay next time. (Once I’ve recovered and found a decent net connection!)
Finally some of the photos where loaded and what I saw and read caused to miss you even more. Have fun, enjoy and come back safe. xxx
Seriously, you’re making me really jealous : )
Thanks for sharing. Wonderful photos and inspirational!
Will you post a detailed route (maybe as recorded on your GPS)?
Cheers and enjoy,
I’m not sure… posting a detailed route might sully the spirit somewhat?
Wow, Tom, amazing pics! I’m loving the scenery and the feeling of being on the ride with you… congrats on the trip and do get in touch when you’re back in Yerevan 😉
For the first time in quite a few years this post has almost made me itch to get back on a bike again…
Only ‘almost’?!! Better try harder on the next post…
Wow. The photos are spectacular. As are the landscapes. It sounds like quite the adventure. Thanks for the update! I wish I could summon the courage to follow you.