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kjay
06-15-2007, 05:20 PM
Has anyone cycled or know of anyone who has cycled in Mongolia? I especially enjoy planning for and taking trips to out-of-the-way places, and this is my latest project.

trickytiger
06-26-2007, 01:11 PM
I haven't cycled there, but I did spend 7 weeks up in the far northern reaches one summer. I suspect that cycling might be more appealing then horseback riding (they BITE), but it would be a significant challenge to travel very far by bike, at least in the north! You would need a method for crossing rivers, as the dirt roads go straight through them, and there is little to no infrastructure most places. And I hope you like vodka, as anyone who meets you will probably offer some!

Grog
06-26-2007, 02:47 PM
Melanie Carrier and Olivier Higgins, two Quebeckers, did a trip from Ulan Baator to Kolkata in India. (Yes, that's 7951 km.)

They have made a movie out of it, which is available on DVD in English I'm pretty sure, and won many awards. Here is the info: http://www.asiemut.com/content/view/22/69/

kjay
06-26-2007, 05:05 PM
#2
trickytiger and grog, thank you so very much for your responses. The more I think about biking in Mongolia, the more I want to go. I've never mountain biked, but I'd be willing to do an easy trip of even 15 days or so. Naturally, I'd tack on a camel trek in the Gobi.

grog, the link you provided will keep me glued to the computer tonight. This is fascinating reading, and I look forward to reading every bit of it. Thanks so much!

trickytiger
06-26-2007, 06:34 PM
A few more helpful hints:

1.) Don't eat the marmots. This is harder to avoid than it might seem, but I can assure you that they do NOT taste like chicken. Plus, they carry bubonic plague.

2.) Yak yogurt is by far the tastiest meal you can have there- it's very similar to goat or sheep's milk products. The alcoholic horse milk (kumiss) is not too bad but not too great either.

3.) Bring a polaroid camera- many of the people we met were thrilled to have a photo of themselves and their children.

4.) Also- I found that small travel-sized containers of sunscreen and lotion were great presents for the women I met- the sun and wind can be very harsh, and they don't often have the time or means to buy those kinds of things. The kids liked crayons and bandanas. It may seem burdensome or odd to carry extra weight around, especially if you are biking- but these are some of the most hospitable and friendly people on the planet and would give you the shirt off their back if you needed it- so some small tokens of goodwill go a very long way.

Oh- and I have some photos, if you're interested. Once my own computer comes back from the repair shop, I could post some for you!

Zen
06-26-2007, 07:36 PM
Does alcoholic horse milk come from alcoholic horses?

Grog
06-27-2007, 09:23 AM
4.) Also- I found that small travel-sized containers of sunscreen and lotion were great presents for the women I met- the sun and wind can be very harsh, and they don't often have the time or means to buy those kinds of things. The kids liked crayons and bandanas. It may seem burdensome or odd to carry extra weight around, especially if you are biking- but these are some of the most hospitable and friendly people on the planet and would give you the shirt off their back if you needed it- so some small tokens of goodwill go a very long way.


(I haven't been myself but I have been fascinated with Mongolia for a long time...)

Actually you have to bring things that you can give because you'll end up giving gifts anyway, and you'd probably rather not let go of more important stuff. And you should be accepting gifts, too. Carrier and Higgins ended up giving away their GPS like that! The families you will encounter will make somptuous (for them) gifts to you, Mongolians seem to be a very welcoming bunch.....

And remember to walk clockwise (or is it counter-clockwise?!) in the yurts....

I'd probably recommend reading at least one or two ethnographies of Mongolia... There are a few good and recent books in French so I'm sure you'll find many in English. Don't stick to the guidebooks.

Lucky you. It's a wonderful trip.

sarahlou
06-27-2007, 10:43 AM
Yes! I cycled 400 kms in Mongolia 2 years ago. I raised money for MS Australia. It was absolutely the best trip I have ever done and I would go again in a heartbeat. I didn't want to leave. The cycling is great, the people are great. I went as part of a group (everyone had raised $ for a charity) the ride was led be a couple of Australians living in China called "Bike Asia"- they were great. I would do the ride with my husband- I'm not sure I would do it alone- safety reasons. That is the only time I've ever done a group ride and it was a really great experience. The riding was good to great. Up and down mts. through valleys and everywhere an abundance of space. Beautiful sunny days (with the occasional thunderstorm) and the Nadaam festival- the countries big event that I wouldn't miss. I went in June-July. It takes awhile to get to Mongolia so plan extra time for travel. And once you're there plan for lots of time getting around the country. My trip was 3 weeks and only one was spent cycling- the other two were getting to/from/around.

kjay
07-31-2007, 06:24 PM
Trickytiger, Iíd really enjoy seeing your photos. Iím not sure why I wasnít notified by email that there are new messages here that I havenít read. I thought for sure that when we post a message in any category that we are automatically informed when new messages are posted in that category. Anyway, thank you, zencentury, grog, and sarahlou for your interesting posts.

When I recently went camel riding in the Sinai desert with the Bedouins, I took a lot of candy for the children, little perfumes and liptstick for the women, and ended up giving much of my camping gear to the men. They were exceptionally friendly and hospitable people, and so I well understand the importance of giving gifts to these wonderful people, plus I have read that the Mongolians are nearly unsurpassed in their hospitality.

Those are great photos of you in Mongolia, sarahlou.

I am anxiously awaiting the 2008 Mongolia mountain biking tour schedule on the Wildcat web site:
http://www.wildcat-bike-tours.co.uk/mongolia-bike-tours.htm