Thursday, February 16, 2006

Rare PG tapes found

Although nowadays known as Asmund, PG, as a young man, was called Sven.
He spent several years living in London, Swiss Cottage to be precise, and there he developed an affection for all things British. And yet he could never quite shake off his Norwegian roots - as these recently-rediscovered recordings testify:


  1. I am the blogger formerly known as Belle de Jour. If you have any ideas for a new screen-name - drop us a line. :-P

    Thanks for your comments. And, yeah I know about the reports of your death... (Tell them you've been resurrected!) Because, get this, you were in the paper!!!

    That's how I was led to your blog.

    As for cycling - I cycle. Just not through China. In fact, my dad has cycled from John 'O' Groats to Land's End, and still does cycle. Just not from John 'O' Groats to Land's End these days.

    One might say that we value our bikes as modes of transport...

    Have fun.


  2. According to the writer who used a rather rude joke,Asmund is in a mental hospital in Oslo. He is there to the benefit of the Norwegian society. But in his own twisted mind he probably thinks he is there as protection against MI.5,MI.6,Scott`s family and all the writers on "comments" in your blog. While he got more and more worried that you had lost your mind,had no altitude experience and didn`t know what real winter was,no one actually came to your rescue and said you were sain. So he obviously struck a cord. Maybe a bit less ranting in the future to eliminate all doubt? I read something long,embarassing and at times brilliant the other day. It was comment 39. And whoever wrote it probably felt it could not be done better by that person. If I wasn`t working overtime so much, I would have asked in a shop if tents made to be used at -30C has to be made of a special rip-proof nylon. For some reason I believe ordinary nylon would just breake on a windy night in -30C. And a sleeping bag made for -30C,how much does it weigh? You should know-I hope. When it`s -20C and no snow,do you just use your ice-axe and chop off a big chunk of ice,tie it to your bike,and melt it whenever you need water? Are you in Litang now? I hope for a wise decision. _Alex_

  3. Asmund was a bit odd. The guy was obviously concerned, and while his methods were lacking somewhat, his heart was in the right place.

    How the hell is the ride going???

    Keep us properly updated!

    (I see a pattern emerging)

  4. I too am a little concerned I did that calculation for wind chill altitude, the food (calories) bit comes into it as well. It's all to do with going and doing extreme things.

    The core temp and keeping records as your mind will play tricks (or you'll just forget as there's nobody to keep an eye on you) The core temp is also good for the desert, it's just a few degrees either way and you can end up in a right mess.

    I've done it no point listing all my silly mistakes you'd think I was full of it. By the law of averages I should not be writing this. Stuffing my wing into the med carries a 95%+ fatality rate. I still have an ear problem, bad neck, leg and hip. that was 4-5 months ago.

    So please head my comments...

    There are important things you need to bear in mind, asking truck drivers if the road is good or is there shelter may not be enough. Also some of these unsuspecting people (Guest house owners) might not be able to cope with you appearing from the cold.

    "As they are busy trying to survive themselves." I'm not a spoil sport but I agree there are conditions when tent lines will break like glass, I've seen good jackets and other kit fail under bad weather. PG is right you feel really warm just as you start the way down. It takes ages to get warm again and the world losses it's colour, don't ask what that means it was happening and I was very confused by it all. (lucky to be with people who shit themselves and helped me)

    It's interesting to put yourself into strange situations but you need to have calculated the risk and reward very carefully. So unless your lucky you will stack the odds against you sooner or later the house always wins!

    Sense and reason can leave very quickly, when your driving yourself hard. Being flexible and allowing changes is better than fixing a goal where a miss is a mile. I know you need to get close to the desert as leaving it later will mean it's a no go anyway. It will be too hot to go and the risk will be too high.

    Remember you can drown in less than 2 inches of water, a couple of degrees either way can be enough to see you to the next world. Not all people who smile or offer help are your friends. These things don't just apply in the wilderness it's a complex old world in which we live.

    The ranting and raving well that's stress, you're stuck in the sticks, ulu, welt, bush, burbs whatever it's call. It's hard to travel like that! The web is a release for stress, it's company and a sounding board. However we your viewing fans do concern ourselves and feel hopeless and helpless as it would take abit of time to mount a rescue mission.

    Also I may well have used some words that where incorrect to PG as a fellow human being. I'm sorry for that but he was suffering from stress, he was passing it to other bloggers, your friends who passed it around and around. 103 emails may seem alot but it's nice that there is that number to care about you. In the old days you go off the map your gone till you re-surface or get washed up on the beach.

    Keep yourself in one piece as I'm getting tempted to read this Hemmingway and I've ordered the Hopkirk or asked if they can get it ordered in grown up english.

    all the best from darkest surrey.

  5. We all mean well but it's hard when your having a converation in slow motion. The situation changes before the answers become apparent.

    No news is not bad news, but it's not good news either. It's uncertainty very un-nerving uncertainty.

    As we all feel abit helpless at this end I guess, while your plodding along. It might be an idea to log your proposed journey before you go, rather than turning into vapour and re-appearring by magic.

    PS found a place on the map.. Was very pleased today. however map was £25 and I was only in the book shop for the hopkirk thing, got to go big day tomorrow.

  6. We are stunned! As clearly none of us know how to paragraph,23:23 was not written by any of us. X.X.X.&X.

  7. I just had a small reserch on sleeping bags and tents. A sleeping bag made to cope with -30C only weights 2 kilos if it is made of down. It is really small and compact. However it will cost around 600 GBP here,and if wet will be "useless". Syntetic fiber sleeping bag can still be used if wet. It will be much cheaper,but is quite bulky. To cope with -30C it will be around 3.5 kilos. I sometimes buy an extra sleeping bag for cycling in the mountains,but still I will not be able to continnue sleeping at -10C. What kind of sleeping bag has Ed with him? A tent made for extreme cold weather should be used. It has special rip stop nylon and aluminium poles that cross. Price here around 500 GBP, weight: 3.5 kilos for a small one. If Ed`s tent is worn,the nylon could freeze and breake in the wind. Fiber poles could shatter. An ordinary tent is not made to take the weight of snow. It could collapse in the middle of the night. Ed has had a lot of trouble with his bike lately. In Chiang Mai he bought "cheap" Mavic rims never made to be used on a touring trip with a heavy load. They probably have "eyelets". I hate eyelets,doesn`t matter if they are doubble or not. No eyelets on my wheels anymore! He had problems with the "old" rear rim cracking around the eyelets before he came to C.M. I have had the same problem on "all" my rear wheels with eyelets. In extreme cold I know metal can easily breake. Anyone of you readers who have "expertice" on metal in extreme cold and can share with us here? Not only the rims but all metal parts on a bike. At -5C my fingers turn numb and useless. How does Ed intend to fix things on his bike when it is cold? Change innertube,patch a hole with frozen glue and so on and so forth. _Alex_

  8. I read a long time ago in Reader`s Digest(!) about a french couple who cycled around the world in 14 years. It mentioned a ride in China from Lhasa(Tibet)to Golmud(Qinghai)in the middle of winter. They bought a lot of fur clothing in Lhasa for the ride. One night they had -40C. If they were in their tent or by luck in a yurt/ger/hut I can`t remember. But the next day they cycled passed a lot of dead yak-oxes. The ride Ed is about to start goes a lot at the same altitude between 4.500 and 5.500 meters. At the same time of year. A few nights with -40C at night for the trip ahead of Ed is not impossible. But I bet he is as lousy prepared as I am cycling over high mountain passes. At night in -10C I can`t sleep properly. After a few nights with very little sleep,I am not making sound decisions anymore. Luckily for me I am down at lower altitudes within a few days. For Ed it will be much colder and go on and on week after week after week. Ed is a greate person. He would easily move right in on a Top 10 list of the nicest people I have ever met. Probably even the Top 5 list. But I would have to think about it for a while,I have met so many. (No 1? Oh,come on Ed! Youre no Saint!) I would be,as his family is,proud to have him as my brother or my son. The rides he does for charity are truly amazing. But the ride he is about to start is like cycling full speed blindfolded down the steepest hill in England,wearing nothing but his speedos on a cold and icy winter morning. If I was a family member I would do whatever I could to make him choose a safer route from Litang. Today I read "comment 39" one more time. It almost brought tears to my eyes..._Alex_

  9. 23.23 was writen by me nit bod a dislexick how are paragraphs supposed to look?

  10. and I have turrets "R's"

  11. Cool. I appreciate that you're dyslexic and all. Sorry if you found the comment in any way insensitive.

    And paragraphs? They're supposed to split the information into small chunks, linked to each other in some way.

    Like spaces between words and punctuation in general - it just makes writing easier to read and understand.

    Eg. Read the above without paragraphing:

    Cool. I appreciate that you're dyslexic and all. Sorry if you found the comment in any way insensitive. And paragraphs? They're supposed to split the information into small chunks, linked to each other in some way. Like spaces between words and punctuation in general - it just makes writing easier to read and understand.

    How do you know when to take a paragraph? *Shrugs* I dunno... writing does flow (or at least it should) but you can split it into like, little sub-points.

    I hope that was of help to you. I definitely hope I don't sound patronising, to add insult to injury...

  12. Just to note, my example of lack of paragraphing is a wee bit bad. 'Cause that wee bit probably could've been a single paragraph.

    To illustrate my point better I'll do my whole last comment un-paragraphed.

    Cool. I appreciate that you're dyslexic and all. Sorry if you found the comment in any way insensitive. And paragraphs? They're supposed to split the information into small chunks, linked to each other in some way. Like spaces between words and punctuation in general - it just makes writing easier to read and understand. How do you know when to take a paragraph? *Shrugs* I dunno... writing does flow (or at least it should) but you can split it into like, little sub-points. I hope that was of help to you. I definitely hope I don't sound patronising, to add insult to injury...

  13. I was reading that with great interest, I've always wondered what it all meant. While being a dislexic is a problem to some, I really am not bothered by it also english is my second language. So if I write things in a strange or disjointed manner then that's the way it goes.

    It's nothing to me they are all just words somedays they fit together better than others.

    PS I'm not from Norway (or is that the wrong sentence construction?)

  14. Being dislexic I think is very interesting, I can read the same sentence and make 10 new ones from one set of words. It makes a paper back as long a read as war in peace. I can see words that are not on the page when I read or write things. As my mind works faster than I can read or place words on paper. As far as I'm concerned that's just luck of the draw. Now it's considered cool to be different, "Oh but little Billy is so gifted in other ways!" It was not that way when I had my turn in the great educational mill of yester year.

    Punctuation, paragraphs, nouns, verbs and all those other things never even get a look in! Don't know what they are and don't think I will ever get it sad to say.

    Now however I was interested to read and see there are projector and electronic white boards in schools. I do really wonder how on earth that is going to help someone who has a problem with words, numbers or both. Educationalists are more interested in a pretty pictures for journo's than preparing people for the big world. England sorry the United Kingdom is hell bent on becoming the 51st state and reach educational standards that are as poor as in the US.

    Blimey that's almost a rant from me on the subject of unseen disabilities, educational standards and educational policies. Whatever next, I'm going to write to my MP about the state of the trains. I went to Swansea today, as far I understand it's the 21st Century, while standing on Reading platform 4 I was amazed to see atleast 5 different shades of fecal matter (some still steaming in the cold winter breeze) plus other sundry items of unmentionable detritus. What's wrong with this country could someone let me in on it and use simple words I won't get it otherwise.

    disaffected, disassociated, disillusioned and dislexic.

  15. Ugh... Faeces? Dog or human?

    And for a dyslexic, you certainly do well for English being your second language. You did say that you are not from Norway though - did you mean to say that you are from Norway?

    Or if you're not from Norway, where are you from?

    I had a boyfriend for a little while who was dyslexic, so I know some of the kinda things you find hard and that, but obviously I can't fully understand it.

    Anyway, thanks for paragraphing your last two comments and telling me a little more about yourself. I'm glad to have helped you in any way.

    And if I'm not helping, just, hit me, or something. :-P

  16. Oh,we are sorry for having caused a missunderstanding. We clearly don`t know how to paragraph and are envious of people who do know. For us the text comes out in one long square. Since we were normally the only ones worrying about Ed,we had to point out that there was anotherone worrying too. Or people would think there was even one more of us. We are sorry for causing,even more,troubble. That someone else took the blame was kind of sweet. It all arose from "comment 40" on the other page. Clearly pointing to one of us. Ed don`t try to overdo our ranting,we need to be calmed down by the intelligent end level-headed Ed. X.X1.X2.X.&X.

  17. Right answering two for one.
    Dogs don't buy train tickets not around these parts anyway.

    Actually I think that Ed being level headed is the key, think of it in another way.

    People keep telling you Don't do this don't do that. You can't, it can't be done etc. etc. Your stuck in a far away place with your only company being some distant voices (letters) at the other end of the web. I for one would take all this as extra fuel for the fire that drives me on.

    After a while you'd find it hard to make sensible decisions as your sounding post, yard stick, reference points are all one sided. While you are there on the ground making everyday decisions.

    By including other views other information and making the blog a more human like conversation it would be a pleasant place with happy cheerful, balanced individuals. Look at PG poor bloke dropped right off the deep end.

    I don't envy other people about they're ability whats the point. It won't change what I have to deal with on a daily basis. Envy and fear are not productive, nor is constant posts saying it can't be done. As I have to point out Ed seems to be doing it. The then futile attempts to stop Ed by saying "kit, tent, snow, danger, risk and things like that." Won't have the right effect! He can only make the judgement if he's right in his own way of thinking. So unless someone is going to ask him to do an inventory of kit, BMI (body mass index)core temp log food intake records and start keeping score for him. I guess he will just plod on regardless of our collective views and fears.

    That's enough for me I will now retire to Darkest Surrey for a bit as I think, I "loiq" have done rather well stringing all that together.

  18. Ed is looking for a cycling companion! categories.cfm?catid=32&STARTPAGE=1 He is bored with his own company! May I suggest developing multiple personalities? _Alex_

  19. only snag with multi personality disorders it's always some other persons job to do the cleaning up

  20. Ed obviously doesn`t want to change his route. He wrote to me last year he had found several reports about people cycling the Golmud - Ruoqiang(Qarkilik) route. I just checked one of the people I thought Ed ment,but he did it by bus! So who do you mean Ed? I am interested in the route for 2007,if I can do it unsupported. My information dates back about five years,and it says nothing(no village,no shop,no house) for about 600 km east from Ruoqiang. Ed`s "hero" who took the bus: route/index.htm Look for China then Route Table. Bought a Insight map from 2004/5 and it is mentioning 8 names along the way. Names of plases I do not belive exist. There is according to my map a shortcut of bad gravel road. I guess you won`t take it unless the placename Urt Moron becomes too temting. I know there are plenty of shops in Da Qaidam,but after that maybe nothing for about 670 km. I passed Iqe the crossroad at night,so I don`t know if there is anything there. Exept a dog that made me cycle fast. Are you having problems with giant Tibetan shepard dogs? For the mountains in eastern Sichuan I carry two 1.2 meter long 20 mm plastic tubes. When I swing them in front of me they make a whooooshing noice that,hopefully,keeps the dogs at a (short)distance. Then I start yelling(not in chinese)softly(not to anger the dog(s)even more)to get the attention from the nearby yurt/ger. Normally a child will appear and walk with me passed what looks like something that wants to eat me alive. If you have two-three of those after you,you no longer have to worry about rabies. They will eat you alive. Remember they were born into low oxygen air and can outrun you 9 out of 10 times. You can buy plastic tubing even in small villages. I carry my poles along the top tube,if they move forward they will interfear with the cables and you will crash..._Alex_

  21. pepper spray I think works a treat but check the direction of the wind first. Otherwise the dog will wet himself laughing and you'll have added enough seasoning for him to get more interested in a tasty meal.

  22. Have I changed my mind? Ed probably has no more mental problems than the rest of us. He has previously been to Everest Base Camp at 5.200 meters,so he knows the affect of high altitude on his body. He hopefully knows what real winter can be like. He has had more than 6 months to plan this ride,and knows more about the ride ahead than we do. Ed knows this can easily kill him,even if he is careful. And he also knows the pain he will give to his family and friends if/when this goes terrible wrong. On the 15.he was in Batang and probably won`t go to Litang at all. I would obviously want him to take a safer route,but my words obviously have no affect at all. When I started writing 4 weeks ago,I was in schock because I belived he had mental problems,could be suicidal,had no experience with high altitude and did not know what real winter was. It spelled d-i-s-a-s-t-e-r and a sudden death for Ed. Luckily he proved me and anyone else who was worried wrong. So I guess I should stop writing here and get myself a real life while I save enough money to continnue on my own cyclerides again. I have never been to a mental hospital(I expect rude comments on this one),and the story of me beeing snowed in in Kyrgystan was "artistic freedom" to point out possibilities. Beeing snowed in,still stupidly continnuing and affect of sleepdeprivation. I cycled across the mountains in Kyrgystan safely in October 2004. I am sorry that I upset someone in the beginning,I am normally numbingly boring. What I wrote can be reality. But now I "know" it is his free will,and not the "will" of someone who is mentally ill. Have we mentioned that we like "comment 39"? We still would like to know how we paragraph? "P.G.",Asmund(real), Asmund(fictisious),Linda and Alex signing off.

  23. I knew nurse Linda was about as real as Jordan's boobs and I was getting my doubts about this "Alex" too many maps for a normal bloke. Pipe waving sound nutty to me could only have bee dreamt up by a sick mind. Well nice to hear from you I did apologise earlier your entitled to your views.

    Yet another brilliant twist in this tail or 2 cities with loads of stuff in between, like mountains, snow, deserts etc and big dogs and all that sort of stuff.

    kind regards

    the real me not cheap taiwanese knock off.

    PS. keep it real! and post comments the world will be a dull place without you. Also cheer up! the world is watching you. You should have seen the email I sent your Ambassador in London "Brilliant"

  24. EM is right the pattern is bit's which are getting shorter then silence which I assume is due there being bigger bits of nothing between internet cafes.

    "Hello 2wheels matey!" take a break for a day don't worry I'll stamp your sanity ticket later.

    but a break would be good cos we're going to get past 40 comments sooner than you think...

    Then you'll be in the papers again! and will have a 150 emails to answer and when your in real trouble nobody will care as we'll have cried wolf too much. Asmund says he's not going to write anymore (or any less boom boom they certainly don't write jokes that anymore and good ridence I say)

  25. Yet more twists than a corkscrew in this story! I go away for 5 minutes to feed the coughing chickens and it's revealed that. "P.G.", Asmund (real), Assmund (fictisious), Nurse Linda and Alex. Are infact the same person fade to black role titles and it's a soap opera.
    I did have my doubts about Nurse Linda and as soon as Alex, started on about maps and fighting dogs with plastic pipes. He must have know his days must would be numbered as well.

    So who else is fake around here?

  26. A new and smaller printed version of the Hemmingway has found it's way into my possession. (hurrah!) The Hopkirk however is out of print for the time being, and should be back in during mid to late March. So the bright, inviting, seductive, glittering lights of Woking (the fashion capital of Surrey) have produced a small win. The helpful bookshop assisstant, was very keen to get me to order the Hopkirk alas I will be away with work so Hemmigway is in, Hopkirk is out, and into the box going to Kashgar it went with a thud. Along with some Snickers bars which are the size of railway sleepers. Is there any other items you may desire or require? I was thinking of some cable ties, a tube of savlon and the usual rubbish i threw in last time around in this box of things that will I hope be there for easter.

  27. I think I think, therefore I think I am.

    *Pinches self* Yeah, I'm very much real. Nothing fake here, folks.