Saturday, March 25, 2006

Blip

Houston, we have a problem.
 
I was paying for this merry little China-England bike ride by submitting monthly scribblings to Asia and Away, East Asia's premier English-language travel magazine.
 
Sadly, from next month Asia and Away will cease publishing.
 
Which leaves me in a bit of a pickle.
 
So I have a question for you:
 
Do any of you happen to know any newspaper or magazine editors who spend their days pacing up and down the office muttering "Now what we really need is to find someone riding a bike from China to England who can submit monthly feature articles and photography from the places he passes through en route "?
 
If by any chance you do, could you perhaps pass on my name?
 
Thank you very much.
 
Failing that, any other suggestions as to how I might make riding a bicycle economically viable?
 
Winning the Tour de France would be good, yes, but I'm in the wrong country just now and I've got the wrong sort of bike. Other than, that, sorted.
 
---
I don't know how long the Asia and Away website will remain online, but for now it is still there, so hurry hurry hurry while you can and read:

After a decent interval has passed, I hope to make PDF versions of these articles available for download. These will be in the original published format, and so display the photography much more effectively than the on-line versions do.

 

21 comments:

  1. As you can see, Edward has not so much as sat on his saddle today.

    But don't worry, he'll be leaving tomorrow...

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  2. Ach, lies and slander!

    I did sit on my saddle today.

    In the comfort of my hotel room.

    But there were problems with the fuel lines, so I postponed launch till tomorrow.

    Nasa would do the same.

    [I wonder if Asmund emails Nasa every day as well? That would be a rich opportunity for him. Going into outer space in summer? Tschhh....]

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  3. Oh sorry - stop that press!

    He sat on his saddle, in his hotel room, he informs me...

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  4. Have you checked the re-entry tiles?

    What a to do, the only magazines I look at are triathlon 220 (very good if your into hurting your self in 3 hour time slots)

    Broadcast (exceptional boring unless your in it from time to time)

    Audio Visual (see broadcast magazine)

    Shotgun Times (very interesting if your into shotguns, wellies and chelsea tractors)

    Why are asian whatever packing it in? is it because you submit articles or other circumstances?

    You need an other sponsor or outfit willing to fully dosh you up every month? What skills have you got and I'll put it into job finder.com

    Or you need to buy a penny whistle and dance for food! See hokey cokey on your blog and do it with some enthusiasm helps draw a crowd I guess.

    I'll ask the bloke who we know at m2events.co.uk they arrange fitness things he might know someone will mail you the details... all the best from darkest surrey

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  5. Ed!

    There is a small request on comments under the picture of the beautiful pink and red gloves.

    Asmund.

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  6. triathlonreferee26 March, 2006 12:09

    You and A&A were such a good match. Hang in there a week longer and see if they can't work something out...

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  7. Ed!

    Part 1. The past.

    Eh,I am supposed to write something?

    Since you take every newcomer to this blog to what I wrote in February,then maybe I should start with why.
    I added all the past and present information I had about you and came to the conclution that you were mad and had no clue to what you were about to start on. Therefore I thought you only had a few days "left".
    Luckily I was terrible wrong.

    So I like to one more time say I am deeply sorry to whoever I did upset.
    I am very glad you found comfort where there was no comfort to be found.
    What Ed had done of cycling untill Zhongdian.

    We did not cycle far together Ed. Maybe just 200 km. But from before Omsk in Siberia to Erlian in China we cycled the same route. With the exeption of your sidetrip to Tuva. That is more than 4.000 km. In China,Vietnam,Laos and Thailand I have done maybe 2.000 km the exact same road as you. But from Huaixai at the Mekong to one day past Dali we cycled exactly the same road. Four years apart. So a total of about 7.500 km the same road as you. None of it espessially dangerous.
    The 25.000 km or so of the rest of your ride I have experience enough to say,when it comes to danger,it all pales compared to what you are doing over next 4-5 weeks.

    The Gobi desert? Funny you should ask. I did it in the summer of 98 and 02. Hot and dangerous. In 04 you did it in autumn a few weeks after me. You knew what you were doing and it wasn`t hot. Not dangerous.

    In February,when you had proven you were intelligent and level headed,I tried to get you to choose my favorit route in springtime. Over the mountains far east of you. All under 4.000 meter and a lot safer in wintertime compared to what you are doing now. At that time I was working hard both at doing long hours at work and at night trying to persuade you and whoever else who could try to persuade you.
    "Comment 39" written by "Linda" will forever rank as some of the best I have written in English.
    It is long and very embarrasing and most of it is irrelevant today. But it has something about natural limitations and some other things still valid now. I have no clue to where it all came from. I wrote as if I was posessed.

    But that was then when "all five" of me tried to get you to choose the right road.

    This is now.

    Part two comes later.

    Asmund.

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  8. Ed!

    Part 2. The near future.

    So Ed,are you reading this in a wangba in Serxu?

    You got 91 km to possible the most important crossroad in your life at Xiwu.
    Will you turn right or left?
    That is the question.
    According to your plan you will turn left to go to the town of Yushu 48 km away.
    Then I guess you go 194 km to Qumarleb/Serpo Lungpa. But then what?
    I have the quote:

    "A trail leads into the remote interior of the Yangtze source region to link up with the Lhasa - Kermu(Golmud)road near Toma." (Where is T.?)
    "NB This route is not passable in summer when the river levels are high and at other times only in a four-wheel drive jeep with a high-axled support truck."

    From Qumarleb to road no 109 way south of Golmud,it is maybe 400 km on a bridgeless track.
    For me it clearly looks like the"ultimat and final shortcut in life". To you it probably looks like something you can manage.

    With 5 to 10 cm new snow on a track that goes over a open area,do you really think you can see it and follow it? No tyre tracks and the next car or truck may be days away.
    Well lets just say you find your way to a river crossing. The water so fast flowing it doesn`t freeze. If you cramp up wading across the river you will drop to your knees. Maybe you can make it to one side of the river. But you are wet and in a few hours the sun will go down and it will be bitterly cold. Main problem: all your belongings are still in the middle of the river. How many bridgeless rivers do you have to cross before 109?

    Now this Tibet Handbook from Footprint I photocopied in the library was published in 99. The most important map page missing. So since then the Chinese might have built a new road somewhere up there. If you know about any new road then you should tell us so we don`t have to worry more than nesesary. I know it will slightly dent your macho image but still Ed,tell us!

    You can`t use the "Guatemalan Test" in Qumarleb. According to the book the area is plagued by 70-80.000 goldminers every year in summertime. So the locals are probably fed up with lawlessnes and strangers even when it comes to the most exotic of them all-you. Summer at 4.500 to 5.500 meters does not come until middle of June. So there won`t be many goldminers around now. At those altitudes bad days can bring snowstorms in the middle of "summer". You are going across in April. Fair enough in summertime you can`t get across the rivers at all. But why do you want to go this track anyway?

    Why don`t you turn right at Xiwu instead? It is hard for me to suggest a route that is very dangerous this time of year,but it is still at least ten times safer than the Qumarleb route. It takes you across Bayan Har Shankou pass at about 5.100 meters.
    Until Huashixia,about 300 km from Xiwu,you most likely have sealed asphalt road. On this road you should have maybe between 20 and 30 cars a day passing you.
    Close to every car will stop if you are in trouble and ask the driver for help. Most of the help will hopefully be unconditional. They all know that within one hour of someone getting problems in severe cold in a blizzard at 5.000 meters,it could "all" be over.
    In heavy snowfall there won`t be any passing cars.

    ( A short note on the desert part later on. If you get into troubble there you probably get offers of help. Most of them with a pricetag. In the desert your heart would probably still be beating after 10 hours without help,so some car drivers would try to gain money on the situation knowing they would probably not endanger your life. But instead pass the problem on to the next car if you don`t want to pay.)

    Remember up in the mountains you can stop,leave your bike or put it on a truck and go somewhere warm and continnue another day. But when you go back to continnue you have to make sure you cross your previous track. Or else the thought of a hole in your Line will start to bother you.

    At Huashixia/Tsogyenrawa there is a gravel road to Gawa Obo and then,according to the book,another gravel road over the mountains to the safety of 109. That gravel road from Huashixia is probably little used and very dangerous if the weather turns bad. If you want to play it "safe",you can go on the sealed road north to Daotanghe then take the 109 from there to Golmud.
    Or even better 109+315+215 to Donhuang.

    If you go north-west from Yushu,then you should send a e-mail to your family saying exactly when they should report you missing. And if the police can`t find you on or near the track,should anyone start a search team to look for you?
    Or do you rather want to stay where you eh,are?
    Even if you are doing fine at altitudes of 5.000 meters,don`t mean any of your family or friends can cope at that altitude.(My limit is 4.000). And it would be too bad if you pulled anyone "down" with you.

    Bring several lighters of different types and of good quality with you to the high mountains. And plenty of fuel for your stowe. It would be a bit embarassing if those who found you came to the conclution you lost it all due to a faulty liang kuai lighter...

    See! A long toothless warning using no upsetting s. d. or k. words.
    And nothing worth quoting.
    I did tell you I am numbingly boring!

    And just in case you wonder,Ed does not believe in any kind of sensorship so he has not asked me to use less colorful words. In fact he seems to have greate fun with what I wrote. Constantly leaving "shortcut gates" to my text.
    Well I don`t mind Ed. You can do what you want.

    Good luck with your ride to Xiwu!

    Check your brakes before you are going down the big hill.(According to the book.) I once looked at my brakewires for the first time at the top of a very steep winding and long hill. 2-3 threads left on the rear. One big squeez and it snapped. With my usual soft front brake I would not have made it. We would never have met and no one would bother you with silly questions.

    Enjoy!

    Asmund.

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  9. Got as far as gold miners and started to glaze over, was starting to loose the will to live for a bit. Can we get other nutter back to have another pop a the yanks? He was mental as well, but aleast funny with it.

    Asmund is boring now! and there was no CAPITALS, freeze, death, dogs, plastic pipes with bolts or firecrackers!

    Even Elvis is more exciting! I thought he was dead as a door nail, but he's there on your blog!

    To make this a current soap opera work Asmund needs to bring fake Asmund, Peter?, Nurse Linda back to the party that was much better when they had an opinion on what was going to happen next.

    PS will also contact this bloke I know at digital photography as some of your pictures are rather nice. They might need a quick article bashed out on taking pictures of hanging yaks or som-at like that!

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  10. There hasn't been a post in at least two days, which can only mean one thing... !

    [Sob, sob] I'll miss him...

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  11. Carl!

    Last night I sendt Elvis over to your place to get some deep fried Snickers bars. Did he get there?

    I would like to invite Ed whenever you get to Serxu to come and visit me,on my private page under the picture of the amazing new gloves. Serxu is that in Grees or Turkey?

    Elvis,you can come too. But sorry,I still don`t have any deep fried food or pills.
    By the way Elvis. When I said greasy food and pills will kill you,I wasn`t joking...

    pinkglovesforever!

    Asmund.

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  12. Cool addressed to me and Elvis, brilliant!

    But is this real or fake Asmund?

    Right I have been to shops and bought some mega sized Snickers bars these things look like railway sleepers! not sure if they'll fit in the frying pan...

    Come on down drive into darlest surrey and ask for me they'll all know where to find my house.

    If Elvis gets here first you won't be able to miss the house as Elvis's 30 foot white and gold Cadillac should be parked down most of my street.

    It's that a clue under the picture? hang on I'll be back.

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  13. There was a post under the picture but I think... this is a fake message from Asmund (fake Asmund) as he should now be addressed.

    As there was no mention of the GT test at all.

    Got to got postman/ delivery bloke at door bye.....

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  14. Ed!

    How are all the dogs treating you?
    I bet they all run happily alongside your bike,sensing there is something special about you.

    I guess I am a bit naive to think I could get other people to try to make you take the right choice at the Xiwu crossroad.
    How many people do you listen to in your life now?
    Less than ten I guess.
    Four of them I know about.
    Two of them hates me and would probably advice you to do the opposit of what I suggest.
    The third doesn`t know the difference in danger levels between a sealed road in the lowlands and a bridgeless track at 5.000 meters.
    And the last person is a bit old and probably don`t use the internet at all.
    If the rest of them knows about me and my doomsday theories,I don`t know. So what kind of advice they would give you is anyones guess.

    There is a sertain office in Beijing.
    They probably want this thing to be over and done with so they can sort out all the extra paperwork and extra working hours you will cause them before the summer season starts. In the summerseason ordinary British tourist will create problems all over China. So then they have more than enough of problems to solve.

    On your Top 100 list of people you don`t listen to I would be close to the last. I noticed that when you did not reply on all my warnings to you in e-mails in January. Adding to the feeling you were not "all right".
    Since you will ignore any advice sendt to you in e-mails from people outside your Top 8 list,the only way I can continnue to get your attention is through your blog. You do not believe in sensorship,but you do want to know what is written in comments on your own blog.

    So I guess I have failed. Maybe I should try to join the other side and be supportive of you?
    People do believe they can win the first price in Lotto,and I don`t try to tell them they can`t. And your chanse of surviving 400 km on a bridgeless track in and around 5.000 meters in altitude in wintertime has just about the same odds.

    Let me wave a British flag,and be supportiv.
    " Go Ed! Go wrong! Sorry,I mean go left at Xiwu!
    If anyone on this earth can do it,it surely must be you!
    You are everybodys hero!
    May the spirit of the mountain king Marco Patani be with you!
    The bridgeless track will end your life,but I`ll support you anyway!"

    NO!
    I can`t do this! I rather be alone on the right side of the fence.
    You can cheer him on. If you have the stomack for it.

    OK,I know we all have the right to make our own misstakes. And we all do a lot of misstakes that we(have to)live to regret. But this misstake is so big you won`t live to regret it. OK,other people will read about it and learn from your misstake. They would understand what you don`t get.
    That within each and every living beeing on this planet there are natural limitations that can`t be crossed. Alive.
    But I think it is a too high price to sacrifice you just to teach them this. Especially considdering they by the next day have forgotten all about it. And you.

    I woke up this morning thinking about what I should write to you and this song came into my head. I think the group was from the 80`s so you probably don`t know it. I think it was called "Manic Street Preachers". Not a group I carede about. I don`t know the text of this song exept for one line:
    "If you tolerate this,then your children will be next,will be next,will be next,will be next".
    Why it came to my head and why I write about it here,I do not know. What should not be tolerated? Me nagging you? Or you ending your life in a pointless way?

    Go right Ed!
    Please go right in Xiwu!
    It will still be dangerous,but far safer than a bridgeless track!

    If you do go right you have to tell family or friends. Because I don`t think there will be a wangba untill Golmud. Or Ganghe "near" Qinghai Hu if you go that way.

    Have fun & be careful!

    Asmund.


    (Sorry Carl,this was not written to amuse you.)

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  15. The problem is that very little of what you write amuses me, it makes me concerned and at times somewhat angry. What is the benifit? if your right what is there to gain? Are you hoping to say "well I told you so?" Won't it be a bit late for that?

    People find strength from humour a good phrase can be "It's good here in't it?" as it can have several meanings all subtle and different.

    Now we all have to wait while a person you call friend cycles for a few days till he's able to get back in contact. I do think that all this must put some real strain on the people who are close to Ed.

    During this break I'm sure his nearest and dearest will be concerned. Your continued daily guff will only make people more concerned. So if you need an audience try talking to yourself in the mirror for a few days it might help.

    Lets get to things that amuse me.
    I'm rather amused by Elvis at the moment he does not say very much but, "uhuh!" is utter brilliance and thank you very much!" Pure genuis! Where ever you are Elvis is watching! Erm... grassy knowl aka "nutter!" apologise to Grassy he gets stuck in said his piece cleared the air and then went quietly away. We all have aspects of Elvis, grassy, Peter Mandlestein little bit off the wall bit funny. However you mate hang around like a bad smell, and your story is always the same. I saw some footage of "el presidente" in charge of Venezuela 5 hour rants about the USofA! meets all the other fruit hoops from aroud the world talks about doomsday machines and poisoned darts then shouts the odds same story everyday. Have you noticed a similarity there?

    So I'm guessing tomorrow there be a 10,000 word posting with more of the same old and boring news of death, freeze, map info I don't know what to do with, big dogs, the GT test, firecrackers, my willy fell of due the cold, Alas Smith and Jones repeats and plastic pipes with bolts in the end.

    Please change the record old chum!Or is it more of the same for the next 10 days? I'll let you into a secret I'm am away in Wales making a doco so will be able to enjoy the rain and silence I guess.

    further news Elvis likes deep fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches see www.elvis.com the king lives! YEAH! HUH! GO USA! that's subtle, nice, long live the freedom of expression.

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  16. Asmund, out of interest - what would you do if a woman appeared at your door wearing nothing but a smile and pink gloves?

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  17. Eh,I think that kind of question belongs to "the other page"...

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  18. To all...

    A quick word to anyone who may be worried about Ed now.
    There is no reason to be so.
    According to himself he is taking the main roads. First the 317 to Maniganggo(110 km). It is going across atleast one pass. He will be going a bit slow because he probably didn`t train in Dege.
    On the other hand he will be feeling strong and fresh because his body got "refueled" and well rested in Dege.
    I am very glad you managed to get him to stop and rest. I hope you did not promise him too much in return. Because hopefully a even bigger request should wait for him in Serxu.
    From you.

    From Minganggo he is taking a smaller road via Zogqen to Serxu(217 km from Maniganggo). This road may or may not be sealed. But anyway it got traffic so if in trouble there will sooner or later be a passing car with people to help him and give him a ride. He may have to leave behind his bike and most of his stuff but somehow they can allways squees him in if in trouble. In Serxu they may have a wangba that may be working or not.

    All my writing lately has been to try to make him go right at the crossroad at Xiwu(91 km from Serxu)on road 214. That way he will not end his life on the bridgeless killer track north-west of Yushu(48 km from Xiwu). If there is no wangba in Serxu the next one will be in Yushu. My main goal will then be to get him to turn around and to go north-east on 214 passing Xiwu again.

    I have watched Ed cycling. He cycles carefully wearing his helmet. No road is 100% safe. Ed noticed that in a roundabout on his way to work. That goes for the road he is on now too. And that goes for the road if he turns right at Xiwu.

    But come on! Do you really think he can survive the alternativ?
    A 400(?)km long bridgeless track at 5.000 meters altitude in wintertime? In April at 5.000 meters it can still get to -25C at night. With just about no cars using it. And no help to be found. And hardly any villages along the track.
    Do you?

    Now who am I again?
    I have cycled more than 130.000 km abroad. Some of it in China. I have twice crossed China from South to North crossing the high mountains both times. But this is east of where Ed is now. In springtime on roads that don`t go over 4.000 meters.
    I have also nearly crossed China East to West nearly one time and nearly two times. The Qinghai provinse Ed is coming to in a few days,I have crossed once using 215+315+109+214(20 km)+ mountain roads. All under 4.000 meters and in springtime. + A lot of other roads in China.

    Off course there are many who have cycled much more than me in the world,and even a few who have cycled more than me in China. But non of them are on this blog so I remain until Ed is "safe".
    I can`t abandon him now. As soon as he is "safe" on 109 east of Golmud,I will leave this blog. Unless he likes to have another cyclist around...

    Why I "waste" so much time on him? Well I guess there is something about him that I really like(now I mean that in a straight sort of way!) You know him so you must know what it is. I do not admit to anything,but I think Nurse Linda wrote it in "Comment 39". Anyway I would really,really,really(and so on)hate to see him "go" at such an early age.
    And for some odd reason I think he has the ability to do good things for mankind.

    Now what a waste of opportunity if he should go and waste his life and future,with all it may hold,on a bridgeless track!

    Asmund.

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  19. Asmund, can you tell me where and when you're gonna hold Ed's funeral so that I can add him to the guest list and buy a nice dress to wear?

    Try not to make it too inconvenient though. You know how he has his principles against flying, and you may well ask, "but isn't there a bus"... or perhaps even a train. But you know what he's like...

    ... dead stubborn that man.

    And I wouldn't worry, maaan. Gaping chasms are no obstacle to Ed. He'll just fashion a half-pipe into the cliff edge, and go right up to the top of the hill...

    Relaaaax maan. You worry too much.

    On a more serious note, he does have to be cautious. What he's doing ain't exactly run-of-the-mill - but you don't have to go telling him about how he's going to die everytime he's away for a day or two.

    You're such a party pooper...

    Here, have a toke on this.

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  20. well that's nice, I wanted to ask Asmund if he'd ever heard to the story "The boy who cried wolf!"

    bloody good story! not enough pictures in my opinion, and there's so many different levels to it.

    Now N.S.N.P has made a fine job of bebunking Assmund also.

    I was particularly impressed with the dress bit a fine job!

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  21. Oh,come on!
    No need for the two of you to be so gloomy!
    If Ed is careful and turns right in Xiwu he will probably manage to be the first cyclist to cross the Tibetan Platau in wintertime.
    It is only if he turns left at Xiwu to cycle to Yushu then conntinues north-west untill he gets to the bridgeless track that I predict he will,some time thereafter,die.
    So his choice should be simple enough.
    Turn right and probably sucseed.
    Turn left and probably die trying. Wonder what he will choose?

    I asked Ed in Dege if he planned to go on a bridgeless track through an area with no roads,I also asked him to tell us if he knew if they had made it into a road with bridges.
    In China they have several road maps for Qinghai province. Maps he could get in Shanghai when he was planning this ride.
    In Dege he had time enough to get in contact with lorry drivers who would know the road,if there is one. So it is possible Ed knows about a road he did not tell us about. But it is a bit odd if warm hearted and kind Ed had developed some kind of sick perverted pleasure in having me worryingly writing here on his blog while he all the time could have shut me up with telling us there really is a new road. And don`t you worry about his family and friends if any of them read my bridgeless track doomsdays warnings. If there really is a new road he would off course have told them about it. Unless he has developed a capability of lying.

    Now. If he wants to secure the victory,he will go right in Xiwu. If he thinks he is "Superman" then he wants to make the ride much more dangerous and turn left.
    But anyway it is his free will that will choose for him,and a far cry from what I thought the situation was in beginning of February. When I thought his mind was ill and in need of immidiate help.

    For me these two last months have been "stranger than fiction".
    I sure hope April becomes a better month and not endlessly worse...

    By the way. I am just about to find the answer to the big question:
    Why did Ed plan the whole trip as if this is the last bike ride he will ever be on?
    No matter if he survives this one or not...

    Asmund.

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