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'Osh and the Edge' Kyrgyzstan Feature PUBLISHED on Bikepacking.com

'Osh and the Edge' Kyrgyzstan Feature PUBLISHED on Bikepacking.com

Bikepacking.com has run a feature of mine, titled ‘Osh and the Edge’ on the attempt to pioneer a bikepacking route over the Alai Mountains in southern Kyrgyzstan. Covering the topics of adventure and adventure-travel writing, it’s a look at the sometimes beautiful and sometimes stupid and dangerous ways in which we’re driven to find our limits.

Give ‘Osh and the Edge’ a read here if you’re curious!

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Guest on the Outspoken Cyclist Podcast

Oh friends: you're in for a treat. The Outspoken Cyclist -- the preeminent cycling podcast in Northeast Ohio and MOST LIKELY THE WORLD -- has just featured me as a guest in this week's broadcast.

Tune in and hear my digressions on Australia, the Indians' historic winning streak, and of course bikepacking across Central Asia (top tip: plov varies widely in quality). The whole show is top notch, but if you're the impatient sort, the interview starts in the second half of the podcast.

Huge thanks to host Diane Jenks for giving me a chance to come on and talk a little bit about the trip!

 

Three Months

Three Months

Three months. Ninety days -- a quarter of the year.

Settled into it now, the routines. Find water, find a campsite, make camp, cook dinner over the petrol stove, sleep and wake, make coffee, break camp and pack up the bike again. Grinding climbs, sweat pouring into my eyes and my sunglasses and clothes all stained by salt. Then descents like visitations by angels, full of oxygen and endorphins, speed and ease like satori, a sudden bliss dawning in your heart.

I go for days where I do not speak to anyone. I could be a ghost yolked to this machine, cycling some bardo realm, a near-isomer to reality, bottling up digital messages along my way to send out on wifi or 3G to prove my existence. My arms and legs are suntanned to peeling and they itch. Fuck prudence, I'll scratch them anyway.

I no longer sightsee. Cities are supermarkets and services. Eating and running errands, and sleep. The places I find other travellers seem like islands I happen by in a vast ocean in which I am myself endlessly adrift and in-between. 

Mostly, I am outside. If I do not visit a store, and the weather and insects permit camping without a tent, often nothing intercedes between my body and the sky for a day or more. I often smell a bit and do not really care at all.

There are, of course, amazing people along the way. Hilarious and interesting and profound conversations. Omar and Lazarus, Ash and Natalie, Nelson and Rae. That serendipitous sort of meeting that may not only happen when travelling, but which occurs so much more often here. Introduce consistently high levels of unpredictability into the system and the outputs are often themselves a scattering of rare beasts.

In the meantime, we try to create art. Try to make meaning, not only for oneself but for others. Because this experience is worth entering into, even secondhand, and because there is something transformative not only in the places we go, but in the mode of consciousness that we enter into transiting them.

As to where all this is going, geographically, metaphysically, who knows? It all seems unscryable from this vantage. There's a lot more road to go.