In April 2010, Eleanor Moseman left Shanghai on a journey of more than 10,000 miles, across 3 countries, on one bicycle. This is where she updates from the road.
  1. How I got my Ortliebs to shut the F*#$ up!

    Some may think it’s just downright blasphemous to make an insult to the absolute must have, Ortlieb bags.

    BUT…how far did you get when those damn clips started falling out? How far did you get before you lost one? Have you looked how much they cost? Let alone the shipping for such little bastard plastic pieces.

    Well, with combined brain power of myself and Brandon…we devised a little method to get rid of the clips all together and to prevent the noise they make when bouncing down a broken shale “road” and sneaking past police checkpoints.

    Additional pieces were placed to prevent hot spots.

    I have Surly racks, Brandon had Nitto – this method worked on both. We have the identical classic rolltop bags.

    Nothing a little duct tape, a few zip ties, and some hosing from your local hardware stare. (In China: WuJin – 5Gold)

    So, take your clips out all together and find an alternative method.

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  2. I’m Sorry, I May Have Lied…to myself.

    Upon the turnback in Tibet and reaching my mileage goal (Which is a funny story. I thought I had told everyone it was 15,000 miles, so there was no celebration but more feelings of defeat) I was pretty set on resting the bike and getting a backpack for Xinjiang and the K’stans…because, well, winter is upon us.

    If you don’t know anything about Xinjiang, it has 2 seasons…summer and winter. It’s famous for it’s wind and sand storms, i.e. blowing a train car of the tracks and I heard a story of a British cyclist being killed in a wind storm taking the Southern Route of the Silk Road (NW Qinghai) in no mans land.

    Well, I have 2 weeks until I set off. In the meantime I’m getting a TB and Hep test…as I’m still physically not up to par. They recommend people that hangout with homeless people get tested. I WAS living on dirt floors with nomads. Also, TB kills a lot of people in Asia and Africa. I had a lot of Tibetans coughing near me, on me, snotty nosed kids sneezing and their mucous getting on me, or mixing my tsampa with their bare hands. (They also don’t use toilet paper)

    Also, I’m having new wheels built, my repaired Brooks saddle is on it’s way from England, and…I bought replacement handlebars. The Soma Sparrow 560mm.

    The idea of hitchhiking around Xinjiang is exciting because it’s different and the idea of walking around without worries of my bike getting stolen OR broken…is great. BUT, the idea of being in an automobile passing by nomads and locals…tears my heart apart. Also, I don’t have my get-away ride anymore and it’s a little more difficult to go meandering through open’ness or getting up mountains. The photos people love, and I love, are taken from when I was solo and invited in with people. Being in a car, bus…that’s not going to happen…or maybe it will?

    I’ll be monitoring the weather conditions every day and there is a storm coming in, maybe I just stay put. Whether on bike or foot. My Work Visa doesn’t expire until Jan 28th, so in all reality…I could spend winter in Xinjiang, head into Kyrgyzstan (Jan 27th) and be in Kazakhstan in early March (that’s close enough to Spring to not freeze, right?).

    I’m hoping someone out there, in cyber world, can offer some advice or wisdom…or an answer will come to me from the heavens.

    In the meantime, I hope you take a look at the photographs for sale…I really really need some winter gear. Or you could mail me your old stuff.

    Godspeed.

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  3. Close to the goal…in Tibet September 2011

    7000m peak in the background with Namucuo (Namu Lake) to the left in the photo…the highest lake in the world.

    self portrait

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  4. Bike Doctor

    The ride was taken in today for some maintenance and cleaning. She’s getting a new derailleur for sure. Jason had an epiphany that maybe a MTB component would hold up better for me. It’s not like I’m lying her down on the right side, but still, an awful lot of vibrations, dirt, dust, and just all around muck.

    My replacement tires finally arrived. TRUST ME, NEVER NEVER NEVER, SKIMP on a pair of good tires. After I met the “Potrait of the LBX” guys and claimed no flats in 5000km I kicked myself in the a$$ REALLY HARD! Our first day in Qinghai, I got 3 flats in 10 minutes – in the rain…in the city. NO MORE. I swear to …

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  5. Sometimes you just have to throw in the towel…

    Mountains to XiLinHaote

    Okay, so I’m trying to speed through the mountains with 4 non functioning cog wheels. I figure, “oh, we will just cut straight West and travel on these very small country roads (they are the thin red lines on a China Road Atlas).”

    Well…sh*t! We encountered a mountain that took us 2 hours to push our bikes up. We found out from the workers on the mountain, installing sand bags that the road is for tour buses only. That’s why we weren’t allowed to ride down the other side – yeah, talk about a bummer!!!! We got loaded into a tour bus and driven down the other side of the mountain.

    I’m still not sure where we were, or how we got there…but somewhere smack dab in the mountains between XiLinHaoTe and LinXin.

    Needless to say, that’s the 3rd and final time (maybe ;) )through that mountain range.

    We’ve hit the Inner Mongolian Plateau (which is my second time). Jason has asked, “how much more of this up and down?!?!” We had a head wind to boot one day and now he understands what I was facing in Hulun Buir. He tells me what hurts and what he hates…and I COMPLETELY 110% understand…I’ve been there…over and over again.

    I’m praying for overcast skies and a tailwind tomorrow to get us to the Mongolian border in 2 days. I wanted to be in Mongolia 2 weeks ago…and when I didn’t forsee that a month ago- I said August 1…well, I’m behind.

    It’s nice to have a partner right now…it keeps my sanity at points, especially when every thing seems to be breaking.

    I’ve added a Nikon Coolpix 6000 to my equipment, that has really captured some great moments that I miss when I can’t pull out the big guy.   I also sold a 50mm prime for a 300mm prime.

    Expect my next post from Ulanbatar in 8 days.

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