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FRANZ KARL CYCLINGTOURS
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here are most of franz karls emails listed, which give a short impression of what he expriences on his tour.

reports 1-12 of 12   page 1 of 1
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12.   the dream of crossing TIBET [ PRINT ]  [ READ ]
date: 2005-12-15 13:38:07.0 (GMT+1) from: zhongdian (CHINA) km: 0
Dear Friends, Om mani padme hum,

since 220 days i am on the road always towards the east. this report will be from my section from Kasghar in the Xinjiang Uygur provinz in the far west of China trough all of Tibet. crossing into China from the karakorum Hwy in Pakistan is not possible by bike before Taxkorgan 130km after the Pak-Chin border. because there is heavy roadmaintaince the strech towards Kashi was full of washboard road and corrugations. there i pased the very impressfull Karakullake at the Muztagatamassiv 7546m. so on the 7th of sept. the undertaking of crossing Tibet really starts.
it was an 275km ride on paved roads to Yecheng from were the very long isolatet 219 route begins. the pavement ends after about 100km and immediatly big climing starts. already after 165km i had my first really high 4825m chiragsaldi-pass bevore heading down into Mazar a typically chineese wooden hut place. from here on there is a turnoff what brings you on very bad roads to K2 viewpoint. the second tallest mountain 8611m. from Mazar the real washboard ugly road starts. just up on the climbe to the first 5000m pass the road gets surprisingly better. but since i left Kasghar my body was out of power. diarrhoea, weakness and strong coughing were not the best assumptions to climbe this enormous pass. in between pushing up the whole time i had to lie down on the road. this really was the time i wanted to take the next passing vehikle. but no one of the rare vehikles who passed stoped for me. i was so glad that this slave driving findes an end after 5 houres of pushing up to the pass.
in Xaidulla on 3570m i meet my friends Peter&Cameron. as well as other cyclists coming from Centralasia.  ...
[go on reading...]
11.   a dream turns into reality... [ PRINT ]  [ READ ]
date: 2005-10-29 17:47:03.0 (GMT+1) from: lhasa (CHINA) km: 11500
this is my second attempt to send news from lhasa as at the first time there was a total collapse of electricity in town. what a great feeling as i saw on 23th of october 2005 the potala palace for the first time - after 6 month on the road by bicycle. in the end it had been 2200 kilometers of gravel road, when i rolled on asfalt in shigatse.
especially the first days after leaving kashgar were quite difficult. i had diarrhoe, coughing and felt very, very weak for these reasons. in order to reach xaldulla i had to conquer two high 5000m passes. especially the second one was hard work, i was totally exhausted, i was not able to cycle but to push the bike up the whole way, stopping every 30 meters to rest. in the village xaldulla i had one day rest, and then things were getting better.
but even better was the fact that i met 2 cyclists - dror and silva - 3 days later. we then cycled together for 8 days. on 27th of september i passed the 1000 km marker. from there it were just 60 km to ali, capital of western tibet. it was really unbelievable reaching such a town in the middle of nowhere after 800 km of gravel road, and having then all opportunities to eat and buy food as much as you like! in ali i met peter and cameron again, who i started together from islamabad. we just stayed for 2 days as it was still a long way to lhasa.
what a great feeling of cycling on asfalt! but just for 78 km, after that the road turned into horrible gravel and sand road again. in namru i ate momos, tsampa and buttertea for the first on this journey  ...
[go on reading...]
10.   on gravelroad to ali [ PRINT ]  [ READ ]
date: 2005-10-12 08:56:35.0 (GMT+1) from: ali (CHINA) km: 0
after I reached road nr. 219, I met the five other cyclists i met in kashgar. I cycled only two days with them because they were too fast. and I felt exhausted because of the strong cough and diarrhoe. I even looked for a truck. but the certainty that five other cyclists were just one day ahead gave me new energy. after three days in tianshuihai I catched up with Dror from Israel and Silvan from France. with them I cycled to ali. the ride across the aksai chin plateau was really impressive. there we came never under 4800 ms. but there was a lot of sand and dirt road. in sumix we were happy to stay in a simple tent at 5050 ms. in domar I had contact with tibetan people for the first time. there are now two shops with apples and pears! before we reached rutok we saw the wonderful nyak lake, where we ate real good fish. rutok has now a one km asphalt road. but afterwards the road is as bad as before.
ali is still growing. at the PSB we had to pay a fine of 350 yuan. but this included also a permit for 30 days. I think I will reach lhasa in this time.
9.   reached kashgar [ PRINT ]  [ READ ]
date: 2005-09-08 08:52:32.0 (GMT+1) from: kashgar (CHINA) km: 0
in the meantime i have reached kashgar. the karakoram highway (KKH) was a great experience again. except from the stone-throwing people. I cycled the KKH mostly with peter from eindhoven and cameron from brisbane. this time I also cycled the Khunjerab pass up to 4670 ms. the fantastic view over the glacial mountain world was the reward for all the effort. at the very last police check point before the border I stayed overnight. in taskurgan, after 120 kms, I cycled the first kms in china. they had put me in the proper mood for tibet, because the road was under construction, with a lot of stones, potholes...
tomorrow i will start from kashgar and cycle to karlig. which is about 270 kms away. from there the road diverts to tibet (nr. 219). today I said good bye to five other cyclists. they are now one day ahead. maybe I will see them again before ali, which is 1300 km away.
my bags are full of dried fruits, chocolate and milk powder. hopefully I will write from ali next time.
8.   stories from the saddle [ PRINT ]  [ READ ]
date: 2005-06-14 11:16:32.0 (GMT+1) from: Sanandaj (IRAN) km: 0
every day i am heading towards east will become hotter...
but after leaving tatvan i had a couple of thunderstorms. that was impressiv on the huge vanlake. for the campnight i was lucky to have thunder without rain. i never expect that much trucks in the far east of turkey. and as a special there i had my highest passes so far with 2730m. very depressing is the almost permanent headwind from south what is in that part my main direction. on all roadcrossings there is military who check the traffic. as well they wanted to stop me but i could mostly avoid these checkpoints by passing through an waving...
the landscape becomes now more impressiv with snowcovered 4000 m peaks. reaching yueksekova was a first feeling of close iran. in between a view minutes i was surrounded by a bunch of people on looking for a net cafe. after further 45 km i reached the border. a high, 6 meter fence was finally opened for me to pass into iran. no checks on my bicycle and luggage. so it was an easy bordercrossing. i decided now to cycle along the borderline to turkey. without stopping cars its unpossible to find this narrow roads, because there are no signs at all. Piranshar is just 14 km from irak away and there is also a bordercrossing here. kurdish people often asked me if i am going to irak.
at this time i got very weak and having strong diarrhoe. so i decided to contact the hospital, where they gave me serum for my weak body. after restarting, it took just one single day to feel even worse. this means for me having another hospital visit. that was after 160 km along the border towards irak in Baneh. there the people took  ...
[go on reading...]
7.   sick in baneh [ PRINT ]  [ READ ]
date: 2005-06-10 10:45:41.0 (GMT+1) from: baneh (IRAN) km: 0
since 5 days i am staying in iran, and had the hardest time here yet. i had my second visit at hospital, because i am totally exhausted. the doctors gave me some serum and an injection in my back against the diarrhoe. i hope that in about 2 days i will be able to hit the road again.
the bordercrossing in esendere-serou was no problem at all, the officials luckily were not checking my luggag. from silvaneh i cycled to oshnaviyeh and further to piranshar, where there is also an open bordercrossing to irak. today i took much effort for me to reach baneh. i am now better, but unfortunately some of my equipment is broken down.
6.   cycling towards east [ PRINT ]  [ READ ]
date: 2005-05-30 10:40:41.0 (GMT+1) from: tatvan (TR) km: 3670
since the 17 of april i am on tour again. after my accitend on my first trip to asia, in india
i decided to try it again starting cycling from my homeplace vienna. i had bad luck by recieving so much on rain towards hungary romania and parts of bulgaria. by privat reasons
i had to take for 540km puplic transport in romania to bucuresti. so from there i "restart"
my tour. an important point of a biketrip is after a long day of "fighting" against the motor
ists to find a "remote" campspot for recovering. this will become more difficult if you do
not stay far enough from villages. so i had a night an unwelcome visit from an big dog.
for this it"s always handy to keep a couple of stones handy... as well during the day dogs
can be a hassle. watch out for the potholes and at the same time trying to push the
agressive dogs away. so they keep you using y! our "7 sences". since 24 days i am now in
turky. mostly i had great meetings with the people inviting me for cay. it"s just the fight
to be acceptet on the road as a cyclist. so as often as possible i try to take remote parts.
especially as the last strech was in kurdistan. there i had a very inspiering strech what
already remainds me on the kkh from pakistan to china. as well i had a dirt road strech
because on the fights the army had with the kurds 20 jears ago people told me when
they wantet me to give me a lift. today i reach tatvan on the bizzar van lake.
in between the next 5 days i plan to reach iran.
5.   from Elbistan [ PRINT ]  [ READ ]
date: 2005-05-24 15:16:28.0 (GMT+1) from: elbistan (TR) km: 1
camping at an altitude of 1550 meters! one of the highlight of the tour so far. and moreover i enjoyed the sound of nature during the nigth. far away from the barking of dogs and the croaking of the muezzin.
generally i try to use the small roads in turkey as often as possible. from aksaray on i cycled to Nevsehir-?rg?p (unfortunately a lot of traffic) and then to Develi. afterwards i reached the highest point of the tour so far, a pass on 1990 meters. a great and remote route, with best drinking water along the way. this is a very good facility i whole turkey. to go on in direction of east i first had to travel north and then straight south to G?ksun, where i cycled also through forest!
now i am happy to rest for the first time in turkey. yesterday i felt very bad and tired in the morning. i think the reason was maybe a sunstroke with fever and so on. therefore i took some vitaminpills, had a 2-hours rest at a gasoline station and then i struggled hard to get to Elbistan.
4.   arrived in aksaray [ PRINT ]  [ READ ]
date: 2005-05-18 15:54:19.0 (GMT+1) from: aksaray (TR) km: 1
meanwhile i am constantly on an altitude of about 1000 meter. nevertheless, during the last few days the area was quite flat. now it gets important to get up early in the morning, to avoid cycling during the hottest time of the day. but it is not difficult as also the morning sun forces you to leave the tent. before sunrise it is quite chilly, with temperatures of about 8 degrees celsius. the solar irradiation is quite strong, so protecting the skin with suncream is a good idea.
at Afyon i cycled a lot offroad to avoid to go into the city, which was not that easy. i had to use a compass. in the area of Emirdag is the remotest part of turkey so long. the landscape was quite dry, unfortunately the lovely forest which i enjoyed especially on the route from Lapseki to Can and around Balikesir. i had already a lot of dog attacks, so my defence strategies are improving fast. one time i managed to kick one of those bastards during cycling! yesterday i travelled through steppe landscape, passing the saltlake toz g?l?. now i am in Aksaray, enjoying the fascinating panorama of hassan dagi (3268 meter). it will get a bit more mountainous when going to Kayseri and Pinarbasi in the next days.
3.   since 8 days in turkey [ PRINT ]  [ READ ]
date: 2005-05-13 13:14:35.0 (GMT+1) from: gediz (TR) km: 1800
currently i am in gediz, about 100 km east of K?thaya. during the last few days i cycled very much uphill, but in average i did not gain any height. here in gediz i am about 640 meter above sealevel. after the ferry crossing from Gelibolu to Lapseki i cycled through less populated areas, often on gravel roads. at Can i met the main road again. from Yenice-Balya-Balikesir-Bigadic on i entered slowly the mountainous landscape. yesterday in nearly reached the 1000 meter level. i am very surprised about the bad condition of the roads, which are marked as red in my map. the edges are pumpy and often totally damaged. therefore it was often much better to cycle beside the road.
my mirrors are very important, i realize quite often. as i am cycling in the middle of the road, i can see very well when someone is approaching from behind. dogs are keen on hunting me instead of keeping an eye on their sheep and goats. they permanently chasing my bike. and when i am stopping for taking some stones, they are away as quick as they appeared...
2.   spring! [ PRINT ]  [ READ ]
date: 2005-05-03 13:54:30.0 (GMT+1) from: ajitos (BUL) km: 1200
also when leaving bucarest, the weather stayed as it was before: wet and rainy. therefore i spent the first night after leaving bucarest in a bed - protected from rain. the lady, who finally gave me the small room about 95 km east of romanias capital, she did not stop talking and talking in romanian language to me. of course i did not catch one single word. during the whole night then i kept awake because of many mice inside the house. i crossed the border to bulgaria at Silistra. before, i crossed the 1 km wide danube with a ferry boat. also in bulgaria the weather was very bad. therefore i was happy that during shopping nice people invited me to stay overnight. bulgarian people are smoking very much. the inviting parents, who have a 3 years ol daughter, smoke 25 cigarattes daily. each!
on the 1.5. the sun was shining! for this reason i was always able to camp during the night. but nevertheless i had to struggle: just yesterday i was repairing punctures for 4 hours in total! it is really awful i can tell you! the tubes are leaving air exactly on the same place. i fear that the tubes do not fit to the 2,25 thick marathon XR, because this problem i have just with the thick tyre. yesterday it was the most beautiful one of the whole tour yet. i cycled in green landscape along the luda kamcija river. now i am in AJITOS. during the next three days i am planning to enter turkey at either MALKO, TARNOVO or KIRKLARELI.
1.   first news [ PRINT ]  [ READ ]
date: 2005-04-28 07:12:58.0 (GMT+1) from: bukarest (RO) km: 800
it was raining a lot since I started on 17.04.05. unfortunately i had to take public transport to cross romania, because I had to manage an urgent private issue in bucarest. and thats also why I am staying now here. on the second day of the tour, before the Slovakian border I met three globebikers, two of them from the Netherlands and one Aussi. Two of them are also heading to Tibet!!! Thats unbelievable as i havent had expected to meet other asienbikers so soon. but nevertheless, our ways separated already in budapest, where they wanted to visit somebody. i left budapest on a rainy day in direction of debrecen. the flat landscape plus strong headwind were reallyy gruelling in hungary. it was also the area where I had my first puncture. The reason was the rim band which I changed into a stronger one. i crossed the border to Romania at Oradea. I took the EU road to Beius and Stei before I could take the B75 heading into the mountains. from there on there was not much traffic and I could really enjoy the nature for the first time. but I also had to concentrate during cycling because there were a lot of holes in the road. when I descended from the 1160m vartop pass it was really cold. i was happy to find an accommodation and something to eat. only the large dog did not stop barking at me. up to Arieseni I could cycle. from there on I had to take the bus to Alba Iulia and then the train to bucarest. but to get there i had to give 300.000 lei (8 euros) bakschisch to the conductor.
tomorrow I will try to leave bucarest. i then want to go to Bulgaria via Calarasi  ...
[go on reading...]
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