Five Elements Expedition

So there has not been much happening here, on this blog for a while.  I have been busy getting ready for another cycling trip in Central Asia and working on that blog…..severely ignoring this one in the process.

Check it out at Five Elements Expedition.  Things are coming along nicely.  I will be back to this blog when we get back from the trip, some time in January 2011.

Thanks for stopping by.

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Favorite quotes for the open road

Over the past few years, I have kept a journal of the best quotes I had found.  Have a look and see what you think, perhaps a quote speaks to you as well.  I hope that one quote speaks to you and inspires you to do something today that you are afraid of.

“If you don’t have a vision for the future, then your future is threatened to be a repeat of the past” – A.R.Bernard

“We can’t solve problems using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” – Albert Einstein

“Opportunity is like a gold mine…if you don’t pick up the shovel then you will be living in someone else’s shaft.” – Doug Firebaugh

“The difficult is what takes a little time; the impossible is what takes a little longer.” – Fridtjof Nansen

“When a man finds himself in mother, the always thinks up a goal for that motion.  In order to walk a thousand miles, a man needs to think that there is something good at the end of  those thousand miles.  One needs a vision of the promised land in order to have strength to move.” – Tolstoy

“Only those who risk going too far find out how far one can go.” – T.S. Elliot

“Whoever is happy will make others happy too.” – Mark Twain

“No, it is not the goal but the way there that matters, and the harder the way the more worthwhile the journey.” – Wilfred Thesiger

“Life is short and the World is wide.” – Simon Raven

“The person who says something is impossible should not interrupt the person doing it.” – Chinese Proverb

“I prefer the saddle to the streetcar and the star sprinkled sky to the roof, the obscure and difficult trail, leading into the unknown to any paved highway, and  the deep peace of the wild to the discontent bred by cities.” – Everett Ruess

“When I was here I wanted to be there; when I was there all I could think about was getting back.” – Captain Willard

“The pleasure of travel increases in direct proportion to the decrease of baggage.” – Richard Halliburton

“Don’t waste time waiting for inspiration.  Begin and inspiration will find you.” – Anonymous

“Security is mostly a superstition.  It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as whole experience it.  Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run then outright exposure.  Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” – Helen Keller

“Man’s loneliness is but his fear of life.” – Eugene O’Neil

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.  You must do the think which you think you can not do.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

“What you are is what you have been; what you will be is what you do now.” – Anonymous

“What it all comes down to in the end is your legs, determination and the ability to improvise.” – Janne Corax

“You find good people on bad roads.” – D. Joubert

“Bicycling is the nearest approximation I know to the flight of birds.  The airplane simply carries a man on it’s back like an obedient Pegasus; it gives him no wings of his own.” – Louis J. Helle, Jr.

“Live as if you die tomorrow, learn as if you were to live forever.” – Gandhi

“All men dream – but not equally.  Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find it was in vanity.  But the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes to make it possible.” – T.E. Lawrence

“One great advantage of possessing the world through travel is that one may enjoy all the satisfaction fo possession without the responsibilities of ownership.” – Burton Holmes

“I never met anyone who regretted doing a ride.  But I met many who regretted not having done one.” – Alastair Humphreys

“It is so easy to live a life that has been scripted for you by others, to fall into the mire of conformity by following a path that society has laid before you, rather than heeding your own unique calling.  Comfort, complacency, routine, the path of least resistence, the east road – those things are the bone of human kind.  It is a disquieting moment when you awaken to realize the trappings of conventionality have created a life for you that is entirely different from the one you wish to live.” – Dean Karnazes

“To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.” – Aldous Hueley

“Every so often a bird gets up and fly’s some place that it’s drawn to.  I don’t suppose it could tell you why, but it does it anyway.” – Ian Hibell

“The wonderful things in life are the thing you do, not the things you have.” – Reinhold Messner

“A good traveler has no plans and is not intent on arriving.” – Lao Tzu

“Find out what you want, find something you really care about.  When you know what you want the rest follows.  But don’t drift off into something because it offers security.  Security is never worth a damn.  We’re meant to live and to live means living dangerously, half on the edge of trouble, half on the edge of achievement.” – Hammond Innes

“Those that ask the question will never understand the answer.  Those that understand the answer will never ask the question.” – Sir Ranulph Fiennes

“Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could no a little.” – Edmond Burke

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Cycle Touring in 1893

What a world cycle tourist looked like in 1893.  Remarkably, the bicycle looks very similar to today’s diamond framed bicycles although I have a hard time imagining what could be crammed into those two small bags strapped to the bike and not to mention pedaling dirt tracks across the globe with a fixed gear bike.  Frank Lentz must have had quite the adventure, cycling around the world in the 1890’s.

You can listen to a NPR radio interview of David Herlihy, author of “The Lost Cyclist:  The Epic Tale of an American Adventurer and his Mysterious Disappearance.”  You can listen to the interview here, Radio interview about Frank Lentz.

Cycle touring in 1890's

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Cycle Touring Central Asia – Mapping a route

As with all technology, things become better, cheaper and more accessible.  This is certainly no exception to the planning process for almost any expedition these days.

Yes, the idea of physically holding a map in your hands is certainly stimulating.  The process of identifying points of interest and slowly tracing the route with, first your finger then a pencil.  Trying to choose the least used roads or even perhaps the roads that are no longer used.

In today’s environment the paper map still plays a huge role and undoubtedly will still be found, stashed in the handlebar bag.  But when in the planning stages of a tour the paper map is not necessarily the best option.  Today we can simply pull up Google Maps or Google Earth and begin to zoom in on any place on earth.  You want to view a satellite image instead of a topography view, done.  Best of all, cycle tours planned with absolutely no money.  Spend a few hours in your local library planning a trip, then trace the route out and in a few minutes you have a good approximation of how many miles/kilometers your tour will consist of.

Perhaps I am veering off course from where this post should be heading, to a new cycle tour that I am very excited about.  During last fall, while volunteering as a board member a local film festival I had been introduced to a guy my own age who had done a tour in Asia several years ago as well.  Of course, after we got past the questions of the routes we had taken the next logical topic was equipment.  What can I say, I am an engineer and we fantasize over, analyze and critique equipment.

So, here is a rough outline of our route for the trip.

The idea……well the part that has been settled on is to fly to Beijing and take one of those new high-speed trains to Urumqi, from there we begin cycling.  And our glorious ending will be in Kashgar followed by another train ride back to Beijing, then home.

The two of us will be meeting tomorrow to discuss further plans, shared equipment, visas and a proposal we are trying to put together that will be distributed to several businesses around the area in hopes of securing a few places to give presentations when we return, fit and tan.

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Planning Begins

The excitement of researching and planning for your next adventure….it never grows old.  Today researching routes, visa requirements and finding people who have been there before are all easily accessed through the world wide web.  What is substantially more challenging is not wasting an entire day doing so.

Making a list of countries I hope to visit and their visa requirements.

Making a list of countries I hope to visit and their visa requirements.

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Dreaming big

So it has been a long time since I last posted anything here.

What’s new?  Well, planning another long bike ride, but first things first.

Last week I had a great conversation with Andy Blanc of Thorn Cycles, located in the UK.  I was interested in ordering their Thorn Raven Sherpa bike with the Expedition package.  I had expressed to him that I wished their Sherpa model could accept a suspension fork or that their newest model, the Sterling was built for full on expedition touring.  Andy’s response was that they actually have a new bike in the works and should be arriving to the showroom floor in early January of 2010, a Thorn Raven Nomad S&S that is designed to utilize a suspension fork…..very exciting.  This bike will evidently be called the Thorn Raven Nomad Mark II.

So, of course I had to put a deposit on the new bike and now the hard part, waiting until late January.

Last week I have enjoyed catching up on Cass Gilbert’s most recent blog as he cycles from Alaska to Mexico or perhaps farther south.  He is well known in the touring community as an amazing UK based photographer, world tourer and previously ran Out There Biking, a cycling touring company that explored much of the Indian Himalayas.  Be sure to take a look at his latest blog at :

The planning stages of a new adventure are always exciting.  With the advent of technology, planning for a trip is now easier than ever, as Google Earth offers great detail for the beginnings of route planning and travel forums allow you to post your questions to a very specific audience.  A rather rough plan that is beginning to be hatched is to start cycling in England next spring and head east through Eastern Europe, Central Asia, China, Tibet, Nepal and hopefully then finishing in India.  Like I said, it is in the rough stages of planning but all great trips have to start somewhere.

Some of this route will follow my cycling trip in 2006/2007 that went through Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Pakistan, China, Tibet and Nepal.  You can read about some of that trip here :

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The Beginnings

Welcome to the Rockventure blog.  This blog will serve as my way to document the 6 months or so of preparation for another bicycle touring trip.  I will be posting on both the current nature of affairs and provide description of my last trip from Kyrgyzstan to Nepal with a cool down ride through South East Asia.

Thanks for reading

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