Introduction and Background
From Poland to Pakistan…
It was a perfect time. Half a year, exactly 163 days on the road. My, bicycle ( Trek old, metal frame) and my home – tent. During that period of time, I slept more than 140 nights in 100-star – hotels, wild camping, mosques, Pakistanis jail, and Greek, sandy beaches.
I started my journey from my hometown, Poznań, in Western Poland, and then, by land, I was cycling through 12 countries and I finally arrived in Karachi in Pakistan.
Weather I Go Through and Daily Routine
Weather conditions were not perfect, I was cycling during late autumn in Europe and in winter time in the Middle East. In December in eastern Turkey, Georgia, and Armenia was quite normal to freeze my tent and especially my bicycle (mostly front and back derailleurs and v brakes).
Daily routine: I started with my best multi-fuel stove (MSR) (amazon link) and I mostly warmed up in the tent and my bicycle outside. Cycling in that condition and living in a tent mean that you are constantly outside and all the time you need to warm up your body.
Constantly you need to wear a coat, cap, buff, and gloves. When you are sleeping, when you go to pee, when you eat in a tent, everything it’s depends on temperature.
In the end, those inconveniences are acceptable because mostly you sleep in splendid places, in the canyon of river Vorotan in Armenia or close to Cildir lake in Turkey.
Cycling Through Desert In Iran and Pakistan
On the other hand, in Iran (especially the central and east parts) and Pakistan, I traveled through the magnificent deserts, Daste e Kavir and Lut Desert.
That region is far away from our imagination of the Middle East, with sandy dunes and crossing-road camels.
These deserts were changing very fast. Sometimes it was black sand up to the horizon, sometimes horizon was full of wild and untamed mountain ranges.
The beginning of the year was a hard time for me to cycle through Iran. The climate was quite dry, but still, there was a heavy wind, and the average temperature it’s near 0 degrees Celcius during the day and -10/-15 degrees C during the night.
Meeting Fascinating People and Experiencing New Culture
On that journey, weather conditions were quite intense but the reason why I travel was it was not challenging, fast, or sleeping in bad conditions but it was contact with people and their stories.
It’s breaking cliche and stereotypes about people from the Middle East (especially Iran and Pakistan) and being a guest in their houses, lives, and daily routine.
I was invited to a wedding in central Turkey, I participated in mourning celebrations in some Turkish families.
I met strong and brave Iranian women, who risk their lives and protested and refused to wear mandatory hijab. I was convoyed by Pakistanis Police in the Baloch region and I talked a lot about their problem, payments, and problems with criminals in that remote area.
I met oil smugglers on the border between Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. I saw Ukrainian people who just get used to living in emergency situations.
These meetings are priceless. Only when you hit the road, and day-by-day cycle you can meet that fabulous people, and then tougher you can share your stories.
Travel Style and Budget
My style of traveling it’s quite representative of every touring cyclist. Mostly I was sleeping in a tent, but sometimes I choose a hostel for accommodation because I need to charge my power banks.
My daily distance wasn’t big. I am not sure (yes, I didn’t have a bicycle’s computer) but it was nearly 70 km per day, sometimes less sometimes more.
I am far away from cycling fast, but when I need to cycle more than 100 km wasn’t any problem for example when I was entering Teheran (18 million city dwellers).
Mostly I cooked everything by myself. Breakfast (oats and dates and coffee) to dinner. That’s the reason that my daily budget wasn’t big, I spend every day about 5-7 USD.
Obviously, I tried local dishes but my base was everything that I cooked.
In that half year, I cycled approximately 10 000 km, I traveled through 12 countries (Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, Turkey, Georgia, Armenia, Iran, and Pakistan).
When I turned back home and finally I have a normal shower, food, and my warm bed. But after one week of that life, honestly, I am thinking again about another long cycling trip, it’s like an addiction. : xD
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