Canadian Cyclist


November 2/06 12:57 pm - Silk Route Race/Expedition

Posted by Editor on 11/2/06

Silk Route Race/Expedition
Courtesy organizer

Tour d'Afrique Ltd, the creators and organizers of epic transcontinental bicycle odysseys across Africa and Europe are gearing up once again to make history.

Their newest bicycle race/expedition, the Silk Route Race/Expedition, will follow the ancient route of the silk trade across the entire continent of Asia - from Istanbul, Turkey to Beijing, China - becoming the first modern self-powered 'caravan' to ever undertake such a journey.

Following in the footsteps of Marco Polo, General Zhang Qian and Genghis Khan, participants of the inaugural event will traverse a distance of almost 10,000 km as they cycle eastwards through Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and China.

For a millennium and more, a parade of visionary soldiers, merchants, monks, and adventurers established a web of routes through the world's highest mountains and harshest deserts. Trade goods and technology, culture and religion, military and political power flowed along the Silk Route between Europe and China, transforming both societies.

It thrived through the Crusades, the rise of Islam, the Mongol Empire and the first imperial Chinese Dynasties, but faded away due to a combination of technology, political and economic crises and climate change, which saw deserts consuming steppes and forests.

Departing from Istanbul on August 4, 2007, Silk Route cyclists will re-discover the magic and adventure of this historical route as they embark on a journey unlike any other. Participants will bathe in the great inland seas of the Caucasus, taste the delights of Samarkand and test their courage in the dusty furnace of the Takla Makan. They will cycle to the top of the world, climbing to over 3600 m through the Taldyk Pass in Kyrgyzstan and camp below sea level in the stunning deserts of China's Xinjiang province before arriving at their final destination, Beijing, on November 18, 2007. (please note all dates are tentative, and could change by 7-10 days)

The Silk Route features approximately 88 cycling days, averaging 111 km (69 miles) each day, broken up by 19 rest days and a day of travel across the Caspian Sea - a total of 108 days. Support trucks will carry equipment, travel ahead to set up camp and prepare four meals a day.

Racing it or riding it, participants on this unique voyage will experience and celebrate sportsmanship and fellowship; crossing borders, making friends, overcoming obstacles, experiencing new ideas and cuisines ˆ all with a view from the best seats in the house ˆ their bicycle seats.

Registration is open! For more details, visit

The Silk Route is open to anyone over the age 18 who has undertaken a medical examination to ensure that they are physically capable of participating in this journey.


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