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Rider Profile: Chris Jones (Full Tour)

chris_jones

For posterity, tell us your full name, age occupation and anything you’d like to tell us about yourself.

My name is Christopher Lee Jones, live in Nova Scotia Canada, I am 61 and retired from 37 years working for the Federal Government of Canada, I have 3 daughters and 3 grand-children and have travelled mostly in the northern hemisphere on both business and vacations. Enjoy cycling, skiing and sailing and throughout the long Nova Scotian winters particularly like cycling with studded tires on trails and lakes.

Do you have any favourite ride that you do there?

One particular favorite ride is a 50 km run around the Aspotogan Peninsula which if done in a counter clock wise direction enables one to cycle directly next to the Atlantic Ocean for almost the entire 50 km circumference.

Why did you choose the Silk Route bike tour for your next adventure?

I chose the Tour d’Afrique Silk Route as I just retired and was feeling somewhat “comfortably numb” and was looking for a challenge that would test my soul and physical abilities. The fabled “Silk Route” fit as is the longest, hardest, hottest, highest, and coldest bike route on the planet and it traverses the ancient caravan routes that have impacted our known world for thousands of years.

What made you a little nervous about this trip?

I was a little nervous about both cycling across three of the hottest deserts on the planet in temperatures that could exceed 50 C and cycling through the 4700 meter mountain passes into Tajikistan and the Pamir Highway.

What have been highlights so far and what are you still looking forward to?

I was looking forward to experiencing the famous hospitality of the ancient cultures along the Silk Route from eastern China to Samarkand to Istanbul at the street level of a bicycle.

What kind of bike did you bring?

I originally brought a titanium cross bike with STI and XTR components and heavy duty Mavic wheel sets but alas the titanium bike frame  broke and a steel Surly “Travelers Check” was flown in from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Dushanbe Tajikistan for the remaining 6,000 mms of the trip.

How did you train beforehand? Did you feel prepared?

When I retired in the fall of 2011, I was not prepared for such an arduous trip so I started training with highway and trail biking, hired a gym trainer and tried to lose weight. This was a good start but the rigours of reality of cycling 130-150 mms per day for 12000km took it’s intended toll on my body as over 40 lbs were shed by the time we crossed the Iran/Turkey boarder.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone going on their first tour with us what would it be?

My advice to anyone planning to do the TDA Silk Route would be to have a long talk with someone who has completed the trek and learn what to pack as equipment, condition one self and how to outfit a proper bicycle and tires to survive 129 days of wild winds, high mountains, hot sun, horizontal rain, hail and snow, desert sand storms and the most spectacular scenery and amazing people on the planet.


3 Comments for "Rider Profile: Chris Jones (Full Tour)"

Hi Chris, I read your comments and note your advice on speaking with someone who has ridden the Silk Road. I am seriously contemplating the ride in 2014. I will then be 55yrs. I have ridden a number of rides in Asia, China and India but none to match the Silk Road. I have purchased a Specialized Tri comp cyclo bike for the ride.

Can you offer me any advise on training prep, clothing for the extremes and camping?

I would appreciate any tips in this regard.

Regards Roger Hesford

    Hi Roger, you’ve picked a good bike, suggest 32-35 mm tyres that are rugged and are as flat proof as possible, the sides of Chinese paved roads often have fine wires from broken truck tyres that can cause frequent flats.
    I used very fine merino wool (all most see through) jerseys from Patagonia which were cool, didn’t get heavy with sweat,protected skin from sun and kept me warm,and didn’t smell. you may want a light shell jacket and pants, a light synthetic insulated vest, some light fleece pull-over and pants, a light but sturdy two man tent enables you to store your bags inside with you at night and it should have open mesh and a good fly and extra tent pegs.
    Hope this helps.

    Roger, in response to training suggest long distance endurance cycling may prove beneficial i.e randonneur
    brevet runs.
    cheers

    Chris

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