“Preparing” for the Silk Route
Preparing for this kind of a bike tour – the four and a half month, 12,160km ride from Shanghai to Istanbul – is quite a long process. Each rider registered for the tour has been receiving updates and reminders since September, or eight months before the trip actually starts.
My own preparations for the trip have barely begun. It wasn’t until last week, when I started getting in touch with riders to remind them to upload copies of their passports, that I noticed I would need to renew my own passport before the trip! Its expiry date was under six months from the end of the trip. And since I am still waiting for the new one to arrive, I also can’t apply for any visas.
Sadly this is but one example of how I am slacking off. My To Do List of major tasks (passport, visas, plane ticket, etc.) doesn’t have a single item checked off yet. For a trip that starts in just over 100 days, this isn’t good!
Apart from these administrative preparations, there are also the never ending questions of gear selection and packing to take care of. I know this can be daunting for some, but I love it. And for the most part I already possess most of the necessary equipment, having used it on previous tours and rides. I will definitely be making some additions though – the Silk Route is just a little bit different than touring in Canada or Western Europe.
I will be rebuilding my bike before the trip, and I have a huge pile of boxes full of new parts. Another box has the spare parts I’ll be bringing with me, and another still has tools, supplies, etc. I have spent countless hours (or maybe even days) obsessing over the selection of each and every part of my bike. I won’t go into that now though – that will take at least one full blog post on its own.
I’m not really worried about having everything in order by May 17th, but there are days where I feel like I might have to quit my day job to have enough time to prepare. 100 days and counting…