Cycling Silk was a minimalist, self-propelled field research expedition in the generalist tradition of the earliest explorers/naturalists/adventurers, folks like Charles Darwin, Alexandra David-Neel, Marco Polo, and Lewis & Clark. Only we traveled lighter than Marco Polo, without the aid of a camel caravan or royal escort. And unlike Darwin, who packed the Beagle’s lower shipdeck with specimen trunks, we collected nothing but stories, ideas, images, and more questions than answers.
As Spartan an expedition as this was, we still needed gear robust enough to endure four seasons of wear and tear, as well as cash to buy instant noodles and pay for the visas we needed to bike across Silk Road borders. To this end, we’re inexpressibly grateful to the individuals, companies, and organizations who made this journey possible:
COMPANIES & ORGANIZATIONS
Seven Cycles: Seven provided us with custom titantium Expat S bike frames, bikes built for rough road touring. We had long drooled over Seven’s gorgeous frames from afar, so this chance to ride these wheels was a dream come true.
Polartec: Cycling Silk won a Polartec Challenge grant, which meant the expedition received a generous wad of cash, a fabulous wardrobe of Polartec-equipped clothing from companies like Patagonia and Arc’teryx, and a Flip video camera.
OneWorld Sustainable Investments: We are so thrilled about the support of OneWorld, a company that puts their money where it matters: into appreciating ecological, social, and financial assets.
The Wild Foundation: WILD is a non-profit organization that works to protect the planet’s wild places and the wildlife and people who depend upon them. WILD believes that intact wilderness areas are an essential core element of a healthy modern society, and we at Cycling Silk wholeheartedly agree. We’re thrilled to join forces with them on our common mission to keep this world as wild as possible.
Wings WorldQuest: Wings is a non-profit organization that celebrates and supports extraordinary women explorers. They supported our first Silk Road cycling expedition in China back in 2006, and we were so excited to be a “flag expedition” for them again in 2011.
IUCN-WCPA: The IUCN, or International Union for Conservation of Nature, is the world’s oldest and largest global environmental network. We’re collaborating with the Mountain Protected Area Network and the Global Transboundary Protected Areas Network to connect with scientists, politicians, and conservationists involved in wilderness conservation along the Silk Road.
Hilleberg: Hilleberg gave us a massive discount on one of their expedition tents, the Keron 3 GT, a lightweight, rugged, three-person, four-season, very red tent – dubbed the Glowworm – that fit us, our gear, and even our bikes inside.
NRG Enterprises: This friendly Canadian bike products distributor helped outfit us with snazzy, capacious and durable Ortlieb pannier bags.
Topeak: Topeak without contest makes the best bike tools and pumps out there, and they’re provided us with the repair equipment we required to keep our bikes rolling down the Silk Road.
INDIVIDUALS (in no particular order):
Jim and Lynda Watson
Mary Anne Lopoukhine
Mac and Chricket Yule
Craig and Cathy Scott
Val Steven Schmidt
Leanne M Allen
Connie and Chuck Johnston
The secret of the mountains is that the mountains simply exist, as I do myself; the mountains simply, which I do not. The mountains have no “meaning,” they are meaning; the mountains are. –Peter Matthiesson