Taking the Trans Siberian Train to Go Mountain biking in Mongolia

Tom and I are in Ulan Ude. We spent 4 days on the train and 5600km on the Trans Siberian crossing Russia from Moscow. I came overland from London to Moscow via Eurolines and Ecolines buses. Tom came from Yerevan on trains and buses and took the ferry from Trabzon (Turkey) to Sochi (Russia).

The countryside from the train was mainly forest and the settlements I saw contained houses made from wood with tin roofs.  Further east the countryside was bleaker and the temperature dropped. Snow was still visible in scattered patches. The trees had no foliage on them and in places the grass was burning because it was dry. It was possible to see many black areas of grass which had previously burnt. I don’t know if this is a natural occurence or a controlled process next to the rail tracks.

We have applied for the Mongolian visa and will pick them up this afternoon. Tommorow morning we will take the bus to Ulaan Baator. There, we have a Couchsurfer to stay with, we will extend our Mongolian visas to a three month duration and build the bikes. We will hopefully start pedalling in the next few days.

The route across Mongolia will depend on the quality of the track. We want to be challenged. If the main road proves too easy then we will look for less travelled routes.

I am very much looking forward to entering Mongolia. I have heard only good things about the place; beautiful landscapes and friendly people. Apparently Mongolia usually benefits from being an area with a predominantly high pressure weather system resulting in a lack of clouds and hopefully a lack of rain too.

I have a new Kona Caldera frame, which is a 22 inch 2009 model in a very nice metallic green colour . My bike has a few other modifications including flat handlebars and flat pedals. I will also be using the new Extrawheel single-wheel trailer designed for panniers only. The set-up is good and I’m hoping that I will be thinking about my kit as little as possible and concentrating on enjoying the ride.

Tom and I are filming the trip and will be putting together a video for Konaworld.tv. In addition to the Sony A1 we have a fish-eye lense ‘Drift’ helmet cam (search on google for more info). This should allow for some exciting footage variation.

Until next time. Andy.

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