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Tips For Cycling Tajikistan’s Pamir Highway

Posted November 29th, 2013

Tajikistan’s Pamir Highway is the world’s second highest international highway and one of the most challenging bike touring routes out there.

Grace Johnson cycled the route in the summer of 2013 with her husband Paul Jeurissen. Along the way they picked up a few tips and updates for this route, which Grace has kindly shared in the article below.

Grace Johnson & Paul Jeurissen

Paul and Grace on the Pamir Highway. Photo by Paul Jeurissen.

Her notes build on the advice given in 10 questions: Cycling The Pamir Highway (an earlier guest post written by Christine McDonald) so please read that post before reading Grace’s observations.

Grace’s Tips For Cycling The Pamir Highway

There have been many changes since Christine travelled the Pamir Highway:

Visas - There is now a next day visa service (which includes a GBAO permit) in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. A letter of invitation is no longer necessary. On the visa form we didn’t have to present a complete route itinerary. We just wrote down that we were planning on cycling the Pamir Highway. That turned out to be enough information for the embassy. The embassy operates on regular opening hours and was easy to find since we looked up the GPS coordinates beforehand via internet.

Telephone and Internet - Internet is still pretty much non-existent. The only connection we came across was a very slow one via a single laptop in Murgab’s Pamir hotel. Telephones are more accessible. The main Pamir towns such as Lake Karakoal and Murgab have telephone send masts powered by solar panels and the villagers own mobile phones. At Lake Karakoal the Swiss cyclists at our homestay decided to take a day jeep tour to a scenic outlook. The homestay owner got on her mobile phone and within a half hour a had jeep arrived.

Transport - There are no buses on the Pamir highway. You could hitchhike (as Christine noted), however it might not be very easy. We saw 5-10 vehicles per day between Sarey Tash (Kirgizistan) and Murgab but most of them were fully-loaded and didn’t have room for cyclists. Between Murgab and Dushanbe there is more traffic – Chinese trucks (with Tajik and Chinese drivers) heading to Dushanbe – so it might be possible to get a lift with them.

Water - Of course in the summer months there was less water and some of the rivers were murky. Since we only had a steripen and water sterilizing drops we often had to fill our Orlieb folding bowl with river water and wait for the sediment to sink to the bottom before sterilizing it with the steripen.

Grace Johnson
Grace Johnson cycling across the Pamir landscape. Photo by Paul Jeurissen.

Winter versus summer cycling - If you cycle in the winter as Christine did, you will miss one of the biggest attractions of cycling the Pamir highway: the colourful landscape. It will be covered in snow. We didn’t find the strong summer sun too much of a problem. We just carried a couple bottles of strong sun block. There was always a strong wind to cool us off. Make sure you carry cold weather gear, even in the summer, since storms and sharp drops in temperature can happen at any time.

Route finding via GPS  -  You don’t need a GPS for the Pamir highway and the Wakhan valley. There is only one road and even though there isn’t a sign marking the turnoff to the Wakhan valley – it’s still quite obvious. If you want to try some off-road cycling to the more remote villages, you definitely should consider using a GPS. The routes to outlaying villages are via jeep tracks and as soon as the main track becomes too rutted the locals create new ones. When we rode from Bulun Lake to Alichor, we regularly checked our GPS to find out if we were still on the “correct” jeep track.

HomestaysA sign for a homestay on the Pamir Highway. Photo by Paul Jeurissen.

Homestays - The homestays are now marked by English signs in front and for 100 Somoni you sleep on a blanket mattress on the floor plus you receive three meals of tea, bread plus eggs or soup. The toilet is an outhouse. Most of the homestays can provide a hot shower. Sometimes the hot bucket shower isn’t included in the price so ask beforehand. In most homestays, electricity is only available after dark. Don’t count on it working. Note: the homestays are often poorly ventilated so if you are sleeping in a room with a number of other cyclists you may find yourself breathing hard due to the lack of oxygen in the room.

Pamir hotel in Murgab  - In 2013 the Pamir hotel in Murgab opened. It has hot showers, clean sit toilets and serves “substantial” food such as omelettes, meat, salad, potatoes and pancakes in the hotel restaurant. It also has 24-hour electricity (via the hotel generator) so we were able to recharge all of our camera batteries plus laptop there. The Pamir Kids on the Pamir Highwayhotel manager speaks English and completed the required Tajikistan registration for us. The registration was a hassle (the forms aren’t in English and the police complained that the first photocopies of our passport weren’t “dark enough”). It took the manager 7 hours before we (and the other hotel guests) finally received our registration papers. We offered to pay the manager afterwards for the service but he refused our money. Our registration papers were checked at the police checkpoint just south of Murgab.

The People - Christine is right when she says that the Pamir people are great. We especially enjoyed the kids. They love having their picture taken and will even run up to you smiling and yelling, “photo! photo!”

Towns - The villages and surrounding area are very desolate. Everything is built using whatever material is available. Car doors are used for gates, and sea containers as market shops.


An improvised shop on the Pamir Highway. Photo by Paul Jeurissen.

During the months of July and August you will come across other cyclists every day. They are a colourful bunch (we met a Hungarian carrying mountain climbing gear on his bike, Italians on Decathlon bicycles) and are another good reason to cycle there in the summer instead of winter months.

Additional Resources:

  • Pamirs.org - contains a number of links to Pamir cycling sites
  • Carry On Cycling – a report from a cyclist who rode the Pamir Highway in May 2013

For more on Grace and Paul’s trip around the world, please see their website Bicycling Around The World.

 

Brompton Folding Bike + Trailer: A Perfect Touring Combination?

Posted May 2nd, 2013

Can a Brompton folding bike and a trailer make the perfect combination for touring?

Stijn on his Brompton + Radical Design trailer

In this guest post for TravellingTwo, Stijn de Klerk checks out the performance of the Brompton with the Radical Design series of trailers.

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A couple of years ago I decided life without a car made a lot of sense.

I still need to drive a car for work but do most other things by bicycle. My trusty full-size bike is often used for local shopping trips, and I bought a Brompton folding bike so that I could use the bike in combination with the train more easily.

With these two bikes I had most transport and travelling requirements covered, except for the times when I needed to transport something big. This was why I added the Radical Design Cyclone trailer was added to the stable. I don’t use it a lot but when I do use it, I love it.

Radical Design Cyclone

Unloaded, it’s hard to even tell I’m pulling a trailer at all. It functions perfectly and it’s built to last. Even better, it’s as much a duffle bag as it is a trailer and it converts from one into the other in under a minute.

Hooking the trailer up behind the Brompton was obvious as both the trailer and the folding bike are portable. I then started thinking: “wouldn’t it be great if the Brompton would fit inside the Cyclone trailer?” but unfortunately the Cyclone was too narrow for this. Then, lo and behold, Radical announced the Chubby trailer: made wider and shorter than the Cyclone and designed to hold a folded Brompton.

Chubby Trailer

As I’m a keen bicycle traveler, the next question in my mind was if I could use the Chubby plus a Brompton bike to create a combination that would allow me to take a train, plane or bus anywhere, including a lightweight camping set-up but with a minimum of the normal packing and luggage hassles that often go along with taking a touring bike and all the associated gear on public transport.

The moment of truth arrived when my cycling friends – Friedel, Andrew and Shane – conjured up the plan to take folding bikes out on a camping trip. The company that makes the Chubby, Radical Design, was kind enough to lend us one for the occasion. I picked it up a few days before the trip, so I had my chance to give it a test.

Basic Chubby Touring Setup
The total weight of a Brompton with a Chubby trailer and a bit of gear comes in at around 20 kilograms. That’s 10-14kg of Brompton bicycle (depending on the model), the Chubby itself (6kg) and your tent and sleeping bag (4kg). This is light enough to pass as regular check-in luggage with most airlines, and you can still carry the trailer (complete with bike and gear inside) by its shoulder strap over short distances. This video shows how it all works.

Any other camping kit or other gear has to be carried in a day pack (as carry-on) or in a small duffle bag (as additional check-in luggage).

Quality And Durability
The heritage of Radical Design’s Cyclone trailer (first produced in 1997), means the Chubby has a long and thorough design evolution behind it. The whole trailer oozes quality and durability. I might even go so far as to say that it’s slightly over-engineered in places, even though it’s considerably lighter compared to many other bike trailers on the market like the B.O.B, Burley trailers and Monoporter. The Extrawheel is perhaps the exception, but that’s a bit of a different proposition.

The overall robustness of the trailer shines through in the Chubby bag. It weighs in at a hefty 4kg (two thirds of the total weight) but equally will take a lot of abuse as it’s made from Cordura 1000 Fabric. Since the bag is there to protect the Brompton, it warrants the weight penalty of this heavy fabric to a large extent. The bag has a beefy, lockable YKK zipper and is reinforced in places where it matters, with extra padding to protect a folded bike inside.

From an engineering point of view I love the all-stainless steel, ball joint and quality Polyoxymethylene (POM) hitch construction. It’s one of the best and most elegant I’ve come across so far while looking for a bicycle trailer, in terms of sturdiness and one-hand ease of use.

Chubby ball hitch

The wheels are easily removed by pressing a button at the center of the hubs, which releases a quick-lock mechanism. They can be used in one of two positions: in the cycling position or in a second location further back on the Chubby, which then turns it into a walking trailer.

The hubs themselves are aluminum with industrial style sealed ball bearings on a steel axle, laced with stainless steel spokes into Brompton-size rims. This means a good selections of tires is available to suit any need and will match up nicely with whatever you are running on your Brompton.

Chubby hubs

Stable Cycling
After giving the Chubby a look over, I decided to take it for a ride around town. As with my Cyclone trailer, I noticed that the two-wheel design made it relatively easy to move around by itself and hitch on/off compared to single-wheeled trailers. This two wheel design makes it inherently more stable, which makes cycling with it a lot less nervous and it can handle higher payloads then most single wheeled trailers. 

Once rolling in cycling mode, it becomes apparent how well-mannered this trailer is. When not loaded too heavily, one hardly notices that it’s there. Due to the fact that it has two wheels, it doesn’t negatively influence the stability of the bike and it’s even possible to rock the bike from side to side going up steeper inclines, much like you would an unloaded bike. One might think it would introduce more rolling resistance, but this is hardly noticeable and I suspect this is due to the relatively light loads the trailer tires need to support.

The only downside to the design might be that two wheels instead of one don’t track as well when on rough terrain or when mountain biking but I wasn’t planning on taking the Brompton on that sort of trip anyway.

Another big revelation was how easy it is to pack and unpack all the gear from a single hold-all style baffle bag. There is an inherent ease of having all your gear behind just the one zip and the amount of space is a dangerous luxury.

Loads of Space

Conclusion
Ultimately, I didn’t get the chance to put the Chubby through a full touring test. The weather forecast for our Easter tour was miserable and I didn’t want to return a completely mud-covered Chubby to Radical Design. That means this test and review won’t be truly complete until I can take the Chubby on a longer ride but my first impression was very favorable.

That said, I did take my Cyclone along for the weekend ride and this confirmed my suspicions about a trailer and Brompton being a perfect combination for touring. I’ll definitely be taking my Cyclone further afield this summer, and maybe one day I’ll add a Chubby to my collection as well.

***

Thanks to Stijn for sharing this review. More thoughts about using a Brompton for touring (based on our Easter trip) have been shared by Shane.

10 Questions: Bike Touring Across The Andean Puna

Posted April 8th, 2013

The Puna, or Altiplano, is a high altitude region of the Central Andes spanning southern Peru, western Bolivia, north-east Chile and north-west Argentina.

It is one of the most extensive areas of high plateau in the world, and Harriet & Neil Pike explored the Puna extensively by bicycle in 2010 and 2011. They recently took the time to answer 10 Questions about their bike tour through the area.

Chasing llamas to Sajama, Bolivia.
Chasing llamas to Sajama, Bolivia. Photo by www.andesbybike.com

1. Which route did you take in the region?

We spent nine months in 2010 and 2011 on the Puna, first cycling northwards through Argentina, Chile and western Bolivia before taking a circuitous route through southern Peru. Still eager to continue exploring the area, we then did an about turn and cycled south through Chile and Argentina.

Continue reading this edition of 10 Questions…

John O’Groats To Land’s End: The Traffic-Free Way

Posted June 19th, 2012

Every year, hundreds of cyclists set out to bike the distance between the northern tip of the United Kingdom – John O’Groats – and the southern point of Land’s End.

The trip – often referred to as LEJOG or JOGLE, depending on direction – is about 1,500km long. It’s a great distance for a bike tour of anywhere up to a month (depending on your appetite for mileage) but not everyone makes this trip on the most quiet of roads.

There are alternatives, however, including one route that British cyclist David Piper created. It goes from end-to-end across Britain, on quiet country roads and bike paths. He took a few minutes to tell us about it. You can also view the GPS track, which we created from David’s map.

***

Why did you create this route?

I live close enough to Land’s End to see streams of ‘End to Enders’ trudging up the A30 dual carriageway in the summer. While they’re fighting traffic and slashing their tyres on the broken glass littering the scant shoulder, I’m slashing my wrists in despair at their lack of imagination and planning.

I assume they have plotted the rest of the route in much the same manner when (with a little time invested) they could have taken the road less travelled along the blissful B-roads and scenic cycle tracks that criss-cross our green and pleasant land.

I’d been asked by the anti human-trafficking charity Bringing Freedom to plot such a route and I was so pleased with the results I thought I’d share it with you!

John O'Groats to Land's End (traffic free)
A rough outline of the route. Click for a bigger version on Flickr.

How did you map out this particular route? 

I wanted to use as many of the Sustrans National Cycle Network (NCN) routes as possible, and traffic-free roads wherever possible.

Scotland really stood out in this respect. It was a cyclist’s dream of empty roads, fabulous mountain-scapes and enough bird and wildlife to keep any budding David Attenborough happy. We saw lapwings and ospreys.

In the far north, we could even use some main roads. It’s wilderness up there, and we saw more wild deer than wild drivers!

Can you give us a quick summary?

Sure!

We started in John O’Groats. From there, we climbed over rolling moorland south of Beauly and dropped down to Loch Ness. We braved the A82 to the quaint town of Fort Augustus but on reflection it would have been far better to pick up the tiny road (NCN 78) that follows the southern bank of the lake.

Land's End To John O'Groats

We then went off-road, beside the Caledonian Canal. We rode past snow-capped Ben Nevis to Fort William, then south of Loch Leven on  parts of the old railway (NCN 78). Next we detoured around Loch Awe past the Falls of Cruachan and the underground hydro-electric plant pumping out millions of watts of clean, renewable energy. Hidden, silent valleys beside Loch Eck took us through the Argyll Forest to the Dunoon Ferry.

Next it was on to B743 and a handful of unclassified lanes. These took us east over the bleak and desolate Southern Uplands to Abingdon – Scotland’s highest village. From here, the NCN 74 uses a deserted road all the way to Gretna Green – where eloping lovers could once be wed.

Land's End To John O'Groats

We climbed into the Lake District on the B5299 (NCN 7) to Caldbeck, then south on Pasture Lane to the utterly beautiful Ullswater before tackling the only real mountain in the whole trip – the Kirkstone Pass, descending to the touristy waters of Windermere.

Land's End To John O'Groats

NCN 55 & NCN 5 took us most of the way from Preston to Worcester through the heart of England’s Industrial Revolution on miles of canal paths. Then it was on to the old railtrack NCN42. We were disappointed that only a little of this was complete but soon it will be a grand route from Cheltenham to Welsh Chepstow.

Bristol is the home of Sustrans so a traffic free route into the city wasn’t hard to find. It took us out again over Brunel’s iconic Clifton Suspension Bridge and later on the Strawberry Line (NCN26), heading south to the gorgeous gorge of Cheddar.

Land's End To John O'Groats

In Somerset, we traced a canal from Bridgewater to Taunton, followed by the B3227 for the 50 miles between Taunton and Barnstaple. Next it was the NCN27 Devon Coast to Coast route, making sure we stopped at the legendary Yarde Café for a pint of homemade cider.

Now in Plymouth, we crossed into Cornwall and rode the magnificent coastal road along Whitsand Bay, hugging the coast until Looe before following the river valley to Liskeard. A short blast along the A38 was unavoidable but we soon got on unclassified roads that trace the new A30 as far as Fraddon.

From there, the B3275 follows the Ladock Valley toward Truro. Cornwall’s tin mining heritage was evident along the coast-to-coast cycleway from Devoran to Portreath. From there, we were treated to a fabulous run along the North Cliffs on B3301. Finally, it was NCN 3 all the way to Land’s End.

What were some of your favourite parts of the trip?

In Scotland, we briefly followed NCN 78. It’s part of an old railway line and in a few years it should connect Oban with Loch Ness. It hugs the stunning coastline and is quite possibly the best cycle track I’ve ever ridden!

I also loved the area around Preston and Worcester. You ride through the heart of England’s Industrial Revolution on flat, pretty and traffic free canal paths. And don’t forget the added benefit of a smattering of lock-side pubs! Willows wept and otters leapt, whilst happy holiday-makers waved cheerily from their converted barges. Fantastic.

Land's End To John O'Groats

Did you ever need off-road tires?

Not really. We first went off-road beside the Caledonian Canal but the surface was fine grit so our standard road tyres could cope with it. This was also the case with the other unpaved sections nationwide.

Isn’t your version of JOGLE a little long?

Our total route was about 2,000km but so what if it took a little longer? That’s the whole point, isn’t it? If you want to sprint up the highway, the record is under two days, so knock yourself out! Or maybe the traffic will first…

More info:

Himalayan Bike Touring Tips: From Leh To Manili

Posted May 5th, 2012

The road that leads from Leh to Manili in the India’s Himalaya mountains is a spectacular bike touring destination.

The scenery is epic and hard-won over a series of 5000m passes which lead from the lush Kullu Valley over high altitude desert to the remote and starkly beautiful mountain region of Ladakh. – Himalaya By Bike

Ascending
Photo by Paul Jeurissen. Ascending the Baralacha La pass.

Paul Jeurissen & Grace Johnson cycled this road in 2011 and jotted down the following useful information and tips for other bike tourists.

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Maps - We carried the Nelles map of North India but we only used it to find our way between the different monasteries near Leh. Once we headed out on the Leh-Manali road, we stashed our map into a back pannier and didn’t end up getting it out until after we had left the mountains. A map is not really necessary for much of the trip because once you leave the Indus valley and start heading towards Manali there is just the one road, which all of the buses and trucks also take.

“Even though we didn’t look at our map, we looked daily at a small altitude and pass profile of the road, which we found on a number of websites. The list of food and accommodation on the profile is outdated (there is now more accommodation and food than the profile shows) but for us it was important to see which pass was coming up and how steep or high it was.

Route Profile
A profile of the route from Leh to Manili.

Internet Access - At first we thought we could get online with our smart phone but Ladakh is very close to the Chinese border and the Pakistani line of control so the Airtel sim card that we bought in Delhi didn’t work there. To buy a SIM card for Leh, you need to submit 5 passport photos, which we decided not to do. In Leh there are a number of good internet cafes and in Keylong our Airtel sim card started working again. Keylong also has a shop with an internet connection but that connection was very slow.

Traffic - Most of the traffic is supply trucks for the Indian army bases near Leh and they always seemed to be ‘grouped’ together. So we would just pull off the side of the road to let them pass. It was also a great excuse to stop and catch our breath. You can later tell your friends, “I could have cycled up the Taglang La pass in one go but unfortunately all of those truck convoys forced me to take rest stops!”

Of course all the trucks and buses belch out exhaust fumes – they are Indian Tatas. But after a convoy passes, it was usually quite some time before the next group reached us. They don’t drive that fast, sometimes only 15-20 km/h due to the road conditions. They also know the road well since they spend the whole summer driving back and forth between Leh and Manali.

We were told that the worst traffic was on the Keylong – Manali section. Luckily for us the Rohtang pass was closed due to a big traffic jam so we ended up cycling ‘traffic free’ from Keylong to Gramphu.

Monastary
The Stakna Monastary. Photo by Paul Jeurissen.

Rohtang Pass - We didn’t cycle over the Rohtang since we decided to turn left towards Spiti, but boy did we hear comments from other cyclists about it: “It’s awful!”, “Terrible traffic”, “Mud-feast”,” #&!” and so on.

It turns out that Manali is a popular tourist destination and since many Indians have never seen snow before they all drive up to the top of the Rohtang to go play in it. At Gramphu we met cyclists coming down the pass who had been able to squeeze past the traffic jam on the Manali side. They said: “We met people who had been stuck in their cars for the last three days. Some of them applauded as we squeezed our bikes past but others gave us the ‘middle finger’.”

Altitude - Gasp, wheeze, gasp! What makes cycling the Leh to Manali highway difficult is the extreme altitude. The road heads over a number of passes, one of which is the Taglang la. At 5,328 meters it’s the second highest motorable pass in the world. If you’re feeling truly masochistic, head up the  5,359-meter Khardung La pass on the other side of Leh.


Descending from the Baralacha La pass. Photo by Paul Jeurissen.

Of course the higher you go, the less oxygen there is in the air. I remember heading up the last section of the Rohtang and even when I lay down on the side of the road I still was gasping for air. Sleeping at high altitudes can also be difficult and many times we awoke gasping for breath. What we were experiencing is called “Cheyne-Stokes breathing” (read more). For this route, you should be aware of how to prevent altitude mountain sickness.

Since we were flying into Leh at 3,524 meters, we decided to take diamox tablets. They help with acclimatisation. We started the day before our flight and continued swallowing them for two days thereafter. They really helped. On previous trips when we didn’t take them, we had a lot of headaches and sleeping problems (read more about diamox).

Food - Between Leh and Manali there are a number of dhabas (parachute tent camps) where you can buy: candy bars, boiled eggs, maggi noodles, chapattis, omelettes, rice and dal bhat ( an Indian dish of brown beans). The route profile photo shows some of their locations and in 2011 there was also a dhaba at Whiskey Nullah and Debring.

Sleeping - It’s possible to cycle the route without a tent. You can stay in the parachute tents that line the road.

Parachute Tent Camp
A parachute tent camp, where cyclists can stay the night. Photo by Paul Jeurissen.

There are, however, a number of reasons why it’s a good idea to carry a tent with you:

  • Safety – If you read a number of Leh-Manali travelogues, you will find out that storms regularly pass through the area. You can become stranded for days until the route is cleared.
  • Wild camping – We camped in some spectacular places. They turned out to be some of our favorite memories from the trip.
  • Privacy – The parachute tents are dormitory style. If you are unlucky (like the Italian cyclist we met), a group of people will literally ‘take over’ the tent and hold a party until two in the morning.

Wild Camping
A beautiful wild camping spot. Photo by Paul Jeurissen.

Roads - First of all the climbs are gradual. As one English cyclist said, “They don’t build the roads here as steep as they do in Laos. Otherwise the Tata trucks wouldn’t be able to drive over the passes.” As for the road surface, it’s paved from Leh to Upshi and from Keylong to Gramphu but the rest is a combination of asphalt, gravel, washboard and sand.

Which way should you go? Here are the reasons to go from Leh to Manali:

  1. Leh and the Indus valley is a great place to spend time acclimatizing. Guidebooks recommend spending a minimum of a week in Leh before heading out hiking (or cycling). The first week we were there I was a bit sick so we decided to spend another week just cycling around the Indus valley – visiting a number of monasteries such as Hemis, Thiksey and Stakna.
  2. If you do come down with altitude sickness on the highway – it’s much easier to catch a lift in a truck. All of the trucks have dropped their cargo in Leh and are heading back empty to Manali. The chauffeurs are friendly and when I was reduced to pushing my bike on the last section of the Rohtang, they continually stopped to offer a lift.
  3. Descending the Baralacha La – pure heaven!
  4. Descending the Rohtang La: we didn’t go over it but all the cyclists we met said that it was much better to descend the Rohtang than to ascend it from the Manali side.

And the reasons to go from Manali to Leh:

  1. Tailwinds on the Moray plains: just smile and wave as you sail past your fellow cyclists who are slowly grinding their way towards Manali.
  2. You will suffer less from altitude on the Rohtang than someone who is coming from Leh. Also, if you want to cycle over the Khardung La pass, then it will be much easier since you are properly acclimatized.
  3. Somehow Leh seems like a more fitting and wonderful end to the journey than Manali.

Leaving From Delhi Airport - If you’re flying out of Delhi, watch out for the oversized baggage x-ray machine. After you have checked in for your flight, staff will wheel your bicycle away. Follow them! They are bringing your bike to a large x-ray machine but its opening is too small to for a bike to fit in. They will still try to cram it through (and thus damage the bike). Luckily, we were able convince them that our bicycles couldn’t fit in the x-ray and should be examined manually.

For more inspiration, see:

The authors of this article – Paul & Grace – are on a multi-year bicycle trip and project: “Bicycling around the world in search of inspiring cycle images”. They are photographing the different bicycle cultures around the world and the feeling of travelling by bicycle. See their blog.