Sharing Tsampa with shepherdesses
CYCLING IN TIBET FACTFILE
The highway can be tackled from Kathmandu in Nepal or from Lhasa lll Tibet. The latter is the easier option in terms of arranging permits as well as the cycling. It is easiest to travel to Lhasa from Chengdu (Srchuan Province. China) lSichuan Arnvaysl. Once in Chengdu you vrrll have to book a tour. the minimum being three days. At the timel cycled the highway (July 2000). the package cost 8280 IUSI which Included a flight from Chengdu to Lhasa. three nights of basic accomniodataon and the choice to |()lll a three—day tour of visiting sights lll Lhasa. All travel agencies charge the san‘e amount. There are also direct flights to Lhasa from Beijing.
Rules regarding travel and perntrts for Tibet are varied and constantly change. It is best to check for latest Int()r'n‘.atlon regarding pern‘lts and tours close to departure rthe Lonely Planet Thorntree bulletin board — vaw.lonely/planet.com — rs a good SOUTCQI. I do not recommend trying to organise permits from your home c0untry as you are likely to run into an even greater minefield of paper work.
When I cycled the highway I first had to obtain a Chinese visa. followed by booking a
three—day tour wrth the permit included (although you never see the permit». Once in Lhasa l was ‘free' to move around Lhasa and along the hlghv-xay until reaching Shrgatse where I had to obtain a further Vlde to continue along the rest of the highway to the Nepali border. I also had to obtain a permit for my bike these two permits amounted to around 81:3 US: There are a number of pernwt checks along the route. so there is l'(3£tIIy nc ‘.'.ray of avoiding the bureaucracy unless you are prepared to sneak through checkpoints in the early hours of the morning.
WHAT TO BUY
Or rather. '.-.'hat not to buy. Bike touring is one say of learnrng to take a mrnrmalrst's approach to life: e;ery extra bit of weight counts espti-cally .-.'hen you are cycling up mega passes and sucking on o ygen-tnrn arr at altitudes of ESQ-(Jiln‘. Hourez’er. you n‘a, ‘.'.~ant to l“£lI\'(? roon‘ for SOlY‘C typically Tibetan turquoise and coral beads. or a beautiful., crafted hand-held pra‘, er .-.Cnee: decorated mth Tibetan script and motifs. Hand- carpets and bright aprons worn b, union‘en are another classzc setr.enrr. For these rt‘cre concerned with their fuel reserves. at Iun‘p of yak butter coxered in yak hide. anarfable :r‘ Bharkor Sguare. Lhasa. ‘.'.’lII be a good source of fuel and ‘.~.‘arn‘tn for those chilly nights.
Festivals. flights and fabulous fares
just been announced by Go. Flights and are now on sale for Glasgow and Edinburgh to Dublin. WEATHERWISE IT‘S A from 19 September to good time of year to 30 March. starting at visit Indonesia. STA £35 return. More Travel has special details on www.go- deals for students and fly.com
under 26s who fancy a ;. :: s. : g ;;' trip to Bali. Return
flights from Heathrow
or Manchester come
in at £511, and it has a
tour which includes
volcanoes and the
rice fields for £256.
More details on
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text/5 '. Ear/k TIM MOORE
French Revolutions (Yellow Jersey Press £12)
masochist. Having undertaken an arctic ‘ journey (read Frost On My Moustache) and a hike to Venice and back (Continental Drifter), Moore subjects himself to the ultimate physical torment: the Tour de France. . ‘ _
A month ahead of ~ ~ re » a the professionals, he traces La Grand Boucle (The Big Loop) around and beyond the borders of France. That’s 2,256 miles climaxing in an Alpine adventure which Moore helpfully likens to cycling up and down the Empire State Building. Eleven times. And Moore isn’t a fit man, he’s a self-proclaimed ‘loafer’.
Moore’s also a very funny writer, drawing on his complete lack of physical ability and endless exasperation to marvellous, self-depreciating effect. His research of Tour history bolsters his own sorry efforts: the ride nearly killed Moore; it did kill one man, English biker Tom Simpson, whose body gave in to the rigours of the toughest sporting event in the world half way up a mountain, and to whom Moore’s book is dedicated. (Miles Fielder)
Tim Moore is a
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