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Beijing to Paris Carfree

Home The 2007 event Map The Team History Carfree Future


Welcome to the first B2P newsletter! Our apologies to fellow riders for our long silence. Ting and I have recently moved to Adelaide (Australia), and have been occupied with long list of settling-in related tasks.

From now up until the event we plan to produce these short newsletters on a semi-regular basis. If you would like to contribute stories pictures of your own preparations please and we will try to include them in the next issue.

Matters of philosophy

After much debate over the format for the event we have come up with this: In the spirit of critical mass, this is to be a disorganised adventure. We aim for maximum turnout in Beijing, minimum boring restrictions on where to go and how to ride. Ting and I plan to put together a little info on possible routes, but other than that it is going to be up to individuals how to get to Paris.

This plan is somewhat less ambitious than earlier schemes, but realistically it is all Ting and I have the time and energy to arrange. If others want something more complicated (like a fully planned group ride), they could of course volunteer to organise this themselves, we will happily acknowledge it as part of the larger B2P event. The only condition is no "support vehicles", as we feel these are a little insulting to perfectly good touring bikes.


Several people have indicated that they would like to ride with others but have not found anyone to join them. To solve this we plan to set up an on-line discussion group for partnering purposes and general information sharing.

Border crossings

About half of you have already raised this question, and alas we have no easy answers here. We will do our best to keep up to date from now till 2007. If anybody hears any relavent rumours we would love to hear them.

It sounds like as of 2004 it became allowable to cycle over the China-Mongolia border. In the far West of China the only possibility seems to be to load our bikes onto the train (in boxes) at Urimuchi. More attractive options would be The Khunjerab pass to Pakistan, Torugat Pass into Kyrgystan. As far as we know both these routes are presently "closed" to cycling, so need complicated permissions, or a bus ride in the case of the Khunjerab pass. 1 March, update. Sounds like we can cycle the Irkeshtam Pass into Kyrgystan hassle free these days!

In Mongolia it seems there are at least three potential crossings, becoming increasingly difficult to reach going west. We don't know of anybody that has cycled from Ulaanbaatar to the western most crossing. We have heard of one couple that tried to ride a tandem (other direction), but gave up as the distances were to great between food and water.

Olly's R&D program

I'm using this time to re-write the rules about what a touring bike should look like. The latest theory is to ride with Ting, using two CLWB recumbents, possibly loosely connected in line, with partial weather protection for the riders and streamlined panniers for better performance in crosswinds and headwinds. They may be assisted on hill climbs by very small electric motors, lithium-polymer batteries and some (very light) flexible thin film solar cells. The motor will weigh only a few hundred grams, but be massively geared down to provide high torque for low speed (10km/h) heavily loaded hill climbing.

That said, so far I have yet to build a recumbent that I find more comfortable or faster than my "conventional" touring bike for rough conditions, but I remain optimistic that it is possible.

Olly's bikes


So far sixteen people from nine different countries have expressed an interest in joining. In the coming year we plan to start promoting the ride more actively so expect those numbers to swell.


We would like to make contact with some supporters to help us along the route, create a digital database of useful route info, organise some sponsorship to raise money for charity, find all the nescessary travel visa info, organise a decent sendoff in Beijing, re-write the website so we can all file progress reports online during the event and organise media representatives in Russian, Chinese, English and French.

Volunteers to help with any of these things would be most welcome.

Happy new year to all!