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B2P Newsletter 2

Home The 2007 event Map The Team History Carfree Future

Introduction

Welcome to the second B2P newsletter! There seems to be considerable excitement and momentum built up for the event now, and it is a good time to reflect on progress made.

I hope to write a third newsletter around April, just after the first contingent leave Beijing. If you have any pictures or stories please and we will try to include them in the next issue.

Matters of philosophy

Only change is we thought of a better sounding slogan to "Celebrating better mobility in the 21st century".

Recent trips

Ting in Tibet

Congratulations to Hung Chuang, who was recently named "adventure travel writer of the year" in Taiwan. We were unable to contact him lately, presumably because he is still cycling across the Sahara.

Since our last newsletter Arnold and Marieke have cycled in Laos, Vietnam and the western coast of the USA.

Ting led a successful team up the Yunnan-Tibet road, from Kunming to Lhasa. A fantastic time had by all, despite miserable weather in the beginning, and a few upset stomachs.

I made an attempt to cycle around Hawaii's Big Island whilst on a photovoltaic conference there. Unfortunately I fell sick and turned back before I could complete the trip so I wouldn't risk missing my flight back to Australia. Moral of the story: allow enough time for things to go wrong!

Finally, our newest member to the team, Joff Sommerfeld, is in the middle of his penny farthing world tour. Currently riding down the East coast of Australia, on his way to the Penny Farthing world championships in Tasmania. From there he will head to New Zealand, before joining B2P in Beijing

Charity fundraising

Faustina Urassa and her daughter from Tanzania

We decided to try raise money for the wheelchair charity Motivation. Motivation work in many developing countries to support people with mobility disabilities.

In the last few weeks I have been calling potential event sponsors, mostly in Australia and NZ. Ulla kindly translated our proposal into German and contacted some German companies, and Rhonda offered to contact companies in the UK. Ting translated our sponsor page and charity page into Chinese.

Unfortunately none of this raised any money yet, and we are not going to continue looking for corporate sponsors. The new strategy is to cencentrate entirely on generating media coverage, and have sponsors apply to us. This may not work either, but at least it shouldn't draw our attention away from planning and promoting the trip. Members of the general public can also donate to Motivation directly via a link from our website.

Press Coverage

We still haven't made any formal press statements. The first is planned for March when I set off on a test ride from Adelaide to Melbourne. However Ting has been giving us significant press exposure whilst promoting her book. Well done Ting! This week she had an interview with the China Times, and promised to send regular updates during the event.

Partners, routes and start dates

It is looking like we definately have enough people committed for both 10 June and 10 April starts now, with a fairly even mix between those heading north for Mongolia, and those going the Central Asia routes. If you haven't done so already, please notice we have a facilities to register your plans on our discussion group page (partners list, start date poll, route poll, and the files page for individual plans). Thank you to those who have already participated in this.

Border crossings, and latest info

Tibet: There are unconfirmed rumours on a number of websites that foreigners can enter Tibet without special permission from 1 October 2006. This was supposed to have come from the provincial governor. However Ting was in Tibet in October and says foreign cyclists are still being arrested. So we are not sure about this.

China-Mongolia: No new news here, as far as we know this is still possible to cycle, though no reliable info.

Mongolia-Russia: Again no new news here, as far as we know you will need to take the train for the border crossing, and can get off at the next stop.

China-Kyrgystan: Definitely possible via the Irkeshtam Pass, and definately one of the most scenic ways to leave China. No reports of major difficulties from cyclists.

China-Kazakhstan: Definitely possible, though expect a long frustrating day. I have read of two seperate groups making this crossing. Also be expected to be required to take a bus for 500m between border posts.

Kazakhstan-Russia: Looks like a choice between Astrahan in the south, if you want to see the Caspian Sea, or Uralsk-Saratov further north, which is 120km shorter route.

Visas

If you haven't started already, now would be a good time to prepare your visa applications. I have put what information I could find on the files section of our discussion area.

The most critical visa is the Russian one. The problem is we need to specify the entry and exit date, so careful thought needs to be put into when you will arrive at the Russian border. You can enter or leave any time within those dates, but the maximum length of this visa is only one month. So for example if you arrive two weeks late, then you have only two weeks left to cross Russia. Vladimir from the Russian Cycle Touring Club, can help you apply for the longer, but more expensive "business visa" if need be.

Olly's R&D program

Fong Huo Leung

The final computer-aided design is complete and I have started making the plug for the fairing. All the materials have either been ordered or have already arrived.

It is a simpler design to the one I was thinking of 11 months ago, and I am reasonably confident it will work. It is now a full suspension short-wheelbase configuration, with a composite fairing that serves as a seat, aerodynamic streamlining, luggage capacity and a mudguard. In transit the entire bike can fold into the fairing to become a box no more than 1050x800x500mm in size. Download complete plans

We have been having more success with our existing recumbents also. I have finally sorted out the seat problems with my prototype FHL-1, the secret was a small piece of sponge I found lying beside the road.

Future plans

For Ting and I our most immediate priorities are building our two bikes and generating some mass media coverage. We are aiming to make our first major press releases late February or early March, and go on a test ride in Australia. We would still like to find media representitives in the countries we ride through, particularly France, Russia and China. If anybody can help with this please let us know.

Merry Christmas and happy new year to all!

Olly