Some answers are in the singular some in the plural person – depending wheter only I answer for me or am speaking in our common sense!
Why have you done this tour?
We like to get to know new countries and habits of living, to see and understand a little bit of foreign cultures; The flavor of adventure you get travelling abroad (of Europe) of course gives a kick, too. Another motivation is to test ourselves in view on physical and psychological endurance – that´s why we did this trip that fast – it´s a sporty motivation as well.
A last point why we went on bike: by bicycle you have the perfect compromise between getting foreward and see things – and you move very healthy and most ecological correctly you can: by your own power!
It wasn`t our first experience of this kind: we did tours of 6000 kms before, but always within Europe.
Would you do the same tour another time?
That soon I won´t repeat this tour, but perhaps 10 years later. Yes. But better
spoken: if you´d turn back time, I´d do the same tour, same partner, everything as it was – except for some few changes – another pass to China, there´d be music..
Will you go another time with a partner ?
In general yes, and with Michael Giefer, too – we were a good team! But I like to
make experience with such a great distance only on my own as well.
Why did you go that fast?
We liked to go fast on bike – the tours before we had in average 150 kms a day and this time 120, so we just like going that fast.
Furtermore it helped to satisfy the State of Germany that liked me to do my consciousness objector´s job as soon as possible.
Was there a moment you felt unsafe?
We still guess that there maybe was hardly a real dangerous moment. Nevertheless I – personally – was afraid of the thunderstorm in the forests of Romania. Jesus! I tought I had to die…
How did you stay in touch with friends?
Actually we both had these four month almost no contact to our friends.
What was the hardest moment on this trip?
As I was sick I had some different hard moments suffering of diarrhea and of the heat of turkey, iran and turkmenistan. We both found the 1000 km Takla-Makan-Desert of bad and sandy gravel extreme hard.
It was exhausting and there was always the some hot spiced food. Nudles. We were suffering of monotoniousness..
What was “normal” life like back home again ?
My parents told that right in Beijing where they welcomed us, I was a bit “off the ground” and had to get “normal” again After Transsiberian Railway (= 8 days of meditation pure) I guess I arrived well prepared for normal life. Although we never moved to far apart from european civilisation because we were always talking of european matters like girls, material things and our personal wishes of life-style…
Was there any part of the trip you felt lonely – what was it like with the partnership?
With Michael Giefer, my tandem partner from the beginning, I have been few time before and we were both afraid of problems with each other; but we got along quite well. Of course we didn´t talk all the time, but I didn´t feel lonley. Now we still meet at least twice a year to talk. We are quite special friend now.
How could you convince your parents of doing or even financiating that trip?!
It wasn´t my first trip and I´ve always been showing that I am reliable and able to look for myself.
When the family saw the contineous growing of the preparation (for the tour) they all were ambitious to join it.
How much time did you have to invest before – Preparation, buerocrazy?!
It took us 3/4 of a year untill we started. The first point was one of the most important bicycle fairs in Colon where we tried and succieded to find sponsors. Without them giving the material free we wouldn´t have gone on planning this trip…
What was the total cost of the trip and how did you finance it ?
In total it cost about 4500 Dm for me, so roundabout 2300 USD, which was provided by my whole family.
The sum covers a bit material, the visa, the food during the tour and the ticket of Transsib (and visa again)
Did you have to repair a lot ?
Well, together we had 7 punctures on 14 400 km with four tires – better it can´t be. Due to the fact that Germany´s Bicycle market is one of the strongest and best equiped it wasn´t hard to collect the different good parts. Except for the front carrier for which I am still haven´t found an reliable solution everything was very fine..it´s just a list of things you have to order and put together (well) !
How it was with cleaning – clean – drinking water (did you use tablets) and with laundry
On the list of luggage you can see that we had both: filter and tablets.
Compared to the South America Trip we filterd only few, but drank a lot of bought or seemingly “secure” water – on this way there was quite often times security given by chlorine in water put by the state.
How did you handle your films ?
We used slides of 100 ASA only. As Michael had some good relations to the different
German Ambassies we could let them be sent back home with the security that no film will be x-rayed (“Diplomatic Postage”). On the way back home from my 2001 trip some film got x-ray- “wholes”, which appear to be like stars on heaven…but if you have one of these white spots right on the cheak of an indian face it´s really anoying!
Are you planning to write down any book ?
As I am usually to lazy to write down anything: rather not. Michael did it; so far his book isn´t available.
Maybe I´ll once translate it..
How long have you had to train before you were able to ride more than 120 km every day ?
I personally never had a driving licence, so that I always go by bike; in that times (of school e.g.)
I had some 6000 km a year; then you have a solid base of condition and just have to get to the specific condition during the ride.
Spoken a bit more sophisticated: for example on my ´98 trip through Iberic Pensinsula (43 days, 6200 km; daily around 40° C, good food and water supply) I had to adopt rather to high temperatures than to bad food supply like on the beijing trip..In generally I would start any tour without specific training before as far as I know that I have about 2 weeks of getting used to the circumstances of that tour.
How was travelling through Iran and former republic of russia…any specific problem !?
Exactly of these countries we were afraid. But in fact we did not have any problem! Iran definetly was the most hospital country; Former Russian States weren´t no problem neither…
How many chains have you used?
We carried with the installed one 3 chains per person: to change every 1000 kms because in this way you can keep the state of deterioration of the whole system equal: in this way a sprocket set could keep up to 15 000 kms. If you wait untill the chain is worn out (after 6000 km more or less) the sprocktes and chainrings are outworn as well.