Kevin Swains
Travel Website
This is Kev's Travel Blog
Travels 2004

Arrived in Delhi at the begining of June. Cycled around Kinnaur and Spiti, hugging the Chinese/Tibetan border before joining the awesome and legendary Leh Manali road passing over two 5000m+ passes including the Taglang La, the worlds second highest motorable road at 5328m abv sea level on the way to Leh.
Stayed a few days in touristy Leh, a Himalayan town at 3500m above sea level before cycling the Khardung La at 5602m, the highest motorable road in the world. 
From Leh I headed westward to the green and fertile but also troublesome Kashmir and holed up in Srinagar for a few weeks to rest and to try to put on some weight after losing 10kg.
Then headed south by bus through the very hot and busy Kashmir Valley to  Amritsar, the home of the Sikhs.
From Amritsar I headed into Pakistan to Lahore and then to the amazing border city of Peshawar, the Kyber Pass and the staggering gun workshops of Darra Adem Khel, after which I headed northwards to Chitral over the Lawori Pass, then eastwards over the Shandoor pass to Gilgit, a nondescript town with one of the best chillouut gusethouses on the travelscene.
From here northwards the scenery is simply stunning as the KKH winds it's way through 7000m mountains and glaciers almost touching the road. The Pakis like to call the KKH the eigth wonder of the world and it seems a fair enough claim?
Cycled to the magnificent glacier and basecamp of Rakoposhi, probably the first ascent by bicycle, then onwards to the tourist centre piece in the Northern Areas, Karimabad.
North from Karimabad the mountains soar upwards taking ones breath away.
At the border town of Sost I headed west to the newly opened to tourism Chapursan Valley and the Pakistan/Afghanistan border and this vallet remains the highlight of my trip.
Finally I made it to the Khunjerab marking the border with China. I saw this point as the final challange before heading downhill back to Gilgit where I sold my bike and enjoyed the easy but boring life of bus tourism.
On my way back to India I checked out the spectacle of the flag lowering ceromony on the Indian/Pak border before making my way to Delhi then Bangkok before heading back to England for a few weeks visit.

If all goes well I'll post a travel log as I go including plenty of photos, so please keep calling back for a look.

Me chillin out at the river Qwai 

I'd travelled several times before during the preceding years. I'd had some very good times, met many incredible people, saw heaps of awesome places, came down with the most miserable and yet incredible tropical diseases, lost 16Kg,  but one thing was missing...ADVENTURE.

OK, so when I first started to travel everything was an adventure, the sights, the smells, the less than impressive hotels and the awful hygiene were often very confronting. Then after a while it all kinda turns normal and one forgets to appreciate the life that’s around oneself. I knew it was happening, it happens to everyone eventually when one spends enough time in any culture.

I’d actually become a different person on my previous travels. I’d learnt many things about myself, about others and about the world and I didn’t want it to stop. My travel style needed to change to allow for me to learn more about myself and I had to get off the beaten track to meet a different kind of local. No more busses, no more timetables, no more searching for the cosiest guesthouse and no more choosing the cleanest restaurant. I will take what I can find and I will learn to appreciate it.

And so here I am in Thailand killing a few days while my recently purchased MTB from cash converters makes its way to Delhi. Thinking about the task ahead of me and if I'll be able to pull it off or if it's all too out of my depth. I'd seen many a foreigner riding his bike through the Himalaya and it seemed a most natural way to go about things. If they can do it then so can I....