2wheels, the return: Edward Genochio's bike expedition across Asia to England

2wheels: The Return

Edward Genochio's bicycle expedition from China to England

September 2005 - November 2006

Sponsored by Decathlon China

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Mongolian Horseman Stole My Bicycle!

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The 2wheels expedition book:

- 'But Isn't There a Bus?' - details here.

2wheels is sponsored by:

- Decathlon China
- Drennan Co Shanghai
- Eclipse Internet
- P&O Ferries

2wheels supports:

- CereCare Centre
- Sustrans
- Force Cancer Care
- The Lotus Project
- The Wheelchair Foundation

Other writing by Edward Genochio:

- Some snippets
- In Voyage Magazine
- In The Adventure Cycling Handbook

Read the 2wheels latest:

- The 2wheels expedition blog

Send a message to 2wheels:

- Post your comments here
- Email me here here

Beyond 2wheels:

- Some links to other websites

Are you a journalist?

- Get the 2wheels media pack here

2wheels in the future:

- Some map-gazing ideas

Pretty pictures:

- The original 2wheels photo archive

The original 2wheels expedition site:

- 2004-5 from England to China

As seen / heard in:

- 2wheels media credits

2wheels websiteography:

- 2wheels sitemap
- Historical and technical notes on the 2wheels website

Krasnoyarskiy Kray, Siberia, Russia


Tuva, Siberia, Russia

Horses, Mongolia

Baikal, Siberia, Russia

Hop off

Priyanik, half-eaten (by me), Kyakhta, Russian-Mongolian border. Shortly after this photograph was taken, the other half was eaten. Also by me.

Buryatia, Russia

Roadsign in Tuva, Russia

Tuva, Russia

The sky, I think


Real men

This article first appeared in The Adventure Cycling Handbook, available in bookshops or at www.trailblazer-guides.com, and is reproduced here in edited form by kind permission of the book's editor.

If you're riding in Russia, there's a good chance that someone will invite you in for a banya - a traditional Russian sauna. No matter that at home you might think twice before accepting an offer to work up a sweat over a few beers and a spot of light sado-masochism with a burly Russian woodcutter: never turn down a banya invitation. These things have magical restorative properties. I had been flogging into the wind all day somewhere in the southern Urals. Eight hours in the saddle and I was all but spent, ready to find a camp-spot and call it a day. I stopped in a village seeking bananas for a quick carbohydrate fix, too tired to contemplate cooking dinner. Instead I found Aleksey, who insisted that he fire up his banya for me. An hour later when I emerged, I'd sweated out all the day's tiredness and aches, and felt ready to ride another eight hours. It was like getting two days in one.

It's standard practice in a Russian banya to give your fellow bathers vigorous beatings with bundles of birch branches. This is supposed to encourage the pores to open and ensure a deeper cleansing. It is also fun, some people think.

Siberians, though, who enjoy living up to their reputation as Russia's hard men, think birch branches are for wimps. Real men - or real Siberians, anyway - like to be beaten with giant Siberian stinging nettles. The odd thing is that it feels so good. The nettles do their stinging stuff, but within a few minutes the pain soothes into an all-over body tingling that lasts for several days. I'll never go back to boring old birch.

Of course, if you visit Siberia in winter, there may not be any stinging nettles available. Real men just have to make do with a refreshing dip in Lake Baikal instead - in swimming holes cut through the ice.

Copyright © 2005 Edward Genochio

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Copyright © 2003, 2004, 2005 Edward Genochio
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