Tim Cope and Chris Hatherly spent 14 months cycling recumbent bicycles from Moscow to Beijing across Siberia… frostbitten toes, mosquitoes, broken bicycles, hunger, thirst, vodka, and hospitality were just some of the things they encountered along the way living their dream.
A 52 Minute film was made and broadcast in Australia about this journey, and the DVD was sold out but will soon be available.
“In late 1999, Chris Hatherly and Tim Cope were on the fringe of Russia’s north-west contemplating our decision to ride together Across Russia to Beijing. We were 20 years old, had abandoned our university degrees and had met each other for the first time in over a year. Ahead lay the forests of Siberia, the Gobi desert of Mongolia and the far away land of China.
All in all, we knew the temperatures would drop to at least -40 below in winter, and had been told about the terrible mosquitoes of Summer. However the details were very few and far between. We approximated that it would take 12-18 months, and on that basis had a budget of around $3 (Australian) a day.
A sense of overewhelming uncertainty washed over me: I had never ridden a ‘recumbent bike’ before, and had no idea whether we had bitten off more than we could chew. Fourteen months and 10,000km later we rolled onto Tiananmen square. In the time since we had departed the small city of Petrozavodsk we had endured frostbite, pushed 1000km along the world’s most remote railway, gritted ourselves through the Gobi and even been arrested in China.
However, above all of this we had also met countless people and been priveleged to gain insight into the fabric of their lives and country. There was Baba Galya who had taken us in for 10 days after frostbite, the Chuginovs in Siberia who had repaired a smashed hub for us, and the nomads of Mongolia who invited us into their mobile homes with open arms. Despite many conflicts, Chris and I had also settled into camp every night realising that we were living this dream and not just talking about it over a beer.”