This page was last updated Fri 10 March 2017.

Contents: Tours (14)    Nongeographical bicycling information (2)   

Reports by Igor Kovse

All descriptions are in English, unless otherwise noted.

Tours

Bogota to Quito
by Igor Kovse, tour started December 2016, submitted 10 March 2017

The need to travel ended definitely 300 years ago. At that time Gulliver in his four epic trips found everything that was still unexplored on Earth.: the islands of Liliput and Blefasku with dwarf inhabitants involved in endless wars over hard-boiled eggs, the kingdom of giants Brobdingneg, the chaotic country Balnibarbi with its lofty rulers on the floating island of Laputa and finally, the land of horses Huihnhnm's with their primitive human-like servants Yahoo's. If there is a truth in the saying that the real journey is the one from which you return changed, then the last Gulliver's journey was a hit in the black center. Literally in black, because after his return from a year's stay at honorable Huihnhnms he became pessimistic, he could not accept the coexistence with his English compatriots in which he saw only a poor cosmetic lifting of barbaric Yahoos. If you too suffer from Gulliver's syndrome, maybe from some journey or maybe you caught it at home while observing the world around you, then I have a therapy that will definitely improve your situation: go to South America.

See all 16 reports by Igor Kovse

Erzurum to Yerevan
by Igor Kovse, tour started July 2016, submitted 30 December 2016

Once in a lifetime everyone returns to the basics. For example, by asking oneself how it all began? The Big Bang theory says it all started from the singularity and in less than a second everything we know today was created, including such complex organisms as, e.g. the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology. Some people however doubt about it and, missing probably the spiritual component of the problem, resort to the age-old interpretation of the Bible. There the creator fixed everything in six days. But - surprise, surprise - just a few centuries later, the creator changes his mind and sends the Flood over his creation. They say that to err is human, but it is not really fitting for the creator. The thing was ripe for a thorough investigation, so I went along the path of Noah - to the research path in the Caucasus.

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Vardzia. Church cut into the stone.
Hanoi to Dali
by Igor Kovse, tour started October 2013, submitted 21 November 2013

If you followed reports from the ultralight cycle-touring page, than you know a certain Mr. Iik - a man with two distinctive features: he rides bicycles and he doesn't live in the town he was born. After touring for two consecutive years in a civilized manner in France, this year Mr. Iik opted for a more exotic ground: Vietnam and China. What was the motivation for such a tour, he now cannot fully recall, but the highly probable guess is that it was not to lose touch with "true" cycle touring - means adventure, cultural shock, cheap accommodation and food, stealth camping, self-sufficiency, suffering and that sort of thing.

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Karst scenery in Northeast Vietnam
200 cols tour
by Igor Kovse, tour started August 2012, submitted 7 September 2012

What was this day like? Considering that I climbed Mont Ventoux, it couldn't have been bad. It's really a fantastic climb! The legend, the magic, the must! It's the Lourdes for the cyclists of any religion. And what a descent! 21 km of mind-blowing pleasure. Enough to get me through few more cols.

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Looking from Col du Tourmalet westward
A taste of Tenerife
by Igor Kovse, tour started December 2011, submitted 27 December 2011

For Europeans, Canary Islands are a perfect winter training place.

At the end of the year, when the winter grips Europe with cold, fog and damp, the European "wannabe" racing cyclists start to panic. The hard work throughout the year and investment in developing muscles and superior VO2 is lost in just a few weeks of non activity. At that time their sad eyes turn to the south, to warm inviting places where the sun still provides much needed training, enabling that essential tenth of a second of advantage over their opponents on a club ride in the spring next year.

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Through the mist of Corona Forestal, Tenerife, Canary Islands
Over Hondered Cols to PBP
by Igor Kovse, tour started July 2011, submitted 6 September 2011

Climbing is essential to the good cycling tours. You've got the motivation to climb the pass, you celebrate the victory at the top, you have the sense of achievement and you are rewarded with the thrill of descent. All of this while riding through beautiful and diverse scenery. In this tour I was reviving these feelings tens of times per day. Frequently I was overwhelmed by the intensity of the moment, a kind of hyper-consciousness, as if I was on adrenalin drug. This was not an isolated event, an exceptionally good moment when you say ''Wow, that WAS the day!'' - on this tour all of the days were like that. I never enjoyed cycling so much for so long.

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Cycling down the Pas de Peyrol (Massif Central, France)
Who's afraid of the crocs?
by Igor Kovse, tour started August 2010, submitted 5 October 2010

It's been a long time since my last wheel revolutions in Africa. I've been avoiding the Black Continent, beating around the bush, choosing other cycling destinations, but now I can't delay it any more. Despite the headaches with obtaining the visas and nightmares about lions lurking in the tall grass beside the road, I must face the challenge. Besides, it's the last continent where my current touring bike hasn't been yet.

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Kuiseb pass, Namibi-Naukluft NP
Across North America on a Yellow submarine
by Igor Kovse, tour started July 2009, submitted 18 August 2009

The lack of traffic brings wildlife closer to the road. He sees two cranes, some kind of partridge with a crest on its head, a fox and a strange black creature the size of a big cat with long fat tail (a wolverine maybe?). There is also a bird who sings refrain 'We all live in a yellow submarine'. This becomes a hit for the rest of the tour, especially the beginning 'In the toooown, where I was boooorn, lived a maaaaan, who sailed the seeeeeas', as this is all Mr. Iik can remember from the song.

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In the Canadian praries.
Wintering in the Middle East
by Igor Kovse, tour started January 2009, submitted 19 January 2009

Early in the morning, when assembling the bike I couldn't tighten the right pedal all the way into the crank. I took a closer look and discovered few scraps of aluminum in the crank thread. Oh my God! I ruined the crank! It seemed the tour was over before it begun.

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Dead Sea
Dushanbe to Delhi, going lightweight
by Igor Kovse, tour started July 2008, submitted 20 August 2008

In the middle of the day I took refuge in the grove at the edge of the rice field. A couple of Pakistanis stopped their political debate, turned over to me and asked:

``What is the reason for your trip to Pakistan?''

``A mistake'', I replied.

See all 16 reports by Igor Kovse

On the Pamir Highway
Dolomites in September
by Igor Kovse, tour started September 2007, submitted 11 September 2007

At about 2000 m there is a turn off to a guesthouse from where I had a sight of the last 20 turns - like a rope twisted on a steep mountain wall with the top disappearing in snow mist.

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The top of the passo Giovo snow storm
Darwin to Perth
by Igor Kovse, tour started July 2007, submitted 31 July 2007

As I came to the sign ``Perth 46 km'' I become a bit sentimental. I remembered a moment on the opposite side of time and space, the end of the first day (Day 0) just outside of Darwin. I was at the kitchen of a caravan park and a young fellow asked me where I was going to. ``I'm cycling to Perth'', I said. I had a sum total of 41 km under my belt at that time. The other camper, preparing the meal at the kitchen, looked at me bewildered, thinking probably ``What is this lunatic talking about?''.

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Somewhere on endless Australian highway
A short tour to St. Gotthard
by Igor Kovse, tour started April 2007, submitted 9 May 2007

I made this short tour because of a name: my bicycle has ``St Gothard'' written on it. But Gods didn't make it easy for me. My very last kms down from St Gotthard pass were like this:

``The heat was evaporating rapidly from my wet hands, and every gallery on the way down meant a refuge like coming home. I brake intermittently with one hand, sucking the water out of the glove on the other one. Behind the road barrier I can't see anything, it's total whiteness, I'm riding through the cloud. Could be like heaven if I weren't soaked to the bones.''

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St Gothard bicycle on St Gotthard pass
Lightweight on Delhi - Manali - Leh - Kargil - Srinagar
by Igor Kovse, tour started August 2006, submitted 23 October 2006

I've cycled over a number of passes these few weeks, but if I will remember one, then it will be Zoji La. It stands between Alpine-like valleys near Sonamarg and more rugged mountain ranges of upper Kashmir. The road is cut into a steep mountain slope and it seems it's a one-way road. As a cyclist I was allowed to go in the wrong dirrection. Before that, going up to the summit, I had a sur-realistic encounter with incredible number of trucks (at least 200) that were descending the pass practicaly bumper-to-bumber. With dirt road and the headwind it ment cycling in constant dust and exhaust fumes. By the time all the trucks passed I was as white as a baker after a night's shift.

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Rhotang La

Nongeographical bicycling information

Miscellaneous Bicycle Wisdom
by Igor Kovse, , submitted 5 November 2010

Do you need to pack a bike for a flight?
Or wondering how accurate your cycling computer is?
Maybe a ticking sound from the bottom bracket is driving you crazy?
Not sure which wheels ride better, 26'' or 700C ?
You're surprised how slow you are when riding in the mountains?
Or just can't find the cause for your latest puncture?

Maybe you'll find the answer in the Miscelaneous Bicycle Wisdom page.

See all 16 reports by Igor Kovse

Average speed in the mountains
Tips for ultralight cycling
by Igor Kovse, , submitted 3 May 2010

Practically all touring cyclists seem to be weight conscious, both those who cannot survive without 40 kg of luggage, as others, who don't carry much more then a credit card. Earlier, I wrote some thoughts about weight saving on a cycling trip and for those interested, here they are.

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In Indian Himalaya, 2006