Cycling a desert track in Mongolia. Cycle tour of Mongolia | Crank and Cog.
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Mongolia-Tosontsengel to Ulgii

  An inviting gate on the way into Tosontsengel. A quadrent of hanging horse sculls.
  Idillic campsite, we thought we were in the middle of nowhere in this wooded hillside until an old man came rolling silently on his motorbike and offered us blueberries he picked in the woods and then just as silently rolled away.

 View of the world from an insects perspective…
  Hmmm which way? We brought a garmin for navigation but have never used it. We’ve found that the free offline maps on out iPhones are better. We can charge them with Ciaran’s Dynamo hub so we don’t have to carry heavy batteries.

Telmen lake. A salt lake in the desert.

 First puncture on Ciaran’s back tyre. The rocky roads tore the weak side walls to shreds. Luckily he packed some sugru which was a lifesaver for patching it up. We only brought one spare tyre between us.

 We met this lovely English gentleman along the way, who gave us advice on the road ahead, “ye’re mad as hatters traveling these roads on a bike!” Said in a lovely West Country accent.
 Heading across a desert area. Even the camels were parched with the thirst!

  Sweaty selfie!
  A rocky decent to small Ulgii.

 The taste of summer, juicy and sweet watermelons sold on the side of the road.

 Rubbish collection day at Ulgii Nuur. He ate our teabags and watermelon skins.

Bike committee meeting on the steppe!

Once we went off road the bridges disappeared.

Trying to decide which route is the least sandy!

  Along certain stretches, the landscape was so flat and monotonous, the only thing that broke the monotony was these km signposts. It almost felt like a little victory every time we passed one!

The road is so corrugated in parts that it looks like a railway track and cycling along is like sitting on a jack hammer.

We found an oasis by the river but it was actually hell because it was plagued with mosquitos.

These kids spied us from miles away and cycled over to inspect our bikes. We can be thankful our brooks saddles are a tad more comfortable than theirs!

All set for the desert. I’ve managed not to get sunburnt yet which is a miracle. Achitt Nuur in the background.

Some sort of animal enclosure by the lake.

Lunar landscape.

We are getting very skinny and looking forward to some decent grub.

Got stuck at this oasis for 2 days because we were sick from unfiltered water. It was torture because we were only 60km from our final destination in Mongolia.

The last ovoo we passed before reaching Ulgii which marks the end of the Mongolian leg of our journey. From Ulgii we have arranged a jeep to take us across the Russian border to Kosh-Agach. But not before we relax and recover in Blue Wolf, a ger camp in the city.

The light seeping into our ger.


Total distance so far 1816km

Tosontsengel to Ulgii August 6 – 24

Total days on the road 40

Lost count of snickers eaten but it’s well in the hundreds now

4 punctures to date, one spare tube needed, Ciaran’s tyre on its last legs

1 Comment so far

  1. Alison

    Hi Laura. I’m enjoying following ye on your amazing trip and wish u & ciaran a safe and food filled next leg of your journey. Snickers Abu


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