Bike Touring Series: 1,300 Miles Across Asia on Folding Bikes

When Pam Bennett met Nateon Ajello, he’d just completed a 10,000-mile bike tour to South America. If sparks were going to fly, bikes would be involved — and they were. The couple, who married in 2012, quickly banged off relatively short, weeklong tours — Milan to Genova, Italy; Massachusetts to Vermont; and Cancún to Belize — but they wanted something longer, more challenging. And so they committed themselves to riding from India to Bhutan.

They carved out a month in April and May, then set about planning. People have ridden crazy long distances on unconventional bikes, and rather than traditional tourers fitted with, say, S+S couplings, they chose custom steel folding bikes from Bike Friday. Having just four weeks, and not wanting to rush every day, the bikes were picked so the couple could collapse and carry them on trains and buses to leapfrog some sections. Nateon custom-rigged a rack for their packs, and on April 8 they landed in New Dehli.

“The first day was so difficult,” said Pam, who has an early moment of stress on camera. “I felt ill, I was coughing up something black, maybe soot, and I was overwhelmed by the heat and population density.”

Culture shock, travel shock. The two forged on, despite and because of the foreignness, and finished in Bhutan on May 10.

“By the end, didn’t want to leave,” Pam said. “I felt connected, like part of a giant organism of bikes, motorcycles, ox-carts, rickshaws, cars, and trucks. To step away from the spirited people of India, Nepal, and Bhutan – of people who recognize the divinity in other people — to come back to the US, that was a shift. Culture shock.”

This video is the journal of their journey. Enjoy!

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