(Correne Coetzer) South African cyclist, De Bruyn Joubert, finished the third of his seven continents crossings. Since August 30, 2013 he completed Australia, crossed Europe, and continued through the Middle East and Asia.
In his latest 9 month-stage, De Bruyn covered 25,000km through Turkey, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Mongolia and China, spending the Winter days on his bicycle and sleeping in his favorite tent during freezing nights.
Explorersweb caught up with him in the Philippines where he was spending time planning his next stage. In a blog post about route finding this Asian stage, he says, “I have set points/cites/towns where I’m heading towards, and how I get there does not really matter. I keep changing routes, roads etc as I go on a weekly basis”; routes and roads that led him through incredible nature and into a hostage situation.
Exweb: You chose really cold countries to cross with your bicycle in winter. What motivated you to do those countries in winter?
De Bruyn Joubert: The challenge and preparation… Does not matter where I go on my adventure, I like to challenge myself on a daily basis in different kinds of terrains and temperatures. I’ve never experienced temperatures below -20°C and it's always been a dream of mine to adventure around in -40 below.
On the other side, it was the second preparation stretch for Antarctica.
ExWeb: Coming from South Africa, you are definitely not use to those temperatures, in fact not use to snow where you live. How did you cope with the cold?C
De Bruyn: I believe if you have the correct mindset, you can do anything you like and go wherever you want to go. It was something to get use to and adjust to, the cold temperatures, but the previous winter leg through Europe helped a lot and I have done tons of research. When I got there all my gear was sorted and just had to get use to how and when to use what.
ExWeb: This was very much a lonely route in remote and unknown countries to most Westerners. How did you cope with being alone in remote areas? What was the longest stretch that you haven’t seen people?
De Bruyn: I loved it to be honest. Being in the middle of nowhere… Just you and the nature is something I love! There was a stretch in Mongolia where I did not see people for 3 days and once no cars for a week. One thing I realized was that even in some of the remote parts in the world, there are still people (mostly farmers) that are still living in the extreme weather and locations.
ExWeb: Interesting people you met?
De Bruyn: I can’t name one person in particular. But what I can say is that Central Asia, Siberia and Mongolia had very interesting people all around. The language barrier is high and with this you really meet interesting people in all kinds of remote locations.
ExWeb: Were there times that you felt unsafe?
De Bruyn: There was one situation in Mongolia where drunk people held me “hostage” for an hour, hitting me and threatening me with a knife. After an hour I manage to get out of their Ger, jump on the bike and drive away without any big problems. This was the only real time I felt unsafe throughout my adventure.
ExWeb: What did you carry in you panniers? That is not a lot you could take. What are your favorite items?
De Bruyn: In the winter I carried a lot more than in the summer. I was also testing different products, clothing and gear. So this meant carrying even more than I was supposed to.Around 55kg without food and water. All of this include electronics, camping gear, cooking equipment, repairing kits and clothing.
My favorite items is still things I can’t go without… Leatherman, Buff’s, my Canon camera gear (for documenting the adventure) and a new item I added… Hilleberg Tent.
ExWeb: You have been through amazing countries, on your own, exposed to Nature every moment of the day, what did you learn about geography, nature, people and yourself?
De Bruyn: Being out there by myself in very remote locations of the world has a big impact on learning more about yourself and in what kind of ways you can push yourself. Does not matter where you are, in what country, there is always incredibly beautiful nature…. You should just sit back, open your eyes and take everything in.
ExWeb: Anything else?
De Bruyn: I am very fortunate to have great partners onboard to make this adventure a success, so please go to my website & blog to read more about them at www.debruynjoubert.com.
I am also on the verge of setting a date on the Antarctica leg and are extremely exited about this leg and expedition. Please visit my Facebook page (www.facebook.com/around7continents) or Twitter (https://twitter.com/DeBruynJoubert) and follow the next legs of my five-year journey.
Follow his blog in the News Feed on Explorersweb and his Tracker here.
Data May 29, 2015
Middle East and Asian Countries:
- Start date: June 30, 2014
- End Date: March 30, 2015
- Winter countries: Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Siberia & Mongolia)
- Middle East and Asian countries: Turkey, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Mongolia and China
- Coldest temperature: -38°C (Coldest feel temp was -45°C)
- Warmest temp: 50°C
- Distance travelled: 25 000km
Next continent is North America. Entry point, Deadhorse, Northern Alaska, in the next day or two.
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