Fellow Fauxbos

big group

Cycling the world might seem like a lonely task, but in fact there are thousands of people with feet just as itchy as mine pedaling around the globe at any given moment.  Sign up for www.couchsurfing.com or www.warmshowers.org and one will probably pull up at your house within a couple of weeks.   Sometimes they travel solo, sometimes in pairs, and sometimes in amorphous groups that shrink and expand depending on the circumstances.  Below are my bestest cycle buddies, people with whom I’ve not only crossed paths but shared serious road time.

Mingyu Lee / 밍규리

2013-11-09 Mingyu 002b

Cycled together from August until October 2012 in east China, then again in January 2013 in Taiwan, then again in Autumn 2013 in Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam.

Not only a conspirator, but an inspirator as well,  Mingyu had been planning a cycle trip for a couple of years and was slated to quit his job at the organic R&D firm just about the same time I was going to wind down my contract with the junior college in Korea.  Within a few days of meeting, we had agreed to start our journeys together.  We were both happy to have some company and backup, and we boarded a boat for China on August 14th, 2012.   The rest is history…in the making.

Awesome photos and stories at http://mingyulee.tistory.com.  Hope you can read Korean.

 

Xiang Liang

2012-10-11 to Zhengzhou 010

Cycled together for three weeks (along with Mingyu) in September/October 2012.

Met on the road heading south from Beijing and rode together through Henan and several other provinces.  He was a kickass interpreter and wrangled up fantastic meals and great deals on hotels during our time together.  Also an eager student of English and a great Chinese teacher.  Yi lu shen feng, pengyou!

 

Achuan

2012-10-25 to Jiujiang 012

Cycled together for ten days in October 2012.

A young Chinese guy cycling around, supporting himself by setting up shop at universities and selling cute little dolls with messages about following your dreams.

 

Zara / Honorable Elder Turtle Brother / (자라 형님)

2013-04-04 to Yulongxueshan 080

Cycled together for two weeks in April 2013, from Kunming to Shangrila in Yunnan, China.

Zara’s wife, who I just called “Cyclist Sister” for several months until I learned her real name, was the one who invited me to my first Daegu Bicycle Parade event.  She also clued me in to the existence of Vegetarian Dinner Night and the Green Consumers Network, and so essentially was the key to all my eco-friendly connections in Daegu.  Shortly before I left Korea, she and Zara flew to Spain and started cycling eastward; they were together all the way to Turkey, at which point she flew home and he kept on truckin’.  Our paths crossed in Kunming about six months into my trip and ten months into his.

 

The Little Crickets

2013-03-29 to Xiangyun 002b

Cycled together for about a week in April 2012, from Kunming to Dali.

A group of five Chinese youngsters (plus one more we picked up along the way) living the dream and riding all the way from Kunming to Lhasa.  Of the many things I will remember about them, the most prominent is how they taught me that the word for diarrhea in Chinese slang is “butt barf.”

 

Chris Buchman (홍밤수)

Cycled together from October 2013 until present in Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, and Northeast India.

Chris is an old friend from Daegu.  He left for grad school while I was still teaching there and frequently advised me to try a cycle trip rather than following in his footsteps.  If not for his pestering/support, I probably wouldn’t have had the guts to join Mingyu way back when.  About a year into my trip, just as I was reaching southeast Asia, Chris was wrapping up some work in Thailand.  We joined forces and have yet to throttle one another.

Chris is cycling to raise money for Liberty in North Korea, an organization that helps escaped North Korean refugees make better lives.  Check out his website http://www.fromatobe.com.  Donate and spread the word!

 

Minsung Kim (김민성)

2013-11-11 to Phu Yen 027

Cycled together from October 2013 until June 2014 in Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, and Northeast India.

An old friend of Mingyu’s, Minsung saved up diligently while reading Mingyu’s blog and decided to join us about a year into the trip.   He says that he’s long dreamed of visiting Myanmar, India, Nepal, Tibet, and Mongolia.  Two down, three to go!

 

Mirek and Katja

2014-05 Myanmar from Chris 101

Cycled together from November 2013 until July 2014 in Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, and Northeast India

The crème de la crème of world nomads – they’ve been cycling for twelve years and were hitchhiking and traveling by other means for years before that.  There’s no official count for how many countries they’ve crossed or kilometers they’ve ridden.  Katja’s got more gear than me and Mirek’s got more than both of us combined.  They support themselves by stopping in tourist enclaves and selling natural handmade jewelry.  I met them in Hanoi in March 2013; we were heading in different directions but kept in touch and wound up reuniting (again in Hanoi) later that Autumn.

Check their blog at http://www.cyclingnomads.org/2nomads/ or friend Katja on facebook if you want to buy any of their wonderful wares.

 

Daniela Bosch

2014-06-07 to Makhan 013

Cycled together in May and June 2014 in Myanmar and Northeast India.

Daniela met Katja and Mirek at a party in Bangkok, heard about our plans to cycle Myanmar, and went to the embassy the very next day to get her visa sorted.  She had previously done two other short (i.e. month-long) cycle tours in Southeast Asia.  Now she’s at home getting ready for the next one.

 

 

I would also be remiss not to mention the following two dudes, whom I’ve never ridden with but who changed my life nonetheless…

 

Pablo Garcia Gomez

2010-08-21 Pablo 002

 

In addition to being the first every cycle tourist I met, Pablo was also my very first couchsurfing guest.  He’s been on the road for a decade and over 100,000 kilometers, and the fact that he was a normal guy that I could sit down and have a meal with (as opposed to some superstar athlete sort of fellow) must have planted some sort of seed in me.  About two years after he paid me a visit, I set out on a journey of my own.

http://www.theworldbybike.com/

Alvaro Neil, the Bicyclown

 

bicicown

Another cyclist who visited me through couchsurfing.  He had met Pablo on the road and even exchanged sleeping bags with him, so it was actually the second time that that sleeping bag had been used on my living room floor.  This was my first experience with the oddities and coincidences of long-term travel.  Alvaro cycles with ungodly amounts of gear, much of it related to his professional clowning; he travels around giving performances at schools, orphanages, jails, and elsewhere.  Amazing guy, cycling for a cause, also on the road for a decade and 130,000km and counting.

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4 Responses to Fellow Fauxbos

  1. Andy says:

    Impressive list. One of these days I need to join you for a while so I can be added.

    • Michael Roy says:

      For sure. Just so you know, at least one full week of cycling companionship is required to make it on to the Fellow Fauxbos list.

      Or, if you’d like the express route, a contribution of a mere $20 a month will buy you a photoshopped spot in the 3RR annals of fame. Your call.

  2. Namaste Mike,
    Thanks so much for your blog. You do a great job. You do it so quickly. Amazing
    It was so nice to see your travel in Myanmar.
    Could you go without a government guy to the border or some one come follow you with a bike ?
    We are really waiting for the next pictures on the north-east of India.
    If you are sitll in the north east go to see the living bridges in Megalayas state.
    Take care.

    • Michael Roy says:

      Toni and Clo! You back home already? Such a short trip 😛 Sorry we didn’t get to connect in India – it took me and Chris two months just to make it from Moreh to Guwahati. You can bet we’ll come find you in Switzerland someday…and if you ever want to come spend some time planting trees, you know where to find me^^

      We had no trouble at all making it from Tamu to Moreh. We just ordered (and paid for) the the permit from Seven Diamonds in Yangon, and everything was waiting for us when we arrived at Tamu a few weeks later on the last day of our visa. It took them a little while to fill out the papers for the six of us, but in the end we cycled across pretty uneventfully. Thanks for scouting it out for us in advance! The immigration people on the other side told us that foreigners cross there almost every week and that we were far from the first cyclists. Who knew???

      Glad to count you among my readers. The front page has a few ways to subscribe if you want to make sure not to miss any updates. Happy travels at home and keep in touch!