On the road out of Almaty we met Frank van Rijn – a Dutch cycling legend. He hasn't quite reached the half million km mark yet but he's getting close. He's now in his 60s and still going strong although we think some of his clothing needs updating as he spent most of our 3 days with him complaining about the terrible cold.
His website: frankvanrijn.nl details his many trips, which basically cover the whole world. He is sponsored by Gazelle (a dutch cycle maker who pay for all his flights and provide his bike), Vaude (panniers and clothes), Schwalbe (tyres) and cycles for between 6 and 9 months a year before returning to Holland to write books and present slideshows. The only thing he has that isn't sponsored, is his brown leather shoes which he insists on wearing whenever cycling.
It was great to spend time with him debating how normal he is, the likelihood of aliens, the merits of clip on cycling shoes, dogs or cats? and Buddha not needing water for 60 days, although some of his views are slightly affected by the large amount of time he spends on his bike. He hates dogs because they always chase him (he carries an ultrasonic device called a Dog Dazer) and because they bark at night when he camps near villages and they once ripped his tent apart. (We think he left food inside!)
We went with him from Almaty to Charyn gorge and it was sad to have to leave him to head for China. We hope the cold in the mountains of Kazakhstan doesn't make his life too miserable.
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