Whether your preferred bike is a mountain bike, a BMX or trick bike, a road bike, a tandem or a hybrid bike, a unicycle or any other kind of bike, or whether you ride a motor bike, a trike, a scooter or a horse, why not get behind the Dementia Foundation for Spark of Life and dedicate one of your rides as a special fundraising event for this foundation.
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David Wren from Melbourne Australia has done numerous bicycle rides around the world to fundraise for Dementia Foundation for Spark of Life.
‘I invite you to follow me on my next journey riding through Pakistan in 2019 and donate to the important work of the Dementia Foundation for Spark of Life.’
China and Pakistan August 23rd – September 16th 2019
The attraction to navigating my way on a bicycle through a completely different culture has hit me again. After a couple of months of finalising visas and working out the finer details, it’s all systems go for a trip that I’m very excited about. The Karakoram Highway has, for many centuries, been a big part of the Silk Road lifeline between China and the sub-Continent. It’s a little less of an adventurer’s paradise as opposed to 20 years ago as the Chinese government have paved the road and the route has been cycled by many before me.
August and September means the extreme heat of mid-summer has passed and the snowfall and bitter cold have not arrived in the Northern hemisphere. The route for this year will take me up and over the Pakistan Himalayas, known as the Karakoram Mountain range, and my 56th birthday is in early September so I will schedule a day off somewhere in the mountains of the Karakoram.
Starting off in the far southwest corner of China, at a city called Kashgar, the ride will cover around 1300kms with my final destination being Islamabad, Pakistan. The first week will be mostly all uphill to the border and pedalling up and over the Khunjerab Pass, the highest border crossing in the world at 4693 meters, will be a highlight. After a grinding 400kms uphill the remainder of the route should get a little easier with only a few higher passes as I head down back down to Islamabad at 550 meters altitude.
The first part of the journey will be sparsely populated so a couple of nights camping will be required. Lake Karakul on the way up has a few locals living in Yurts and I am hoping it will be possible to stay with locals so I am really looking forward to that. Once I cross the border it should get a little easier to find places to sleep.
Kashgar to the Khunjerab Pass elevation is 3420 meters (For reference, Mt Kosciusko, the highest peak in Australia is 2228 meters above sea level). The first part of the ride will equate to riding from Sydney, Australia which is at sea level to the summit of Mt Kosciusko one and a half times. I am also expecting there may be a little bit of snow at altitude and the road here looks very similar to the Friendship highway in Tibet.
When I see a town from the angle in this photo it generally means my destination after a 10 -12 hour day on the bike is finally in sight. While it’s a very simple thing is hard to explain how great it feels. The next goal after a day’s riding is to find somewhere to stay and a place to eat. Sitting at a local restaurant or food stall and engaging with the local community is what makes the journey on a bicycle so rewarding.
There are certain parts of Pakistan that are ‘no go zones’ but my route will, for obvious reasons, stay clear of those areas. The Indian border is called the ‘Line of Control’ (see map) and are not recommended. In fact, the entire western area of the country including all border areas are considered very unsafe so my route will follow the red line detailed on the map.
Meet David when he tells about his first epic ride halfway around the world in this video.
‘My mum Althea Wren spent the last 10 years of her life with severe Dementia. During Althea’s final five years she was unable to talk or recognise family members and friends. It was hard to watch mum live this way especially when in your late sixties you should be living a full and productive life. The experience of Mum’s dementia certainly had an effect on how I looked at life and how it should be lived. As the saying goes, ‘Life is short,’ and we need to pursue or follow the things that mean something to us. The around the world rides satisfies my personal need for travel and passion for new experiences.
Along the way I came across the Spark of Life Philosophy to Dementia and could see that this profound philosophy would have made the world of difference to my mother’s life. I then decided to dedicate my rides to raising funds for the Dementia Foundation for Spark of Life.’