Nomadic Dreams – Mongolia

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© Gary Thomas 2014

Mongolia the land of the famous Genghis Khan, a country slightly larger than France with only three million people, making it the lowest population density in the world (this statistic is made for me!)

Nomadic life is still the life style of many Mongolians, moving their ger,(round tent) their family and all their goods where ever they are needed depending on the season.

We were very lucky to be invited here by our dear friend Christopher Giercke and his Mongolian wife Enkhe. They own a tented summer polo club in the Orkhon valley (literally in middle of nowhere – forget electricity, phone or internet, here you find nature in its most primitive form and beauty.) Their goal is to reintroduce polo to Mongolia by helping young local kids to play the sport…

It is difficult to imagine that it was from this actual valley that hundreds of years ago, Mongolia started one of the biggest empires in history. Horses and archery were the ultimate weapons at that time (A little less efficient nowadays…)

I’ve never been a big fan of horses myself but I assume from watching these kids galloping full speed on their horses in the middle of the steppe. That they have a wonderful feeling of freedom. So what about riding a bike there ?

Honestly, in a land of horses, I feel a little bit alone with my Meta Hip-hop, even if I quickly find some interest from the rare locals people that I meet.

Nomadic life means a small impact and little trace on nature. We were looking to ride single tracks but we found none of them. The hills are totally virgin, not one trace or track, just grass and rocks….and so many hills as far as the eye can see.

In beginning you feel very intimidated by this huge space in front of you, you’re lost in its immensity, shy, you loose your confidence, your mark, you don’t know which way to go… Then you realize that you can go where ever you want, choose the least steep way to climb, then at the top you have an unlimited choice of line. You discover a unique feeling of freedom that I have never encountered before.

This is the reason I ride a mountain bike, this feeling that you can escape, at least for a while, the reality of this world, returning life to this simple pleasure of being free.
In Mongolia I definitely found it.

Thanks to all the members of the Giercke family for your hospitality, it is so refreshing to meet passionate people who like to share what they have. Big thanks to Commencal for making the most fun and reliable bike to ride.

Tangi