Tour Cycling in Mongolia- Is it Really as “Hard” as They Say?

Tour Cycling in Mongolia- Is it Really as “Hard” as They Say?

Tour Cycling in Mongolia- Is It Really as "Hard" as they say?

Written by George Balarezo, Intrepid Global Citizen

Tour cycling in Mongolia has always haunted my dreams. Dirt paths that lead to nowhere, harsh winds, summer snowfalls and nomads roaming Genghis Khan’s former terrain by horse were images that infiltrated my mind whenever I fantasized about riding my bicycle across the world’s least densely populated country.

Mongolia was sure to put my physical and mental strength to the test. Before crossing the border, other travelers who cycled or drove through the Mongolian steppe all summed up their experience in one word. “Hard” was the first adjective that came out of their mouths.

“Hard” has always been one of my favorite words in any language. Leaving my comfort zone and testing myself has been my life long goal. There is no sense in doing things the easy way. The easy way leads to boredom, complacency and regret. How hard would it actually be? Everyone has a different standard for the world “hard” but I was curious to see how I would react to my new surroundings.

Mongolian Highways- Just Tracks in the Sand

I met a Korean friend in Siberia who had just cycled across Mongolia who had difficulties with the locals. “They grabbed my bags and just started digging through it until I gave them something. I was really scared because I was in the middle of nowhere and they could have just left me for dead if they wanted to,” he said with fear in his eyes just recounting the story.

Hearing my friend’s story sent chills down my spine. I had to mentally prepare myself to adjust to a more rugged way of life upon crossing the border.

Whenever fear enters my mind, I re-frame my self talk by thinking of past accomplishments.

“I am the guy who camped outside with lions and elephants in Namibia and Botswana, cycled through the one of the world’s highest elevated roads in Tajikistan and played basketball in the roughest neighborhoods of Detroit. If people put me to the test then let them! I can handle myself in any situation the world throws at me,” I said to myself.Β 

This is my way of overcoming the scared voice in my head. That voice always tries to keep me from realizing my true potential. Every time I give myself an inspirational talk, the voice falls silent and I reemerge as a warrior ready to destroy anything in my path.

Traveling in Mongolia by bicycle was sure to be survival of the fittest in it’s rawest form. Life would become all about one thing- surviving to see the next day. This is the way humans have lived for thousands of years and only until recently have we been softened by the ways of the modern world. In my everyday life I work hard to callus my mind by pushing myself to the limit. Mongolia would serve as a playground where I could live the way human beings originally evolved. I was destined to be there.

At least I was not alone. My tour cycling companion Josh was right next to me when I crossed the border. Surely I would be a lot less vulnerable with him by my side. Power comes in numbers. We were both as giddy as children waiting for Santa Claus on Christmas Eve at the thought of entering Mongolian territory. How would this place test us and how would we react? Only time would give us the answer.

Crossing the Russia-Mongolia Border- No More Paved Roads on the Mongolian Side
Looking Rough After Cycling In Siberia

This Post Has 14 Comments

  1. After I read this article, I reflect on my past time. Because I usually have pursued my comfortable zone and have been worried about thing that I can’t do well. I’m also interesting in your Mongolia story and feeling. πŸ™‚

  2. I read your article and was really impressed to your spirit that keeping trying to move to your uncomfortable zone(hard zone). I will also try that spirit too!!

  3. In fact, everyone will dream of a solo trip, a trip to the remote region, or a bicycle trip. Dreaming is free, but few people will make direct efforts to put it into practice and eventually realize it. I think I can be encouraged to travel in real terms by reading the article by George Bararejo, who made the trip himself.

  4. After I read this article about mongolia, I was really impressed about your mind set. Before I read this article, I was scared about the word ‘HARD’. I loved safe and easy way when I did something. But I thought about my mind set that I had at past time. The word ‘Hard’ looks like scare and afraid, but it makes us grow and learn something. Like you overcame the fear before enter the national border of mongolia, I will overcome my fear about doing some hard thing. Like you, I will think “I can do this!!!!” when I face a hard thing. Thank you for wriiting good article. I repect your mind set again!!!!

  5. After I read this article about mongolia, I was really impressed about your mindset. Before I read this article, I was scared about the word “HARD”. I loved safe and easy way when I did something. But I thought about my mind set that I had at past time. The word “HARD” looks like scare and afraid, but it makes us grow and learn something. Like tou overcame the fear before enter the national border of mongolia, I will overcome my fear about doing doome hard thing. Like you, I will think “I can do this!!!!” when I face a hard thing. Thank you for writing good article. I respect your mindset again!!!!

    1. Thanks Mr. Son! You have a good mindset also! Keep up the great work!

  6. ohh it is very funny!!!

  7. It was a really good article! After I read this, I thought I should try something new and overcome fear. I want to learn your mind set. And when I feel ready, I want to go this place with bike like you!!

    1. Traveling by bike is my favorite way. If you ever want some advice let me know!

  8. Touring a new place can be quite fearful thing, but I think you have overcome it successfully. It was very impressive to read your article, especially your dream place Mongolia.

  9. I don’t like the word ‘Hard’. But I was surprised to see you looking forward to the word. I’ve come to think positively of the new challenge. And I’m impressed with your attitude of testing yourself. I support your future trip by learning the spirit of challenge through your article.

    1. Nothing is ever too hard if you really want it.

  10. I was very impressed with your adventure to Mongolia. As one person who wanted to go Mongolia, I was so jealous of you ! Traveling with bike seemed so hard but you made it πŸ™‚

  11. It was so brave for you to actually start your plans – especially when they have barriers. I have times when I feel afraid when I actually realize my dreams and my plans. Whenever I do, I’ll recall your trip in Mongolia!

Leave a Reply

Close Menu