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Experience the Silk Route - on a FLYER e-bike

Journalist Andrea Freiermuth has been preparing for an adventure with our FLYER Upstreet5 on the Silk Route all the way to China. She has already successfully completed numerous trips on two wheels and is now going to face a particular challenge in late June. We interviewed Andrea to find out more about the cyclist and her love of travelling.

1. Andrea, how did you come up with the idea of travelling along the Silk Route by e-bike?

When I was 21 years old, I went on my first bike tour through the South of France. This was when my passion for bike tours was ignited. Since then I have often joked that I would like to travel across Asia on a bike - and now this running joke has become reality. As nobody so far has ever undertaken a trip of this kind on an e-bike, I would like to go on this journey on a FLYER e-bike. Just a few years ago, it still seemed impossible, but state-of-the-art technology has turned the e-bike into an ideal companion for travel adventures of any kind.

2. Why did you choose this route in particular?

The Silk Route has a rich history as a former land route connecting the Mediterranean to East Asia via Central Asia. It makes it possible to visit many different countries on the same journey. There is also a northern route through Russia, but I believe that Turkey and Iran will provide even greater variety.

3. How are you preparing for your trip?

As I am passionate about sport, I am fortunate to have a good level of basic fitness. I regularly ride my bike, mountain bike, and racing bike. In winter my training consists of long skiing tours and cross-country skiing. I have also been learning Chinese for a year so that I will be better able to communicate with the local people on my travels.

4. How long will you be travelling for?

I have split my trip into two main legs. The first leg will take me from Zurich to Tadzhikistan in six months. When it gets colder in winter, I will have a short break. I will use my winter break to see more of China and to learn about the country and its inhabitants. I will attend a local language school to improve my Chinese. I will continue with my journey in spring.

5. Where will you sleep? Will you take a tent with you or do you prefer to sleep in hotels or hostels?

As I would like to charge my FLYER e-bike overnight, I will try to find hotels to sleep in, but I will take my tent with me, too. In Europe, in particular, I will have a closer look at the numerous camp sites and only consider a hotel as an emergency solution. 

6. How much luggage will you take with you?

As I have been on many bike tours (including in Thailand, Romania, New Zealand and along the West Coast of the United States), I am pretty confident about what to pack. I don't always take the same things with me. Sometimes I have to leave important things behind for reasons of space or weight. When we were in America, we decided to leave our camping stove at home, but I wouldn’t do that again! You learn something on every trip.

7. How many km will you ride each day?

On average, I don't want to ride more than 50 km per day. My aim is not to achieve the highest levels of physical performance but to take as much as I can away from the trip. It is important to me that I also have time to stop, to allow my surroundings to have an effect on me, and to experience nature. I know from experience that, after a while, things can become a little monotonous when cycling. That is when you start focussing on how many more km you can manage and stop paying attention to your surroundings. I want to make sure I don't end up feeling like that.

8. Are you afraid of anything?

Travelling on my own as a woman sometimes makes me feel anxious, but this anxiety is often in my own head as many countries are safer than you think. However, I respect cultural differences. In some countries it is unusual for a woman travel by bike on her own. I am most worried about the traffic in Asia's cities where things are much more frenetic.

9. What are your hopes for your trip and what would you like to take away from it?

I am looking forward to all the new experiences and new cultures that I will encounter on my trip. I always like to know what lies beyond the next hill, and travelling teaches me to face forwards and approach the world in an open manner.

We would like to wish Andrea a successful start to her travels and look forward to reading her travel reports. We will keep you up-to-date with news about Andrea. In the meantime, Andrea will share her adventures with you on her blog shebikerider.