The Great Urumqi Underwear Theft

I only carry two pairs of underwear. Given that with bike shorts, I don’t actually wear any most days, I had been vaguely wondering if that was one pair too many. But now the decision has been made for me! I had done some washing yesterday, and hung my clothes on the communal line at the hostel. This morning everything else was there, except for one pair of underwear. Very strange. They definitely came out of the washing machine, and got hung up. Who would want my undies?

I’m in Turpan now, 154m below sea level. Did 196km today from Urumqi to get here – overall the trend is downhill, and I had some phenomenal tailwinds late in the day – going at 40km/h, hardly pedalling. If I had been going into that wind, I would not have been able to move – I would have to seek shelter, and cry. Except there was no shelter – this was in the middle of a large valley utterly devoid of vegetation. Completely bare, not even small weeds growing between the rocks. Very odd – most other deserts I’ve been in – e.g. the Sahara and Turkmenistan deserts – do have some plantlife. Hopefully more tailwinds tomorrow!

I went to the “Geographical Centre of Asia” yesterday. Rather conveniently, the Chinese have calculated this as being about 30km out of Urumqi. Basically it’s a big monument in the middle of nowhere. I expected a few tourgroup buses, but I was more or less alone there. Pretty cool though – from here I will be getting closer to the ocean, whichever route I take – after chatting with Pete in Urumqi, it may no longer be a straight ride to Beijing. We’ll see.

Looks like a few long hot desert days coming up, should be the last ones before Australia!

4 replies on “The Great Urumqi Underwear Theft”

So the one time I manage to read your blog you´re talking underwear and the fact that you don´t really wear any… nice.

Glad to see you´re on the road again.

We just landed in Bogota today, the real journey starts now.


Hey Lindsay!

Glad to hear you are in the East. Sounds like a mission. I was telling some random about you the other day, saying we lived together in London and he asked me if I was still waiting for you. So there you go! Apparently we went out. I hope you don’t mind.

Anyway, good stories, keep them coming. And remember to upload your photos this time! I can’t believe you would be silly enough not to put them on CD!


Pants just slow you down. Thats true in a plethora of situations, not least in around the world cycle journeys.

Good to hear things are working out good again.


Ronelle: Good to hear, time to see how the Spanish lessons went. Not sans baggage this time?

Shayne: Well I don’t mind, but Kevin won’t beat me up, will he? And I am indeed in the east now – I just passed 90 degrees east – I think Urumqi marked halfway between London and NZ, latitude-wise. Time to head south.

Doug, as always, profound thoughts.

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