Cycle Touring-Bike-Packing Guests from Switzerland

I’ve had the great pleasure of hosting two delightful, adventurous, interesting, and interested cycle tourists for the past few days.

Bridgitte and Ivo Jost, my recent Warmlshowers guests from Switzerland.
Ivo and Bridgitte Jost, my recent Warmshowers guests from Switzerland.

Ivo and Bridgett Jost from Switzerland have been cycle tourists on and off for over fifteen years and on the road with their most recent tour since June of 2013.

From Mongolia and Madagascar to Argentina and Alaska, every title and link on their blog Globoride has forced me to look at a map. I never knew there we so many places I never knew about.

They recently traded their traditional touring bicycles  and purchased Swiss mountain bikes for backpacking.

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The pack hidden by the grey helmut was made by Bridgitte.
The pack hidden by the bike helmut was made by Bridgitte.

The mountain bikes were quipped with studded tires for winter cycling. They triangle frame packs are handmade by Bridgette.  They cycled the Iditarod Trail in April. They had learned they like winter cycling because they had completed previous cycling tours across Lake Baikal in Russia  followed by a trip through Siberia  to visit the reindeer herding Evenki Tribe.

Unfortunately, a 50 mile, 2-day walk while pushing their bikes through deep snow on the Iditarod Trail, an early break-up of the Yukon River, coupled with a forecast of a solid week of rain and snow forced them to end their journey after 600 miles and take a bush plane to Fairbanks. That didn’t stop their enthusiasm for the trail and the experience. Just reading about their outdoor camping with the Northern Lights as their “nightlight” made me sense the trip was beautiful and unforgettable.

After mailing their winter gear home, they flew to Las Vegas where they started bike-packing across the desert  through places like Escalante Staircase and along the Kokopelli Trail to Loma, CO and, luckily, to our home in Fruita, CO. Their next destination is  Farmington, NM via the Tabaguache Trail where they will connect with the Great Divide Mountain Bike Trail and then head north to Canada.

There's nothing better than a loaf of homemade bread...
There’s nothing better than a loaf of homemade bread and interesting conversation.

Over the past few days, I’ve been asking Bridgette and Ivo lots of questions…

I asked if they’d had a low-point on their trip. Ivo replied they’ve had many low and high-points. Then he paused for a moment . He  and Bridgette exclaimed, “Zambia!” at the same time.

He explained that they cycled through Zambia during the rainy season. Every afternoon for a month it rained. For over 2000 kilometers (1200 miles) they were wet. The elephant grass was so tall that it was like cycling through a tunnel day after day making an already miserable ride quite boring.

But, in their true optimistic nature, they said the good things about Zambia were that they had great  Harry Potter books to listen to on their mp3 players AND they could sleep in schools at night.

When I asked if they had a favorite part of their travels, they immediately replied, “The People!”

They’ve been focusing their travels on border people, or as they explain, those people and cultures that get caught in kind of a no-man’s land when countries arbitrarily redraw the borders. They spent time with the Kyrgyz Tribe on the Wakhan corridor across the river from the Pamir Highway. They also visited the  Eagle Hunters Mongolia.

Although their travels take them to places I’m not sure I’m mentally or physically strong enough to handle, I love seeing their pictures and hearing about their adventures.

And…I learned a great technique to keep Eric and my brains from stagnating over the long distances of pedaling! Ivo and Bridgette talk in the mornings and listen to the same audio book or podcast in the afternoon. Then they have something to discuss.

(They each have their own small mp3 players because the battery life is much longer than a smart phone.)
For more information about their travels, watch this short video. Check our their website and scroll down to their photo gallery for exceptional photos of indigenous peoples and stunning landscapes.

We cycled together for a few miles on the Tabaguahe Trail. I could barely keep up on my unloaded bike.
We cycled together for a few miles on the Tabaguahe Trail. I could barely keep up on my unloaded bike.

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