Welcome to Freewheeling across the Himalayas

Le voyage est un retour vers l'essentiel (proverbe tibetain)


My name is Celine Soulard and on July 2010 I will embark on a 7 month cycling journey from Tajikistan to Nepal. This adventure will take me to some of the most challenging and beautiful roads in the world. I am also undertaking this journey to raise funds for the Mary A. Tidlund Charitable Foundation in support of the Ladakh Project (Health inc). I encourage you to subscribe to my blog to follow me in this great adventure. I will share with you in this blog stories and photos on a regular basis and hope to inspire you to contribute to the Ladakh Project.

DONATE to Ladakh Project


March 13, 2015

Into the fall

Something is changing....since the beginning of March....nights are colder, while I am riding I see and hear a lot of men chopping firewood,  there is fresh snow in the mountains and almost no tourists which means great riding.....yes people look at me funny when I am telling them I am going south....yes the fall is coming and coming fast!!!

Leaving Coyhaique I got hit hard by the rain...but as usual this always brings some great encounter. I came to the "hotel" with the hope of warming up before continuing the road....well with the fire place, good food and great company I didn't leave until the next day!!! I was the only customer....evening was spent sitting by the fireplace talking with the two ladies running the place :-)

March 07, 2015

850 km later!

English will follow

Hola Amigos y amigas,

Depuis mon dernier arret a Fataleufu, j'ai finalement rejoins la Carratera Austral et passee la marque des 800km! Je prends quelques jours de repos dans une petite ville de Patagonie Coyhaique ou j'ai aussi souffert d'un empoisonnement alimentaire ce qui est plutot rare ici. Pour les 7 derniers jours j'ai partage la route avec Magda et Kuba un jeune couple de Polonais fort sympathique qui terminent une annee a velo! Chaque jours je rencontre aussi des cyclistes qui arrivent de Ushuaia et qui sont en route vers le Peru ou meme dans certain cas le Canada et l'Alaska. Ils me reste environ 600 km pour terminer la Carratera.

 A bientot

Since my last stop in Fataleufu I have share my road with Magda and Kuba a young Polish couple finishing their year long trip in south America. We had a great time free camping, taking pictures and sharing experiences on the road. I had a couple rest day in Coyhaique followed by 2 forces rest day due to some food poisoning. This is the last thing I was expecting here. Fortunately the lady at my guest house took good care of me. I will start tomorrow for the last 600 km of the carratera austral before going back to Argentina. The bike season is on its tail end here but every day I keep meeting cyclist from all over the world coming from Ushaia (terra del fuego) on their way to the north which in some case is as far as Alaska!! I hope you will enjoy the photos

Fataleufu river

February 21, 2015

Now in Chile

I have now crossed the border to Chile and I am trying to get rid of a cold. I just spent 3 days in Fataleufu a nice small little village. It is an important centre for rafting and white water kayaking. It is nested in the mountains and it is very relax. I am staying in a nice guest house which is own by a school teacher and she has two beautiful Golden Retrievers which is cool but also make methink of my Tashi a lot.

On my way to Fitzroy!

HI all,

Freewheeling Himalaya is now taking you to a short 3 months cycling trip to Argentina and Chile! I hope you will enjoy the stories and photos. I have started my journey in Bariloche, Argentina February 9th and I am heading toward Chile to cycle the Carratera Austral.


January 12, 2011

Back to Canada.....for now!

After my trek in the Khumbu region it was time to return to cycling. My plan was to cycle few roads in Nepal then go to Sikkim (India) and come back to Kathmandu to fly home at the end of January. Then few changes at home made me decide to come home just before Christmas and skip the visit to Sikkim for this time.

Cycling Nepal...the land of friendly people.

While trekking I met Thibaud a French guy living in Singapore who wanted to go for a couple of days cycling around Kathmandu after the trek before going back to Singapore. Going around Kathmandu in a taxi would make anyone think that cycling there is highly risky or even suicidal! I wasn’t sure about it either to be honest but it turned out to be just fine. We even cycled back into town in the dark at rush hour!!!

December 12, 2010

Project Ladakh update - IMPORTANT

“Today, we are truly a global family. What happens in one part of the world, may affect us all”. Dalai Lama

Dear Friends,

When I left Canada last July 3 weeks after a knee surgery on a 40kg loaded bike my goal was to reach Kathmandu from Dushanbe on my bike through some of the most beautiful and dramatic landscape in the world. Most importantly I wanted to raise $5000 to support Health inc a small organization working in remote villages of Ladakh (India) since 1992 with some of their Projects for 2010. To achieve this goal I have created this Blog where I shared my experiences and photos with all of you over the last few months. Now my trip is coming to an end and I need your help.

November 27, 2010

Namaste from Nepal - Trekking the Khumbu region....on the beaten tracks!

Sunset on Everest, Nuptse and Makalu from Gokyo Ri
I was very happy to arrive in Nepal on October 27th. It is nice to be in a country where people are nice and friendly, internet access is not controlled and restricted, I can choose my hotel and I don’t need to hire a guide and driver to enter the country!!! In Nepal you get your Visa at the border. The officer asked me “first time in Nepal?” I said “Yes” then he looked at me and said “Why did it take you so long”? I started laughing and told him I will have to stay longer to make it up!! I knew right away I was going to like Nepal!!!!

Tsering Sherpa from Thame - a lovely little boy

November 26, 2010

Km 1020: “Hello....PSB...you must return to Ali to buy a permit”

Bad picture of Mt Kailash - taken during our "tour" with the PSB!!!
This is the final episode of the Tibet story! I know few other cyclists who had to “deal” with the PSB but 7 days in their company was very long! Usually they fine them and get them out of Tibet on a bus. It was a bit of a gong show and was hard to follow at time!

I will certainly return to complete the route. Maybe this spring or later. It is the only part missing to be able to draw a line between Dushanbe and Bangkok so I want to do it and see the scenery. I don’t think I will ride illegally in Tibet anymore. Been there, done that twice. I am done with night riding through checkpoints. There are many places to ride in the world outside of Tibet that are hassle free so I think I will concentrate on cycling other part of the world for a while. Also the Friendship highway (Lhasa to Kathmandu) portion of the ride is not so interesting for me as it is a full on touristy road, cycled by thousands of people year after year.

November 25, 2010

Tibet – Checkpoint, dogs and PSB!!

4600m Pass 25 km from Ali (photo: Pierre Payet-Burin)

We officially entered Tibet at km 690. It was a nice feeling to finally be in Tibet. Still a long way to Kathmandu but at that point we were starting to think that our chances to get to Kathmandu by bike were pretty good.

Even tough we were physically in Tibet I never really felt like being in Tibet. The Western road is so different that the Eastern road. I am so glad I cycled the east before and experienced the real Tibetan culture. On the East we had the feeling of really being in Tibet (except for the bigger ugly Chinese villages and for Lhasa of course) with its beautiful villages with traditional houses, friendly Tibetan people, etc. For most of the road on the East there are very little Chinese presence. All the way to Ali I never felt like being in Tibet much. The scenery is outstanding and the riding a lot easier than the eastern route but it still feel like China.

October 30, 2010

Into the wild and cold of the Aksai Chin

Since the Kudie checkpoint I have been hoping to get to the Aksai Chin. The Aksai Chin is a very unique place because there is nothing there except for a few truckstops. The altitude is very high (4,800m to 5,000m), water is sparse, the wind blows in all directions and the temperature at night drops to -25C or lower.  What a great place for cycling!  It is like the Pamirs on steroids!!!

October 29, 2010

First Checkpoint....riding with the moon!

Having a rest after Kudie checkpoint - not so glamourous!!
 The first 3 days out of Kashgar are not very exciting. I could not ride for very long in these conditions. It is the south silk road in direction of Hotan. It borders the Taklimakan desert, it is flat, hot and dusty and to make it worst there is lots of traffic. I could not wait to get to the mountains! On the good side we could stay in descent hotel (when we could find one accepting gringos!). One night at around 12:30am someone knocked at our door. Anne got up and open the door to find the police...not again!!! They were not looking for us because we heard them knocking on all doors. We never found out what they were looking for!!!! There are so many police in this country it is unreal.

October 25, 2010

Waking up in Urumqi!

Since we have been “intercepted” by the PSB on October 14th it has been like a never ending bad dream....that finally lasted 7 days. Everyday brought us more surprises and the absence of any “western” logic in the way they handled us made it absolutely impossible to predict what would be the final outcome and when it would be!

We were finally “released” in Urumqi (we had to fly here from Kashgar) with our passport free to continue our travel. I know you are anxious to know all the details of our week with the PSB but first I want to share with you this amazing month of cycling through western Xinjiang province and into Tibet and give you some background information on this “famous” route.

October 19, 2010

Quick update

Hello everyone;

We left Kashgar on September 13th in an attempt to reach Kathmandu, Nepal. This is a distance of about 2,500km from which about 1,800km, according to Chinese legislation, MUST be travelled in a group with guide, Jeep driver, and a PERMIT that costs a fortune!  Most importantly for me it removes all sense of adventure and freedom, which is why I travel by bike in the first place!

We managed to cycle about half of it on our own, but on October 14th, after we passed the city of Ali, we were "stopped" by the PSB and returned to Kashgar (a good story to follow). It was an amazing month of cycling though, with some unique landscape. We knew the risks and that we had little chance of freely cycling to Kathmandu, but it was worth a try!!!

Cycling at 5000m in the Aksai Chin, China (photo: Pierre Payet-Burin)
 I am now back in Kashgar for a couple of days to sort out the next leg of the adventure!

I will do my best to post some stories and photos over the next week or so.


September 12, 2010

On my way to the "forbidden" land...

Hi all,

Kargush Pass (photo: Pierre Payet-Burin)
While in Kashgar I  "slaved" for many hours in front of my notebook to improve the Blog layout, sort out photos and post a few more entries. I hope you will enjoy them. I have also inserted pictures in the earlier posts (Tajikistan and Afghanistan).

New Posts
  • Get me out of here!
  • "Bonjour la police" or "welcome" to China 
  • Short visit to Kyrgyzstan
 Updated posts(photos added)
  • Pamir Highway - my cycling heaven
  • Brinji, Naan and chai (rice, bread and tea) – An Afghan adventure

From now on I will not send the entire blog text and photos via email, but will send a quick note to let you know when I have updated the blog, this way you can go directly to the blog and have a look.

I have also uploaded all my photos to Flickr so it's easier to navigate through them, and also there is a link at the end of each posting which will allow you to go from the blog to Flickr.


We are finally leaving on Monday for the "forbidden land" and I don't know when I will have Internet access next. Inotherwords, "no news is good news" for the next couple of months. If we get turned back then I will have to investigate other route options and let you know how I will pursue my route to Nepal.

Happy on my bike,
Celine and Ladybug from Kashgar, China

"Get me out of here"!

"Happy Place"
We had anticipated 3 or 4 days in Kashgar to pick-up some parcels, rest, do some bike maintenance,and update blogs before moving on. Unfortunately we got caught here waiting for the parcels, which took a lot longer than anticipated. I was starting to get really "antsy" to get moving. I needed to "get out of here" and go to the mountains!!

September 06, 2010

“Bonjour la police” or “welcome” to China

It is a short 320 kilometres between Sary-Tash and Kashgar with great scenery, a nice paved road and little traffic. Part of it is very arid and has colourful rock formations. We are approching the Taklamakan desert after all! Cold winds are on the menu for the first pass, but there is nice weather after that. This is just a teaser for the weather awaiting us in Tibet.

September 05, 2010

A short visit in Kyrgyzstan

Overall I will have spent only 10 days in Kyrgyzstan so I haven’t really seen much of it. We had to come to Kyrgyzstan to enter China since the border between Tajikistan and China(Kolma Pass) is only open for Tajik and Chinese citizen. I came to Sary-Tash battling a strong head wind but by the time I settled we could see the Alai Shan a very impressive snow-capped mountain range including the famous Peak Lenin at 7,134m.

August 31, 2010

Your help is needed in Ladakh

Hello everyone,

While cycling in Tajikistan, Ladakh has been very severely hit by flood. It is only today that I have caught up on the news. I am not sure how this was covered by the media in Canada but I assume you have heard about what has happened.

August 30, 2010

Kashgar, China

Hello everyone,

We have arrived today in Kashgar, China. It is a bit of a shock to arrive in a busy city after two months in the mountains in the friendly countries of Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Kyrkyzstan.

August 24, 2010

Have a great day!

Hi all,

Thanks for your comments on my last posts. I can't open my blog here so I used the backdoor (my nucleus account) to post, and I have no idea what it will look like on the blog.

Anyway, I wish you all a very good day.

The Pamir Highway - my cycling heaven!

Back in Ishkashim, I now have to cycle one more time along the Panj river for two days before starting the "big" climb to finally reach the Pamir Highway (the famous M41). The first 50 km are paved so it was a real treat after the rough riding in Afghanistan. Interesting enough, it is the only place so far where kids ask for money or sweets. A young guy offered me all sorts of stuff at a local store: beer, jewellery, etc...like I will carry beers on my bike!!!

Brinji, Naan and chai (rice, bread and tea) – An Afghan adventure

While cycling along the river Panj on the Tajik side for seversal days we were very attracted to visit the Afghan side. This part of Afghanistan is the Wakhan corridor and so far has been a part of Afghanistan that is safe to visit. Pierre had with him the Aga Khan foundation trekking brochure and also the Russian topo maps of the area. It was very helpful to plan our trip to the Afghan Wakhan. While I was planning my himalayan journey I had in the back of my mind to visit the Afghan side of the Wakhan but I didn't want to make a decision until I was here and had local information and also I didn't want to "alarm" friends and family on a potential visit to Afghanistan!

July 25, 2010

Very welcoming Tajikistan - first 500km

My alarm went off at 4AM. After only few hours of sleep and on an empty stomach I loaded Ladybug (the bike) ready to commence my journey to Nepal! Somehow it seems so far away but as long as I keep pedalling I will get there eventually! I met Anne and Pierre my partners from France the day before. Ricky from New Zealand and Sage from the USA will also join our team for part of the trip in Tajikistan.

July 12, 2010

Dushanbe, Tajikistan KM 0!

Hi all,

The end of the BC trip went well except for some pain in my right achilles. Not sure where this all came from. I hope that the last few days of rest will be enough.
After 24 hours of travelling, my bike, my luggage and myself are all in Dushanbe. After one day of recuperating I ate some local food and got sick.  So sorry but no pictures from the city and I didn't really have time to learn much about life here. I'm happy to be in a Muslim country. I have only had the chance to travel to Kashmir, so my travel in a Muslim country is very limited.

June 30, 2010

Ladybug in British Columbia: warm up ride

Hello everyone,

My last week in Calgary has been very frantic, as it should be! Trying to get organized and ready for 7 months on the road is always an interesting time, to say the least! On my very last day in Calgary I had my bike at Campione to resolve some gear issues (a big thanks to James) and I was still running around at MEC buying the last few items!

June 15, 2010

Fundraising Evening

June 10th was the annual fundraising night for the Mary A. Tidlund Charitable Foundation. It was held at the Cantos music foundation in Calgary. It was a great evening and very inspiring to connect with people working on some of the other initiatives supported by the Foundation. I went there with my fully loaded bike and a map of my route and raised $800 for the Ladakh Project. I was very happy with the results.

Knee Surgery


My knee surgery went as planned and the morphine high after the surgery was a nice touch!  More seriously the surgeon took out the tear on my meniscus and all should be good now. Got some cool pics of the inside of my knee. It was hard to believe that I was going to cycle the Himalayas in few weeks while spending 4 days laying down on my couch icing my knee but now it all seems to be far behind me. I will do some very easy riding here in Calgary for the next week and then I will ride the Sunshine Coast in BC with a good friend of mine. I think the first few weeks in Tajikistan on my fully loaded bike will be hard but after that it should be much better.


May 11, 2010

Change in plan!


Couple weeks ago I got severe pain in my right knee after one of my training ride. Turned out I had a meniscus tear (old injury) acting on me....I could hardly walk for couple days. I did my best to remain calm and thanks to a friend of mine I was able to access an orthopedic surgeon today. After his assessment he recomended to "fix" it before I go. Otherwise there is a risk that the tear cause some serious problems during my trip....timing is everything they say!!!

April 27, 2010



Only 6 weeks before I leave Calgary. Since I am still working full time I am very busy trying to get ready. Gears to buy, paper work to do, training ride, etc...it seems like my "to do" list is just getting longer. The good thing is that I have gone through this before so I know how it works!