This gallery shows how the daily search for water impacts our lives on the road as bicycle travellers.
How much water, how it is collected and where from varies greatly on a bicycle trip. Evan and I come from different schools of thought. I was trained by Ilona, who never carried much water and didn’t drink coffee or tea in the morning. During a brisk spring we climbed up, over and eventually down from the high and dry elevations of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan with no more than a single plastic water bottle each.
Before I met Evan I had upgraded to an eight-litre unwieldy jug that was rarely a challenge to fill in the South Caucasus with its taps and springs.
When he bought the equipment for his upcoming “four-year bicycle ride through remote mountainous regions,” (his own words), Evan suspected he would go a week at a time without a way to obtain water, and bought gear accordingly. His week in solitude has not yet materialized, but the 25-litre capacity in water bags he packed in preparation have proved very useful. I’ll add, tongue-in-cheek, that the “minimalist” strategy taken by Ilona and I in Central Asia was in fact undertaken in a “remote mountainous region.”
The bicycle traveller needs water for drinking, cooking, and the more-optional washing of dishes, clothes and bodies. Getting this water at the right place and time requires a little bit of planning and equipment, or none at all, depending on one’s philosophy.
Bicycle travelling isn’t yet taking place on the Moon. Even in remote regions, people cling to survival. To survive they must have water, which means there will be some around, somewhere. In our search for water we have experienced both generosity and glimpses of lives different to our own. Water has been a way to learn about the intersection of people and environment.
Click an image to view the whole gallery as larger images, and read the story behind each!