Martijn Doolaard Photographs Extreme Cycling in Kyrgyzstan’s Winter

All photos by Martijn Doolaard. Used with Creative Commons permission.

Bitten by the travel bug and now craving for an adventure of a lifetime? That’s exactly what our featured travel photography project will inspire in you today. If you have a great love for the outdoors and are keen on embarking on your own journey of self-discovery, you’ll want to have some stunning photos to serve as a keepsake of your trip. You might also want to get some ideas from designer, photographer, and filmmaker Martijn Doolaard, who spent a year cycling from his hometown in Amsterdam all the way to Singapore. Now, let’s take a few pages off his travel diary to get a glimpse of the harsh terrain he had to traverse as he cycled through Kyrgyzstan.

The mountains of Kyrgyzstan were among the challenging spots Doolaard had to ride through en route to Singapore, with the entire year-long adventure documented in his book, One Year on a Bike. Fortunately for us, he has given us a preview of that frigid chapter in his journey in these collection of photos titled Extreme Days. Here, we get glimpses of the frozen yet stunning landscapes he passed by and camped in, and what it was like to be on the road, cycling through snow.

His detailed account accompanying the photos goes:

“There was an abandoned shack where I could hide from the wind and snow to change my clothing. During a descent it’s a lot colder due to the higher speed and the reduced physical effort. I was happy I bought a snow jacket a couple of weeks ago. I exchanged all my clothes for dry ones. Outside everything was white, even the sky. It snowed so hard I couldn’t see beyond 100 meters. I had to put on sunglasses to keep the snow from going into my eyes. It was just below zero degrees, which made the snow sticky and watery. The dérailleur of my bike got obstructed. Everything got covered in ice while I descended at 40 km/h. I had to stop several times to clean the dérailleur, change gears manually, and get the snow out of my face because I couldn’t see a thing. My shoes had gotten all wet and my toes were freezing. After 20 km there were a few houses and a restaurant, which I reached using the last gear that still worked, as most parts of my bike were frozen solid with ice and snow.”

Curious about the entire trip? You might want to check out his preview of the book, as well as the trailer of the One Year on a Bike movie:

Also, visit Martijn Doolaard’s Behance portfolio to see more of his photo collections from the epic trip.