Eleanor Moseman began cycling Asia in the Spring of 2010 and has just completed 15,000 miles through 7 countries. She incorporated her photography to document the communities and peoples of the Western borderlands of China, including Tibet, Xinjiang and Central Asia.
A noted Architecture and Interior Photographer, Eleanor has an impressive list of Chinese and International clients, and her work has been featured in countless publication across Asia and Australia.
Moseman could well boast of her exploits, such as illegal entry into Tibet, surviving rape attempts, crossing 5000m passes, braving sandstorms in the Gobi Desert, camping at -25°C in the Tianshan Mountains, weathering a blizzard in Kyrgyzstan, and being stuck in the Pamirs as a Civil War erupted. But if you were to meet her in person, she would blush, hide her face and insist, “it’s nothing”.
Being fluent in Mandarin, Moseman stands out from the hundreds of cyclists flooding Asia with their starry-eyed stereotypes of Eastern exoticism. She goes slow (23,000km in two years), avoids well-known routes, and takes time to get to know the locals she encounters. These are the people and stories she strives to show the world, sharing the love, compassion, and thoughts of those living in the far reaches of China and its borderlands.
Moseman’s unique experiences include building a mud house in Yunnan with the Yi minority, praying with Kham Tibetans, receiving a sponge bath from Tajik women, spending days picking cotton with Uyghurs, riding a horse during a Buzkashi match in Kyrgyzstan, helping prepare naan in Uzbekistan and witnessing a Shaman ritual in U-Tsang Tibet. This is what bicycle exploration should be like, and Eleanor Moseman is the woman to live and lead by example.
Currently, she plans to return to Xinjiang next summer to continue this photography project among the Uyghurs in northwest China. She has a top secret expedition in the planning along with hopes of cycling Africa solo in the very near future.
As of October 4th 2012, Eleanor has completed her tour nearing 15,000 miles. Approximately 20,000km and 18 months have been spent in China alone. There is no available information to confirm, but Eleanor may be the first woman to cycle this mileage through China.