It's quite fortunate that Georgia isn't entirely considered Europe. It is still seen as a “transcontinental country”: partly situated in Europe but in Asia, as well.
If it were ever to be considered entirely part of the European continent, then many of our certainties would crumble. What would be most shocking is the fact the Mont Blanc would no longer be Europe's highest mountain. Not by any means. The honour would go to Shkara, whose highest point is just shy of 5,200 metres, followed by Janga and Mount Kazbek: all Georgian mountains and all with an elevation that exceeds 5,000 metres.
Because that it was the Caucasus is: even grander than the Alps, especially when travelled on the saddle of a bike. This is why a bikepacking experience there is a must: an exciting dimension that combines travel with exploration.
This explains one of the reasons why Wiebke Lühmann and Andrea Wahl took on this undertaking along the Georgian roads: because the country's geography, studded with mountains that often surpass the summit of Mont Blanc, is unique.
“The Caucasian landscapes are stunningly majestic and resemble the Alpine range, if it weren't that the height of the mountains is even greater; also, the surprise with which we were welcomed suggests that the gravel roads we faced with our USMA SLRs have not seen many MTBs”.
So it’s probably safe to say that Wiebke and Andrea have forged a new adventure along the roads of the Georgia Caucasus, on the extreme borders of Europe, making them nothing less than trailblazers.
“It was an exciting experience that encompasses many other cycling treks. We rode not only on the urban streets of Georgia’s cities but also along trails in the most remote places where we basked in the thought that we were the first to climb and descend those dirt tracks on an MTB.
We also went from the extreme heat of the plains and initial plateaus to incredibly icy temperatures near the mountains. At the close of our two weeks of going up and down the Georgian trails, we ended up covering over 970 km, with an elevation gain of 16,000 metres. But there was more.
What most deeply struck us was the spontaneous hospitality of the people, despite the great difficulty we had communicating, given the language difference. Then again, one of the basics of bikepacking is feeling a deep connection with the area surrounding you, even if, for example, the place is full of sheepdogs that don't really appreciate strange objects like bicycles coming close to the animals they are guarding.
Nonetheless, even understanding the intentions of a Caucasian shepherd dog just by how it stares at you is an essential part of the bikepacker's wealth of experience and helps make an adventure on the high mountain trails of Georgia unforgettable”.
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