1,200 km of The Pamir Highway On a Diamond Llama Folding Bike

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Ah Gan is no stranger to adventure. As the founder of Beanz Adventures, a travel agency based in Malaysia, she has explored over 20 different countries.
Her latest expedition takes her and her Diamond Llama on a 1,200km bike tour on the Pamir Highway, the second highest highway in the world. Despite it’s high altitude and dangerous conditions, the Pamir Highway remains a popular cycling destination, attracting hundreds of cyclists every year. It reaches multiple 4,000m peaks including, the highest plateau in the world. For this challenging trip, Ah Gan needed to find the right bike that could tackle the Pamir Highway and is easy to travel with…enter the Diamond Llama.
Choosing the right bike: Ah Gan’s Racing Green Diamond Llama:
Racing Green Diamond Llama
Racing Green Diamond Llama

“After careful research on the right bike, the Bike Friday Diamond Llama was the best one!” Ah shared on Facebook.

She worked with Singapore based Bike Friday dealer, My Bike Shop SG, to build a Pamir Highway ready Diamond Llama. The Bike Friday’s folding design made getting it from Singapore to Malaysia, and from Malaysia to Tajikistan much easier.

She embarked on her first test ride, a 10-day 650km trip around her hometown in Johor, Malaysia, shortly after receiving her bike in December, 2023. “Despite the hills, the bike did great. I love my Diamond Llama!” she added. Her first test ride was only a small sneak peek into the treacherous conditions awaiting on the Pamir Highway. The challenges she faced ranged from active road construction to crossing “The Roof of The World”, the world’s highest and largest plateau with an average elevation of more than 4,500 meters (14,764 feet).

Her Diamond Llama is outfitted with

  • 2×9 Microshift drivetrain
  • Bike Friday front and rear rack racks
  • Packalope split bikepacking bars
  • Billy Bonkers tires
  • Front and rear panniers
  • a sweet Malaysian flag and an orange flag for extra safety

Every single grams count. To avoid carrying extra weight, Ah opted for reusing the same jacket, and chose to carry only a few lightweight quick-dry shirts and pants.

The Route:
“Tajikistan is a hidden gem for me”

Ah Gan’s ongoing adventure on the Pamir Highway began in Dushanbe, Tajikistan on May 31, and will conclude in Osh, Kyrgyzstan. To ensure she has the option to camp in places without hostels or hotels, she carries her own tent, a Fjallraven Abisko Lite 2, among other necessities. Soon after entering the Pamir Highway, she encountered a 240 km section of the road under major repair. These dusty, rugged mountain roads took her along the Panj River dividing Tajikistan and Afghanistan.

 

She posts cheerful updates via her Facebook page, “Today’s goal is 70km of gravel sand roads at 2700m above sea level, I don’t know if I can reach it successfully but I can only keep the spirits high! Always riding… That’s it!”

Other updates highlight the changing scenery she encounters and moments of self-reflection around her own growth as a cyclist. “Honestly, I’m really proud of myself every day. I cannot be discouraged and will not give up, I will make progress day by day and get better. Compared to myself riding in Iceland 8 years ago… it looks like I’ve really grown up!”

The support she continues to receive in Tajikistan is incredible. “Tajikistan is a hidden gem for me. Everyone I meet here, adults and children, will come out and cheer for me. A few times, when I was pushing uphill, drivers would suddenly stop and politely ask me, “Excuse me, do you need any help?”

Stay up to date with Ah Gan’s ride on the Pamir Highway via her Facebook page.

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[About Beanz Adventures]

Beanz Adventures Sdn Bhd is a travel and adventure agency formed by a bunch of professional wanderlusts who love to travel and enjoy life in Malaysia. Our founder Ah Gan works as a TV production director and producer who likes to turn imagination into a real-life image, and also eager to explore different things around the world. Since her first solo backpacking in 2012, she falls in love with travelling, conquering more than 20 countries and 80 cities in just a few years. Among them the Gobi Desert in Mongolia, Everest Base Camp in Tibet, Karakoram Highway in Kashgar, Aurora Borealis in the Arctic Circle, Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi, Finland, and the glacial lagoon in Iceland.

Keeping on her own passion to see the world differently, Ah Gan and her team then created several expeditions, including the well-received “Project Rasa Sayang”, which toured around Iceland on a folding bike. While hunting for the northern lights, they experienced camping on the land of ice and fire, further encouraging the then rookies to fearlessly achieve their dreams as an adventurer.

Who can ever say that adventures are only for the professionals?
And who made the first of each time difficult, giving up before it even started?

The world is so big, let’s set out together.

At Beanz Adventures, our mission is very simple…

“Taking you to see the world differently, and turning the impossible into possible.”

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