Nekor: An Unlikely Bike Pilgrimage - Video

Feb 20, 2018 at 5:06
by Sebastian Doerk  
Views: 6,148    Faves: 50    Comments: 2


Nekor is the story of an unlikely pilgrimage. Four friends set out to ride the ardous track that surrounds the "Kawa Kharpo", one of the eight holy mountains in Tibet. Tens of thousands have visited the holy sites along the Pilger Route, some hike the path surrounding the peak. Even fewer bring a bike.


One of the most fascinating trekking regions in China lies between the Chinese provinces of Yunnan and Tibet: the mountain mass Kawa Karpo. This mountain range with its 6740m high peak is considered holy by Buddhists. The main summit is still unclimbed. A pilgrimage path leads around the mountain. This path around Kawa Karpo is surely one of the most interesting and impressive nature paths on earth. It leads through untouched forests, across more than 15000 ft / 4500m high mountain passes and through a deep valley with ferocious mountain rivers.


No one was able to tell us whether you could bike the path. We went off on a pilgrimage to the foot of the mountain, an internationally cast team of four. We spent six days on the path, often in complete solitude. We were able to experience one of our most fascinating bike trips, completely cut off from any communication with the outside world.

The friendly, open way in which we were greeted by the Tibetans despite our unusual mode of transportation for the region, impressed us. Living minimally left us feeling calm and happy and we hope that feeling will stay with us for a long time.


Tibetans use the term nékor for pilgrimage. The né is a sacred or holy site/object and is credited with the ability to transform those that circumambulate it.

Riders: Gerhard Czerner, Kevin Tews, You Terryn, Arsenal Zeng
Photographs: Martin Bissig
Film: Sebastian Doerk

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37 Comments

  • + 23
 I love how you shared the experience of minimalistic views on this pilgrimage, you experienced time in itself and being present with your bike, the mountains and the culture. Best video I've seen in awhile, great work.
  • + 20
 Always click on your content when I see it. Never disappointed.
  • + 5
 Thanks man.
  • + 6
 Ya - beautiful video, culture, people and great riding!
  • + 6
 "...friends that you can share your passion and suffering with..."

That quote really stood out to me - sort of summed up mountain biking (and outdoor adventure) for me.

Great filming & editing; I didn't even shake the mouse once to see how much time was left! Looked like quite the awesome adventure, and thank you for sharing Smile
  • + 4
 So happy to see such a great video about China. This is only a very small part of China, and there is so much more waiting for us, for you, for everyone who loves bikes to explore, to experience and to love it. Welcome to China you two-wheel lovers.
  • + 8
 Incredible journey
  • + 6
 The word epic is sorely overused. It should be reserved for videos like this.
  • + 1
 Nah that’s just super epic + Smile
  • + 5
 Awesome movie. Inspired me to go out road riding on a mucky, cold, gusty day.
  • + 4
 What is the meaning or significance of the colourful flag banners? I’ve seen them in Everest climbing footage before, but now seeing them here makes me curious.
  • + 16
 @ale50ale Those are Prayer flags. "They adorn chortens, bridges, mani walls, hilltops, you can see them in the streets of big cities and in the remotest places in the mountains: fluttering in the wind, braving the weather.
Printed on them are buddhist mantras, sutras and prayers, traditionally by woodblock printing. These prayers are carried into the world by the wind and rain, bringing benefits and happiness to those touched by them.
Prayer flags come in five colours: Yellow, green red, white and blue, always in exactly this order and always in sets of multiples of 5. The colours represent the elements from which everything is made:
Blue – Space
White – Air
Red – Fire
Green – Water
Yellow – Earth
(in another interpretation the meanings of white and green are swapped)
By putting up prayer flags one can gain merits for the next life. The motivation why they are put up influences the strength of prayers and the virtue generated: putting them up merely to gain merits will, as an egocentric motivation, not generate much virtue. Putting them up for the benefit and happiness of all beings will give them a greater strength.
The origin of prayer flags dates back thousands of years, to the ancient Bön in Tibet, who used coloured pieces of cloth in healing ceremonies." (Himalayan Footsteps)
  • + 1
 Great filming and so good to see another part of the world. It just looks so beautiful. The orange bike dude seemed to love jumping and working extra-hard to style it out on simple single track for the film. We don't need shred porn and stuff like this takes away from the film. Same with the bright, large-font clothing sponsor (contrasting well with Tibetan prayer flags). This film is not about you, or your sponsors. It's about the exploring the Tibetan landscape and culture.
  • + 3
 I get such joy out of watching people interact with a modern mountain bike, who've never seen one before.
  • + 3
 Tybet is not chinna!! FREE TYBET !!!
  • - 1
 Something in this video triggered me. The bold pointing, reaching, the riders in postures that exuded confidence and control. The colored high tech bikes lying in the road of that ancient town square. Like soviet era Lenin posters. Like the riders (or hardworking cameraman that composed or chose those shots) have a lack of respect.

For some reason it seems like the locals and place aren't being respected. Terrific terrain but theres a weird tension in the video that I can't put my finger on.

Hope I'm just seeing things. Have at the downvotes. Frown
  • + 3
 you may have picked up on a sort of culture shock that I have had experience of. The guys touch on it in the film, you bring your fast pace, agressive, competitive western world city life and dump it in a different environment. It's impossible to adapt right away, after a while you will hopefully begin to see how you are behaving and maybe change pace a bit. The shock for me was realising what an idiot I had been behaving like... And the biggest challenge is holding on to that thought when you return to shitty city life.
  • - 1
 @Braindrain: Ya, I've been an idiot too, and I've spent some months in Ladakh so maybe that makes me cringe more.

The other side is all we see are bikes and amazing vistas but there was some person wielding the cameras and composing and pre-hiking everything? Tons of work and thinking on your feet in difficult circumstances. Hats off to them.

The thing I'm bothered buy looks like it was intentional composition, like a deliberate ugly American style tourist director. A southern American racist visiting African villages. I remember reading an article about "things not to do" if you want to be accepted when travelling and just like "using left hand" is bad in some cultures, "pointing" is really crass in others (or most). The scene where the bowl is passed over the stove, the healthy young receiving dude isn't reaching far enough, looks disrespectful to that wizened cook.

Definite lack of humility projected in this video, at least its what I see. I keep watching it and cringing, and it looks like it was edited this way intentionally which makes me sad.
  • + 3
 @captaingrumpy: You need to get out and have your own adventures man, you're projecting too much of your own feelings into something that's just not there.
  • + 1
 @captaingrumpy: I think you speaking to our tendencies toward anthropology. As in outsiders studying others as oddities based on an assumption that in this case, we westerners are the norm. Also, there is an underlying situation here. Tibet has been violently colonized and the culture they are allowed to practice turned into a circus act for tourists. If this is even hinted toward on the world stage China freaks out. When this isn't mentioned, as I understand it couldn't be due to it being a Chinese adventure into Tibet, the elephant in the room gives off that tension you speak of IMO. Nice video despite these things, some of which understandably are hard to avoid.
  • + 2
 @infinitetrails: I was in the middle of coming up with a retort for this nonsense when I read your comment. Thanks.
  • + 1
 It goes both ways. This video comes off as nothing but respectfully humble and admiring of the landscape and culture. If you’re thinking they’re going to ‘nail it’ in regards to 100% respect it’s not going to happen. (We’re ‘evil’ Westerners after all.) And if their culture is indeed as wonderful and accommodating as everyone purports that it is, they’ll understand that the actors and crew did their best. Your ‘irks’ are borderline religiously legalistic and since your handle has an American glad on it, I highly doubt your’e an expert on their culture. They all seemed to get along just fine. I’m glad to have seen this trail and the people that live on it.

Great and emotionally awesome edit! Thanks for making it.
  • + 1
 @jeremiahwas:

I had a friend that was a painter. He was working really hard on a picture. Another friend comes in and says: Whoa! Nice Duck! Duck? What duck? The painter had inadvertently put a perfect contrasted duck into his picture. Once seen you couldn't unsee it, he had to fix the picture, disappear that damned duck.

I lived and helped with some remote projects in the region. Paid for some kids to go through school and college. Something in a few of the sequences that rubbed me the wrong way here. Not often I think of leninist propaganda when I watch a video. Could have been accidents, unlucky shots, ducks. I don't normally respond this way to pinkbike vids. Example rememeber "The Trail To Kazbegi" which is sorta similar trip and more commercial but came away kinder and more humble.

Probably I'm over-bombarded with media and lashing out. And I am an ugly american so its sort of my job to wear loud shirts and holler about stuff.
  • + 2
 My arms are hurting just watching those steep switchbacks...Awesome film, thank you.
  • + 1
 It’s ok shredding on other people’s country, damn even on their sacred lands, but not in the USA!
  • + 3
 Saycr’d land ain’t prayvet, you can d’oo wha’tcha’wanna d’oo thae boy. Ba’ douhn cam over hear whitcha facking baecycle o mah prayvet laend. I’m gunna blaw ya head aof withaet a blynk’of’mah eye. And ae have ay right to d’oo’et. Cuz it’s mah laend.
  • + 1
 Awesome vide. I'd be following orange bike man. He looks good at finding the little hits/jumps.
  • + 1
 Anyone else pissed seeing all that garbage and banners were destroying their "sacred land"
  • + 1
 Garbage is a whole different story in Asian Countries, but China is addressing it pretty aggressively trying to change the mindset ...
  • + 3
 grosses Kino :-)
  • + 2
 Loved this. Thx for posting!
  • + 1
 Such an awesome vid, thanks for sharing
  • + 2
 Sick places !
  • + 2
 just awesome... thanks
  • + 2
 awesome.
  • + 0
 I did think it was about Sam Pilgrim in the title xD
  • - 2
 Needs more bunting

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