Thank fully their actions–and unsanctioned helmet hair–failed to provoke the ire of the authorities
When Dan Milner revealed he was planning a trip to North Korea, I was taken aback. He’s travelled with his bike and camera to dangerous places before, including Afghanistan, but this was a whole other level. A land where foreigners are viewed with suspicion. Where saying the wrong thing, being in the wrong place or even having the wrong haircut can get you arrested. (Seriously, if reports are to be believed, North Koreans are limited to just 15 stateapproved ’dos.) And where those who fall out of favour with Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un are summarily executed in gruesome ways.
Not only did Dan and his crew make it over the border, despite the best efforts of the US trade embargo, but once there, they bent the rules to gain unprecedented access to the North Korean backcountry and outpaced their government minders to hang out with locals. Thankfully, these actions – not to mention their unsanctioned helmet hair – failed to provoke the ire of the authorities and they made it home safely, with one hell of a story to tell, which you can read on page 42.
While I’m not suggesting that a rogue nuclear state is the best place to go riding, Dan’s adventure shows what an amazing tool the mountain bike is. Not only can it give you access to some of the wildest places on earth, but it helps break down barriers with the people you meet along the way. So why not get out there and have your own adventure in 2019?
COSTLEY WHITE JAMES EDITOR