ADVERTISEMENT

Iohan Gueorguiev, ‘Bike Wanderer’ of the Wilderness, Dies at 33

550
SHARES
2.5k
VIEWS


A truck barrels by means of a blizzard down a street made of ice. The street is up to now north in Canada that at 10 p.m. the solar nonetheless illuminates the panorama, which is empty aside from just a few timber clinging to snow-covered hills.

The trucker catches as much as a determine driving a bicycle. It’s a younger man in a puffy coat and goggles. “Where’d you come from?” the trucker yells out the window.

“Ontario, but I’m going to Argentina,” the biker says.

“On your bike?” the trucker asks.

“Yeah!” the biker replies.

“Oh man,” says the trucker. “I love you!”

The scene started the first of 72 movies launched by that biker, Iohan Gueorguiev, chronicling his six-year trek to (*33*) by means of a frozen-over ocean, deserts, canyons and forests. He found the grace of strangers and the companionship of wild animals, the glory of distant, untamed landscapes and an viewers of almost 100,000 subscribers on YouTube.

Mr. Gueorguiev (usually pronounced gyor-ghee-ev) died on Aug. 19 in Cranbrook, British Columbia, the place he had been utilizing the residence of associates as a base for journey throughout the pandemic. He was 33.

The trigger was suicide, stated Matthew Bardeen, a buddy who was serving to to supervise Mr. Gueorguiev’s affairs. His demise was introduced on biking web sites late final month.

Mr. Gueorguiev made his title overcoming challenges hurled at his physique and spirit. He was a star in the world of “bikepacking,” long-distance bike journey performed off essential roads. Calling himself the Bike Wanderer, he stood out for his Beatnik-like romanticism about the open street, in distinction to the competitiveness of many bike jocks and equipment heads.

Though Mr. Gueorguiev’s actual actions might be onerous to pin down, it appears clear he spent from April 2014 to March 2020 biking from the Canadian Arctic Circle to its South American antipode, the icy mountains and valleys of Patagonia. It was not a straight path. Mr. Gueorguiev sometimes flew again to Canada to earn cash planting timber, he stated. While biking, he would get sidetracked by serendipitous encounters and eccentric trails.

“The biggest realization so far is how many people are out here and having the time of their lives,” he stated in a video compiling highlights of his second 12 months of journey.

He shot his movies with a easy GoPro digital camera charged by a conveyable photo voltaic panel. He would generally place the digital camera at a distance, making it seem as if he traveled with a cinematographer. He earned about $3,000 a month by means of the funding web site Patreon and acquired bikepacking sponsorships, enabling him to change the primary touring bike he began with for one with fats tires designed for driving off-road.

However a lot Mr. Gueorguiev tried to forged the obstacles he encountered as half of a grand journey, his movies confirmed real hardships. Headwinds on desert plains required him to take lengthy breaks sheltered behind rocks and make a campsite in a stray transport container, which itself shook from highly effective gusts. He would go so long as 30 days with out seeing a fellow bicycle owner and, when biking was not possible, may wait two days on the street to get picked up as a hitchhiker.

A spirit of generosity helped him get by. “Hey, beautiful!” he referred to as out to a big bear staring at him. When a tanker truck passing him on the street kicked up a storm of mud, he waved cheerfully in response. When he was working out of meals on a very arduous journey, he however fed tortilla-and-peanut-butter sandwiches to stray canines.

Mr. Gueorguiev discovered marvel in the harshness of the wilderness. “There is snow here nine months of the year, and I wanted to see the North as it truly was,” he stated of his winter journey by means of the Arctic. He referred to as the distant Dempster Highway in Canada’s far northwest “a world of blue ice and white sky.”

“His curiosity just carried him over and over the next mountain,” stated Joe Stiller, whose biking gear firm, BarYak, sponsored Mr. Gueorguiev.

That outlook attracted a following.

“I’ve lived vicariously through Iohan for years,” one reader commented beneath an article about Mr. Gueorguiev’s demise on bikepacking.com. Another wrote, “My first bicycle trip changed me and my life forever and you were an integral part of that.” Logan Watts, the web site’s founder, stated it acquired file visitors the day the article was posted.

Iohan Gueorguiev was born on Jan. 20, 1988, in Bulgaria. He moved to Canada when he was 15, he stated on his web site. In his 20s he studied engineering for about two years at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. Karlee Winter, a buddy of his from McMaster, stated his dad and mom had despatched him to dwell with an uncle in Canada in search of higher alternatives.

Little details about his background was out there. Mr. Gueorguiev’s model of dwelling in the second included speaking little about his personal previous, associates and colleagues stated.

His former roommate at McMaster, Matt Vukovic, stated Mr. Gueorguiev’s choice to go away the college was motivated partially by his receiving a sponsorship and stipend in 2015 from the biking firm Blackburn.

With the onset of the pandemic, Mr. Gueorguiev discovered himself caught in Canada, unable to cross borders as a result of of journey restrictions. His movies grew shorter, and he ceased showing onscreen as an enthusiastic narrator of his personal experiences. Abiding by social distancing steering, he averted his recurring brief stays at the properties of new associates he had met on the street. In his on-line journal, he described biking in the chilly for days on finish and spending nights with out indoor heating.

“I had big expectations for the Farewell Canyon,” he wrote a couple of scenic space in British Columbia just a few days earlier than he died, “but it was very empty, gloomy and void of all traffic.”

Mr. Gueorguiev had in current months mentioned feeling stress about being unable to supply thrilling new movies for his patrons, Mr. Bardeen stated. He was additionally affected by insomnia. “I think I can get some sleep when I’m dead,” he wrote in a suicide word, in keeping with Mr. Bardeen.

Mr. Stiller stated he knew from his personal expertise touring by means of tough terrain how a lot Mr. Gueorguiev had disregarded of his cheerful movies — nights so chilly, he couldn’t sleep, and garments soaked from pushing his bike by means of snow.

“That’s why he got such a big following,” Mr. Stiller stated. “He seldom, if ever, portrayed the dangerous situations he put himself in.”

Sheelagh McNeill contributed analysis.

If you’re having ideas of suicide, name the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK). You can discover a checklist of extra assets at SpeakingOfSuicide.com/assets.