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

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


A truck barrels by means of a blizzard down a road built of ice. The highway is so far north in Canada that at 10 p.m. the sunshine nonetheless illuminates the landscape, which is empty except for a several trees clinging to snow-coated hills.

The trucker catches up to a figure using a bicycle. It is really a youthful guy in a puffy coat and goggles. “Where’d you appear from?” the trucker yells out the window.

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

“On your bike?” the trucker asks.

“Yeah!” the biker replies.

“Oh male,” claims the trucker. “I adore you!”

The scene started the first of 72 videos unveiled by that biker, Iohan Gueorguiev, chronicling his 6-calendar year trek to Argentina through a frozen-around ocean, deserts, canyons and forests. He identified the grace of strangers and the companionship of wild animals, the glory of remote, untamed landscapes and an audience of nearly 100,000 subscribers on YouTube.

Mr. Gueorguiev (commonly pronounced gyor-ghee-ev) died on Aug. 19 in Cranbrook, British Columbia, in which he experienced been making use of the residence of buddies as a foundation for vacation all through the pandemic. He was 33.

The lead to was suicide, said Matthew Bardeen, a good friend who was helping to oversee Mr. Gueorguiev’s affairs. His death was introduced on biking sites late last month.

Mr. Gueorguiev designed his title overcoming problems hurled at his entire body and spirit. He was a star in the world of “bikepacking,” lengthy-distance bike vacation performed off key roadways. Calling himself the Bicycle Wanderer, he stood out for his Beatnik-like romanticism about the open up highway, in distinction to the competitiveness of numerous bike jocks and gear heads.

While Mr. Gueorguiev’s exact actions could be tough to pin down, it would seem apparent he put in 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 route. Mr. Gueorguiev once in a while flew back again to Canada to gain revenue planting trees, he said. When biking, he would get sidetracked by serendipitous encounters and eccentric trails.

“The biggest realization so considerably is how lots of folks are out listed here and getting the time of their life,” he said in a video clip compiling highlights of his 2nd calendar year of travel.

He shot his videos with a basic GoPro digital camera charged by a moveable photo voltaic panel. He would from time to time place the digital camera at a length, producing it surface as if he traveled with a cinematographer. He attained about $3,000 a month by the funding internet site Patreon and received bikepacking sponsorships, enabling him to exchange the fundamental touring bike he started out with for 1 with unwanted fat tires intended for using off-street.

Nevertheless substantially Mr. Gueorguiev attempted to forged the road blocks he encountered as part of a grand experience, his films showed genuine hardships. Headwinds on desert plains needed him to get very long breaks sheltered powering rocks and make a campsite in a stray shipping container, which by itself shook from impressive gusts. He would go as lengthy as 30 days devoid of seeing a fellow bike owner and, when biking was not feasible, could wait around two days on the highway to get picked up as a hitchhiker.

A spirit of generosity served him get by. “Hey, stunning!” he called out to a big bear staring at him. When a tanker truck passing him on the street kicked up a storm of dust, he waved cheerfully in reaction. When he was running out of meals on a notably arduous journey, he however fed tortilla-and-peanut-butter sandwiches to stray pet dogs.

Mr. Gueorguiev observed surprise in the harshness of the wilderness. “There is snow here 9 months of the year, and I wished to see the North as it truly was,” he said of his winter journey by means of the Arctic. He identified as the remote Dempster Highway in Canada’s far northwest “a entire world of blue ice and white sky.”

“His curiosity just carried him in excess of and in excess of the next mountain,” mentioned Joe Stiller, whose biking equipment business, BarYak, sponsored Mr. Gueorguiev.

That outlook captivated a next.

“I’ve lived vicariously as a result of Iohan for a long time,” a single reader commented down below an post about Mr. Gueorguiev’s dying on bikepacking.com. An additional wrote, “My initially bicycle vacation transformed me and my existence for good and you ended up an integral element of that.” Logan Watts, the website’s founder, reported it been given file targeted traffic the working day the write-up was posted.

Iohan Gueorguiev was born on Jan. 20, 1988, in Bulgaria. He moved to Canada when he was 15, he said on his site. In his 20s he studied engineering for about two a long time at McMaster College in Hamilton, Ontario. Karlee Winter season, a mate of his from McMaster, reported his mothers and fathers had sent him to reside with an uncle in Canada in look for of improved prospects.

Little details about his track record was offered. Mr. Gueorguiev’s design and style of dwelling in the moment integrated speaking minor about his own past, buddies and colleagues explained.

His previous roommate at McMaster, Matt Vukovic, claimed Mr. Gueorguiev’s decision to depart the university was inspired in section by his getting a sponsorship and stipend in 2015 from the biking company Blackburn.

With the onset of the pandemic, Mr. Gueorguiev observed himself trapped in Canada, unable to cross borders because of vacation limitations. His movies grew shorter, and he ceased showing up onscreen as an enthusiastic narrator of his possess ordeals. Abiding by social distancing guidance, he avoided his habitual short stays at the homes of new buddies he experienced achieved on the street. In his on the net journal, he described biking in the chilly for times on finish and spending nights without having indoor heating.

“I experienced huge expectations for the Farewell Canyon,” he wrote about a scenic spot in British Columbia a number of times prior to he died, “but it was pretty vacant, gloomy and void of all targeted traffic.”

Mr. Gueorguiev had in recent months mentioned experience strain about being unable to produce interesting new videos for his patrons, Mr. Bardeen said. He was also suffering from sleeplessness. “I believe I can get some sleep when I’m dead,” he wrote in a suicide note, in accordance to Mr. Bardeen.

Mr. Stiller stated he knew from his very own expertise traveling through rough terrain how substantially Mr. Gueorguiev had left out of his cheerful films — nights so cold, he could not snooze, and garments soaked from pushing his bicycle by way of snow.

“That’s why he bought these types of a major following,” Mr. Stiller stated. “He seldom, if at any time, portrayed the risky scenarios he put himself in.”

Sheelagh McNeill contributed exploration.

If you are obtaining feelings of suicide, call the Countrywide Suicide Avoidance Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (Chat). You can find a listing of further assets at SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources.