In June I'm setting off on a tour from the UK to China. Our current route has us going through Iran via Turkey. We've heard several reports that many cyclist have been refused a Visa by the Iranian Embassy in Turkey. We aren't too hopeful of obtaining a Visa, however, we were wondering whether anyone knew what the lastest position was, or whether they had experienced this problem themselves.
In 2005 I know of quite a few Frenchs (due to their position on the veil) and Britishs that have been refused the Iranian visa in Turkey, I don't think it has change... I would not have too many hopes,...
If the worse happens and you cannot get it, you could still take the road through the Caucase then the boat on the Caspian and pass through Central Asia, which is the road we took and is really beautifull too!
Check out the thorn tree, a forum by Lonely Planet, they have a section on bike travel and the audience is definately international with extensive travel to all parts of the globe. By the way, after turkey what countries will you be traveling through. I too am leaving in June for a trip through central Asia that includes Kyrgyzstan, Tibet and Nepal to name just a few. Good luck and journey on.
Trek Fuel 90, 531 Time Trial, 531 tourer plus a few early MTB relics.
Turn right at Turkey
I did a similar trip in 1980. Turned south from Turkey because the Iranian revolution had just taken place. I went through Syria, Jordan, Saudia Arabia, Kuwait, back into Saudi because no boats down the Gulf, Qatar, UAE where I finally got a local boat to Karachi. Probably not as interesting as your intended route. I found that no matter how difficult people told me it was to get a visa for the next country there was usually a way to get in. Saudia would only issue a transit visa, there was no such thing as a tourist visa. So if even you can't get a visa in the UK, you may find you can get one in Turkey.
Edward Genochio should have plenty of info on the Russian route: http://www.2wheels.org.uk/
Yes you are dead right about camping in SE Asia ...send your camping gear home. Hotels are cheap and I can't remember seeing a camping site.
Remember your life may change on such a trip so don't bank of returning to old blighty!