November 30th, hong kong
It’s easy to have a picture of a country from other people’s experiences, books, the Internet etc. We definitely had set ideas in our minds of what we thought China would be like. Andy had visited Beijing as a child but didn’t remember too much of what it was really like. I had never been to China and was a bit apprehensive about cycling there. A country with nearly 1.4 billion people and in my head where every road would be busy with traffic and difficult to manoeuvre a bike. A country where there were few manners, a country where people weren’t the friendliest, a country that was polluted and destroyed from industry. So why was it we were taking this route rather than an alternative? These weren’t the only preconceptions we had. We had also heard the good too, that this enormous country had a lot to offer and we were excited to find out for ourselves what it was really like.
November 21st – 26th Suichuan to Ting Shui Wai, Hong Kong 592km
We were up early, ready for a long day, with over 110km planned from Suichan to continue our mission of getting to Hong Kong by the weekend. Our hotel room didn’t have a window (often the cheap rooms don’t) so we only saw what the weather was doing once we got outside. It was raining heavily, yet another wet day. Then, wheeling our bikes out of the hotel, we noticed that both of our rear tyres were very soft. They must’ve picked up punctures riding through the muddy rough road on the way into town the previous afternoon. So we changed the tubes, sheltering from the rain in the porch of the hotel trying and failing not to get too dirty from all the mud on our tyres and wheels. Great start. Then we rode out into the pouring rain, having wasted the first hour of the day!
November 13th – 19th Huangshan to Suichuan 735km
We had half hoped that on our last day in Huangshan the weather would play nice and we’d get some clear skies to see the mountains. The forecast had looked good and we were prepared to stick around for an extra day and pay the entrance fee to go into the park. But, waking up on Friday morning, the cloud base was even lower than it had been the previous day so we weren’t going to be seeing anything. Only one thing for it, hit the road.
November 8th – 12th Nanjing to Huangshan 286km
We spent a couple of days relaxing in Nanjing, which luckily coincided with some terrible weather. It had been really warm and muggy when we arrived, and within a couple of hours of getting into our apartment, the heavens opened and it poured with rain. It made having a great place to stay feel all the sweeter. Again, big thanks to Chen for helping us so much. He took us out for a couple of beers one evening with his colleague Ken and we had a great time chatting and hearing about the expat life in China.
NOVEMBER 1ST – 6TH LIANYUNGANG TO NANJING 362KM
The experience of taking the boat from Korea to China, although a bit unclear and confusing at times, was actually a lot less stressful than we were expecting. The Incheon – Lianyungang route isn’t a particularly major one, so there wasn’t a huge amount of information available online. We chose it as it took us as far south as possible in China, as we’re racing south to get away from the cold as winter sets in.