I’m sure for anyone starting their cycling tour there is a big count down until the day they leave. For us, we had the idea for our trip around three years before we set off, we hosted numerous touring cyclists in Hokkaido, gathering lots of useful information, and we did a few smaller trips in Japan before the big off. Now it is a whole year on since we said goodbye to our apartment in Iwamizawa and our friends we had many fun adventures with in Japan. And what a year it’s been. There have been so many amazing experiences leading to it being one of the best years, but also one of the worst years with losing my Dad. With great loss it can put life in perspective, to try and live every day and make the most of this one opportunity we have. I have tried as best I could to do this.
Trying to summarize our 100 days in China (not including Hong Kong and Macau) is a tough challenge, but I will try my best.
Firstly when I think of China I think of the size of the country, it’s massive, we all know this, but once you start cycling through it, you realise how ginormous it really is. As we painfully saw what felt like minimal progress each day as we inched our way across the map, we started to wonder what had we let ourselves in for. In the end we covered a grand total of 5,265km (nearly half of our total cycling distance so far). As Andy mentioned before, if we had taken the G30, the longest road in China, from the port we arrived in to where we exited it would have been 4,243km but we had other plans. We wanted to avoid too much cold weather and in doing so we decided to do China in 3 parts. Each one very different and increasingly more fun and beautiful.
G30 from Lianyungang to Khorgas (not our route)
April 21st – 26th. 454km
Another amazing week in China. Sorry, these updates are probably sounding very monotonous, but we’ve had more spectacular scenery, friendly people and great food, so spirits are high! We’re making decent progress north now too, covering the distance we need to every day without it feeling too much like a slog. We’re into Sichuan Province with plenty of time left on our visas so we’re treating ourselves to another well earned rest day.
April 13th – 20th 519km
Right then. Back into China and time to tackle the mountains of Yunnan. We hadn’t exactly been looking forward to this leg of the trip but, one week in, it’s been amazing! We’d been expecting the climbs and the roadworks, of which we’ve had plenty, but even so, we’ve had some of the best days of the trip so far. We enjoyed our previous two legs in China, but the days could be long and monotonous, with little reward for our hard work other than seeing the distance on the speedo at the end of the day. Here in Yunnan, we are cycling harder and climbing higher than we have before, but the landscape is so beautiful and the people so friendly that we finish each day exhausted, but smiling. The past week has felt like a real adventure, giving us a taste for much more to come.
April 9th to 12th 151km
Oudomxai turned out to be quite a nice little town and we stayed for a couple of nights. Our time in South East Asia has been a bit of a holiday, waiting out the winter so that when we cross Central Asia later in the year it’ll be a lot warmer than if we’d headed there in a straight line. With that in mind, we weren’t in any rush to cross the border into China, where we’ll be restricted by the time on our visas, so will be pushing to get more distance done each day.