Pics from our first weeks in China

Here’s a few pics we resized in our first couple of weeks on the road, but never managed to post in China – or rather, were blocked by the Great Firewall… Loads more to sift through when we get home!

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The road to Dechen is said to offer some of the best views on the Yunnan-Tibet highway…

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Dropping down towards Zhongdian – I mean Shangri La, as it has been officially renamed, a marketing gimmick for the hordes of Chinese tourists… There’s an ‘eco-village’ nearby – cue convoys of tour buses.

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Every day in China was a banquet. The parents of this little fellow ran one of our favourite finds.

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Peckish? Dumplings don’t get better than these. Steaming hot. Just 3 Yuan a plate – that’s 20p.

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Or maybe blackened chicken legs are more your thing, fresh from a market in Kunming.

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What the?!! We didn’t even want to ask what this was, shiny and hanging in the sun outside a Tibetan restaurant in Zhongdian.

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Not wishing to dwell too much on food… but the night markets were the gastronomic business too. Skewers of wild mushroom and yak meat cooked over a charcoal fire.  

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This here pooch, its fur matted and dreaded, would have loved to have taken our legs clean off. Luckily he was chained up, as most of the Tibetan Mastifs are. Which drives them aperplectic when cyclists pass.

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The kids, on the other hand, were far more friendly. Trailers are always a good icebreaker. Children love to chase after them, and if you’re lucky, give you a helping push. The mischievous ones try and hop on.

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Although it should have been dry, we had heavy rain in the first week north of Lijiang – this was what we got when the skies cleared…

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And this…

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Being November, the leaves were starting to turn, as summer gave way to autumn. A good time to visit.

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The local machines. Mad Max tractor/trailers, acting as both people carriers and goods carriers. The dog on this one eyed us up enviously – a thick rope stopped it from bounding over.

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And our machines…. We were both running Extrawheel trailers from Poland. Mine used a 700c wheel, as I was riding a 29er, and Cara’s a more readily available 26in hoop. Both wheels used the same rims as our bikes, so they could be swapped out in case of a failure. Lucky, that.

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Cass, the Inbred 29er and the Extrawheel in action. Aside from allowing us to carry a spare wheel and tyre, we chose them to open up singletrack opportunities too.

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10 Responses to “Pics from our first weeks in China”


  1. 1 colin greenwood December 17, 2007 at 2:20 pm

    wow. what a trip. i’m thinking of hanoi – kunming – lhasa – kathmandu for aug / sept / oct this year.

    is that where you’re headed? do you know anybody who would fancy doing it with me? i’ve done bike trips on my own, but i think i’d like some company for this one!

    col

  2. 2 brkeyes7 December 17, 2007 at 5:47 pm

    What an adventure. I’m jealous. You guys make my life seem so boring. Great pictures!

  3. 3 Gilbert family back in Dorset December 17, 2007 at 8:53 pm

    Fantastic to have some great photos to accompany great blog.
    Love to you and to Cara.
    The Gilberts back in Dorset

  4. 4 steve rooney December 18, 2007 at 2:26 pm

    great pics
    im so jealous
    weather is the sorta same in scotland at the moment 🙂

  5. 5 Simon G December 18, 2007 at 11:15 pm

    Glad to hear that you are safely back on the tourist trail. The guilty pleasures of easy food and drink has it´s appeal. Loving the photos…inspired me to to take some market and food shots whilst the weather isn´t conducive to the landscape stuff. Take care and safe travels…S

  6. 6 otbiking December 19, 2007 at 11:25 am

    Thanks for your comments – nice to know someone is checking out the blog! More pics to follow, when we get home…

    Colin – we are at the end of our travels now. We effectively rode from Chengdu to Vientiane, though I toured from Vietnam to Kunming several years ago, via Hanoi and Sapa.

    The route from Zhongdian to Lhasa (on the southern Yunnan highway) is a popular one. We met loads of people this year who rode it without any PSB hassles or permits – this was both in both directions. After that, Lhasa to KMD is no problem.

  7. 7 james December 19, 2007 at 8:39 pm

    Cass, great pix as always. Look forward to seeing more. Hope to catch up with you both sometime once you are back.

  8. 8 bridget December 20, 2007 at 7:02 pm

    Hi Cass and Cara
    have so enjoyed following in your bike tracks again – its fantastic to see this region that i once cycled 7 years ago – things have changed but also not, it seems. Makes me want to go back and revisit too…
    when are you going to head over to SA? have some awesome routes in mind for you!
    bestest
    bridget

  9. 9 Graham Aza December 22, 2007 at 12:05 pm

    Great pix – see you in Bristol in 08.

    Love and best wishes from Graham and family

  10. 10 Mave November 7, 2009 at 11:01 am

    Skydur.com – cool proxy site to bypass China Firewall. Skydur.com is faster and so much easier to use then the other crappy web based ones.
    All my favorite sites youtube, facebook and twitter open correctly using Skydur. It’s not free but it’s my best spent money recently – just $16.99 for 3 months. Check it out here – http://www.skydur.com


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