Posts Tagged ‘choice’

Shangri-la to Batang Yunnan & Sichuan Day 3

Friday, February 18th, 2011

2011-01-19 100I woke up refreshed, it had been a goods night sleep, I made breakfast and checked the emails for comments on the blog. I was a little disappointed that there were only two comments, one for each way. I pondered what to do for a while, then got on the bike and headed North. My heart was telling me to go that way so it felt right. I had no idea where the road would lead, it looked as if it was a dead end at the end of the valley but I had been looking at the cars coming and going, and logically I was in the right place and the road must go on. I got to the end of the valley and a narrow gap between the two sides allowed the river and a road to slide through. I kept following the road and was blessed with tarmac and generally flat cycling. There was the odd patch where there had been a rock fall and the road was not sealed and covered in rocks but generally it was pretty good. By early afternoon I arrived at a small house that Margo and Ben had mentioned. (they are cycling a few weeks ahead of me)

abbandoned house

They said it was an abandoned house and good for camping in, they had also left me a note in the house. I opened the door and looked all over for the note but could not find it anywhere. I pondered staying the night but decided it was too early in the day so I had some nuts and tea and pushed on. The road continued to be good and I felt like I was making great progress. There were only a few places were I had to look at the map and a new tunnel that was built into the side of the mountain threw me for a bit, until I got near it and I realised that it was not completed yet so that was not my route.

new tunnel china

Just before night fall I passed what I took to be small hotel, I stopped outside and contemplated about staying the night. There was at least another half and hour of cycling to be had. My dilemma was that I had not seen any good camp sites for ages. The cliff on onside with regular rock fall did not seem appealing and it would only get about 2 meters away from the road at best. On the other side of the road it was not much better a sheer drop into water or a tiny ledge a meter or so from the road where if I rolled over in the night I would probably end up doing some sort of night time water expedition instead. I opted for the hotel. It was new and clean, all dorm rooms and a bargain 25 Yen for the night including dinner. It took me a while to work this out and there was much laughter in the kitchen at my bad Chinese. The two young boys of the house looked after me well and helped me with my bags and were very patient with my Chinese. The boys were fascinated with my maps and studied them in great detail while I ate my dinner. I managed to charge the computer and get some writing done and had a good nights sleep.

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Shangri-la to Batang Yunnan & Sichuan Day 2

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

It took ages to pack up and get breakfast down me, I was slowly resigning myself to the fact that it was not possible to go much faster and that, in the cold things just took longer. I followed my last nights tracks out the car park and slowly head up the hill. The road conditions varied to hard packed snow that was the best to cycle on, to water and slush that was the most difficult. As time progressed my confidence increased I started to think that I was actually going to be able to do this. Various cars and trucks passed me, some more surprised than others to see a bike on the road. On some of the small narrow inclines I waited for a good gap between cars until I went up and generally managed to get up all the way. Some of the cars were struggling and others were making it look easy. I grinned to myself as I passed one car that kept going backwards down the hill, the bike was better than the car I thought. Still it would be rude not to help so I parked the bike on the side of the road and offered to push. I wanted to explain that he really needed snow chains, as I was doing this he produced some chains from the back of the car and we all smiled, I got back on the bike confident that they would make it now.

shangri-la ski ressort

My midday the snow was getting less and and shortly after I passed the Shangri-la ski resort that I did not even know existed, the snow was gone. I was a little disappointed but secretly relieved at the same time, I was able to make great progress now. I was rewarded with stunning views, amazing down-hills and soon arrived to a little village. I decided to get some food here, I popped into one of the restaurants and asked if they could do me some fried rice. They said yes but I soon got the feeling I was putting them out and that really they had shut for the afternoon. Still the food was good and I sat by the fire to eat my rice. With a late lunch inside me I set off again, I got some directions at a junction and asked again shortly after to make sure this was the right way and was soon climbing up a hill in warm weather surrounded by forest on either side. ©

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I reached the top sooner than i thought and had another massive downhill, I meandered around bends and ended up in a deep gorge flying past small Tibetan houses. A huge lorry with PVC windows passed me and I wondered where it was going. Most of the houses had wooden windows here and were beautifully carved and decorated. Over the next few days I paid more attention to the windows on each of the houses I cycled past. It turned out that like England there had been a three phase change, windows started off as sash and wood, then changed to aluminium and the newest of the houses had white PVC widows. I was glad to see that some people were still keeping with tradition though and a some of the new houses had the traditional style wooden windows.

tibetan house

I reached the end of the gorge and arrived at a big bridge. This was the feature that I was looking for on my map. I was due to turn right here, however both my speedo and the road signs were telling a different story. A small truck came over the bridge and we studied the map together. He assured me that this was not the bridge that I was after and that I had to go on a bit further still. I thanked him and he drove off. I lingered for while wondering where this new road led to.

unmakred bridge

My thoughts were disturbed by a couple of tractor cars, as I call them, coming past, these guys were my road trip friends and we had been following each other all day, sometimes I was in front and other times they were. I had shared some of my nuts with them in the morning and we would exchange big grins and waves every time we saw each other. I followed them up onto a bumpy unsealed road and we soon found ourselves at a difficult section of road. Most of the cars were taking a good run up and making it to the top. I waited for a gap and went for it, my feet hit the ground almost straight away, the apple size rocks were just too big and moving under my wheels, I got off and started to push. My tractor friends were coming back down the hill having pushed one of their tractor things up. I tucked in while a few cars passed, then took the gap to carry on. A few moments later another car came up behind me only this time the road was not big enough for the both of us. He had to stop to avoid hitting me and then was stuck, momentum lost. One guy motioned that I should get up the hill quicker and I said that he should have waited for me. He did not understand what I was saying and I carried on heaving the bike up the slope. I got to the top and caught my breath and looked back. I, or should I say, the driver that was stuck had now caused a big traffic jam. I found a spot to leave the bike and went back to help push. By the time I got there they were half way up and I thought that if I got involved I would only make things worse again. The car made it to the top and the waiting cars went buy, I helped push the other tractor cart up the hill and we were all on our way again.

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I soon arrived at the bridge, here I had to make a decision, Deqin or North. I sat by the cross roads and pondered what to do. Various people came past and I explained my dilemma to the more curious ones. It started to get dark and I was still no closer to a decision. Eventually I formulated a plan. I would take the north road for just a few kms the road was flat along the river and I could probably find somewhere to camp. I would ask the readers of the blog to decide and sleep on it. I cycled a few kms down the road and entered into Sichuan my second Chinese province. I found a good spot to get the bike and me off the road and out of sight. There was not enough room for the tent so I just put the ground sheet out and unpacked my sleeping mats and bags. The sky was clear and it was a lot warmer than Shangri-la, a perfect night for a bivi.

bivi china yunnan

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Decide which way I go on my bike – Update

Friday, January 28th, 2011

Thanks to the three that did respond,  I had hoped more people were following, but that’s life as a small fish in a big pond.  I went north, the vote was 3 for north and 1 for explore.  The route to Deqin would have been great but i am pushed for time as it is and will probably have to get a bus some of the way to Beijing anyway.  I have now accepted this.  It is hard when you want to do everything by bike but even bikeabout has time restrictions.  So i am going to do as much as i can over the next month and a half and enjoy it rather than try and rush though.  Although hearing from Ben and Margo who are a week ahead of me, the route north will be just as exciting as if the last week was not exciting enough, blog coming soon, exciting tales – hopefully i can do them justice.

However from here i have been advised by Ben and Margo not to go north but to head east around the mountain then north.  This is there advice  ‘So apart from the snow, ice, bears, impassable passes and bollock numbing cold, it’s all good!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!’ Hmmmm decisions what to do now, go north then east or just go north and see what happens.


Due to lack of space to put up a tent and good weather, I am biving by the side of the road with the river to the side of me and the noise of heavy machinery in the background. The moon is about to crest the tops of the valley walls and I will no longer need my torch to see. Just hope the diggers don’t decided to dig up my camp site while I am asleep.

Its been a long day despite a late start. The first half I was riding on snow, ice and slush. I only came off the bike once as well which I am very pleased at. This afternoon I have been coasting downhill and pushing uphill when even the cars have needed to be pushed due to the lack of road. It has been amazing fun and hard work at the same time.

Tomorrow I have a choice: go one way to Deqin on a road that is under construction and probably goes up to about 4000m. This will take me of the route to Beijing and set me back at least a week. Once in Deqin there is a two/three day trek around the foot of a mountain that is meant to be very beautiful and has never been summitted. I can’t attempt it as I don’t have the skills and it is now forbidden to attempt to summit. Sounds amazing.

The second choice take the northern route that will no doubt be hard and high and beautiful too but will take me in my intended.

I have a long way to go to Beijing and I have only the slimmest chance of making it there in time to meet Liz and carry on to Mongolia without taking a bus. If I go to Deqin then I will definitely have to take a bus.

Before I got here I had made up my mind carry on North second choice but now as I sit here bathed in moonlight I can’t decided.

So you have about 7 hours to comment and decided my route. Please no twitter responses I can’t see them in China only make them, just comment below. Thanks.

The most votes for each choice will decided my route. Very scary putting my destiny in your hands.

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