So with the arrival of nice sunny weather, I’ve been trying to go outdoors as much as possible. This year I now finally have a bike so have been able to join the bike camping trips that many of my friends have been doing for a few years now.
It seemed so much easier talking about it than actually doing it! I had a baptism of fire with a quick overnighter with a friend of mine Patrick a few weeks prior to this. We left at 9 pm one evening and rode to a nearby mountain (only took a mere 30 mins) and then up to the top (around 700 metres up) I thought maybe an hour or two, but no it was 2:30 am when we reached the top! Although it was a hard ride it wasn’t beyond my reach, and I thought not a bad effort for my first time out.
Then comes the May day holiday and we decided to organise a trip leaving around 9 pm on Friday night and returning Sunday morning/lunchtime. At 100kms round trip it was never going to be easy……. but damn I was not ready for the insane amount of climbing that there was to be undertaken. The first night was literally no problem at all, starting with a ferry journey and then a few hours of flat riding. We ended with a short climb and found a place by the side of the road to camp, made some food, pitched tents and sat drinking for a while.
The next morning after packing up we headed off, at first it was not too bad, challenging but doable. Then just before lunch a huge climb, which although was followed by a huge downhill still hurt my hands from all the braking and my rookie mistake not to bring/buy riding gloves. Lunch turned out to be a usual Chinese affair with plenty of cheersing…. and then another huge climb!
About half way up and with the sun baking down with nowhere to shelter I got off and for a long section of the mountain took turns pushing the bike and riding intermittently. All whilst cursing a lot of wanting to quit. Luckily I had no choice but to keep going and after some tough times I made it past the climb and we cruised downhill to our next roadside campsite.
As is true Chinese life we were woken up the next day by crowds of elderly Chinese people doing exercise and Tai Chi routines all around where we were camping! I’ve grown to really enjoy this kind of randomness since moving here, it was actually a pleasant and interesting start to the day! The last morning was cut a little short as my wife was ill and not wanting her to be ill and stuck with the baby I caught a taxi home the remaining 30 km with my bike in the boot. All in all a great yet gruelling experience!
I’m currently uploading a video I’ve edited together from GoPro footage of the ride, and I’ll post that up here as soon as I’ve finished it.