Grate north bike ride part 2
The Start of our ride
24/07/2010 Day 1
We got up at 5:30 packed our things and ate breakfast. We did not hurry and by seven we started riding. It was really hot and the sun climbed higher and higher through the clear cloudless blue sky. Riding on a long flat road with the odd truck, a few cars and some motorbikes. The road stretched out in lengths of about 5K at a time reaching into a hazy horizon. Not many people live here but the road got busier throughout the day.
Xiaoshuang was tired still from the train ride and overwhelmed by the distance. The ride was hard for her and the heat of the sun was almost too much. After riding about 70 kilometres we stopped under a bridge, we talked a little about the ride so far. I asked her how important it was, do you really want to do this? She said it wasn't so important, but she wanted to complete it anyway.
We passed the hundred K mark, rested drank and ate the last bits of food and water and set off on what we thought were still 30 km to ride. A hundred metres further on we went round the corner and found ourselves at our destination! Checking into the small guesthouse and talking to local people, they asked us if we wanted to go to swim with them in the river. Xiaoshuang said she wanted to rest and stay here. But I jumped on the back of a motorbike with the owner of the hotel. And went to the River for a swim. The guesthouse has no showers and this was the perfect way to get clean after a long hot day. Another early night as we plan to get up the next morning at 4:30.
25/07/2010 Day 2
This ride was meant to be 60 km to a small town called bo ke tu. But we did an extra 20 km more to a small village giving us a shorter day the day after. The weather was great, we rested for two hours at lunch and still arrived at the end of our ride by three o'clock! Today we were both high-spirited and both found the riding quite easy. This was despite the large amount of up and down. The roads were not flat and straight like yesterday.
26/07/2010 Day 3
Today was the same, set off at 4:30. It was cold for the first hour as we rode into the early morning mist. After 11 o'clock the road got quite busy with trucks and cars, we had our customary two hours break, and still we arrived even earlier at our destination, two o'clock! Despite this early arrival, we had ridden 100 km we found a nice hotel to stay, we could have showers and get our clothes cleaned properly. 7:30 and time for sleep, more tomorrow.
27/07/2010 Day 4, White Noise
Today was our hardest day of the whole ride, we started again at 4:30 AM. There was not a cloud in the sky, but the wind blew straight in our faces as we set off. It was cold for the first hour or so, but as we climbed over the first hill and rode down the heat grew. Xiaoshuang's panniers were not very aerodynamic and this slowed her down quite a lot. By midday we were passing the town where we planned to stay, but to make the riding easier for the day after we rode on in search of a small village where we could stay. We rode on and on, and on and on! At 6:00 we found a small village but they said there was know where to stay here! We got back on our bikes and nearly one hour later found a farm house with a room we could rent. They fed us well and we slept like baby's :-)
28/07/2010 Day 5
Today was one of the shortest rides we did only about 90 km. Today we rode back into the trees, the grate forest of North China, the flat grassland and hot dry wind left far behind. The most noteworthy thing was our accommodation, it consisted of giant dog kennels! We slept well again that night ready for the following day.