July 2005 - All-new
2wheeels: The Return website launched, with details
of the 2005/6 bicycle expedition from China to the UK,
new writing, and more.
June 2005 - updated
practical information for cycle touring in Russia, China,
Mongolia, Moldova, Europe - click here.
Tuesday, 18th January 2005
Hong Kong! arrived here at last yesterday, 20,500 and something kilometres from Exeter. Got up this morning and didn't have to ride a bicycle anywhere. Strange feeling. Steepest hill of the whole journey was saved to the very last 5km of the ride, on Hong Kong island up over the ridge and down to the south side and Deep Water Bay.
Full story coming soon on this website - but in the meantime please consider making a donation to one of the charities I am supporting - details on this page. Thank you.
Thursday, 13th January 2005
Getting there... slowly. In Qing Yuan tonight, Guangdong province. Unexpected hills gave me some serious climbing in the morning, some brake-testing and very cold descending after lunch and a nasty little 30km into a stiff headwind just to finish things off in the evening. Only three days to go now to Hong Kong, so I suppose I'd better enjoy it all while it lasts.
Wednesday, 12th January 2005
Glad to be out of Yangshuo. Something about it was driving me crazy. It is downhill all the way from Yangshuo down to Guangdong province. Or so it seems. Apart from the uphill bits, obviously. Just crossed over into Guangdong this evening. I didn't get on with Guangxi very well so pleased to be here, even if my Cantonese is not too hot. People seem to be able to speak something approximating to Mandarin down here though. Little town of Guang Ning tonight. Just went over 20,000 km today. My first 10,000 km took me exactly 100 days. My second 10 k k has taken 216 days. Am I getting old?
Sunday, 9th January 2005
The nice people at West Street Inn in Yangshuo are letting me use their computer so here is a little plug for them. They are at 61 Pantao Lu opposite the bus station.
Saturday, 8th January 2005
Taking a few days off amid the peaks and tourist hordes in Yangshuo.
Monday, 3rd January 2005
Up in the hills on the Hunan - Guangxi border, getting into karst country, weathered limestone peaks jutting up from flat river valleys. But more to the point, there are some great biscuits here in Jiang Yong - the biscuit test is the key to deciding whether a town is any good or not. Last night's place, Dao Xian, failed miserably on that score, though perhaps someone with local knowledge will spring to the town's defence and let me know where good biscuits can be found. (NB the rules are: biscuits must 1. Taste good. 2. Be sold loose by the jin. 3. Not be individually plastic-wrapped. 4. Cost 5 kuai per jin or less.)
Tonight I'm in a hotel with "hot showers" that are actually hot. This is a real treat. And the light switch is inside the room, quite unusually sophisticated for Hunan, where most luguan (cheap hotels) have bedroom light switches strategically located in the corridor.
Sunday, 2nd January 2005
Moutains! The first since... well, the first real pass since Russia I think. Good to get the legs back in climbing mode, along a road that looks deceptively straight on the map but is a real winding, switch-backing climber on the ground. Takes me from Zi Shan to Dao Xian in southern Hunan province. Oh, and the sun is shining - climbing in t-shirt today, a nice change after the show and cold, wet weather of the past week.
Wednesday, 29th December 2004
Well it was a cold and wet Christmas, not much fun for riding. And to add to the joy, I bust my rear wheel rim about 40km short of Li Ling in Hunan province. Limped carefully into town and just made it - I think another 5km or so would have finished the wheel off. The road was pretty bad, full of flooded pot-holes and I think I hit one of them a bit hard... The bike shop in Li Ling were extremely helpful, and got a new rim delivered specially from Changsha for me. So I now have a shiny new bright red rear wheel, which matches all the Santa Claus hats that the good folk of Li Ling were wearing over Christmas, though my wheel lacks the flashing red lights that decorate the hats.
I stayed a few days in Li Ling, as the rain turned to snow and riding would have been unpleasant and dangerous too.
Still no blue sky today, but it's dry at least and perhaps a degree warmer, so I'm heading south past and west towards Guangxi province.
Friday, 24th December 2004
Back on the road again, now heading FROM SHANGHAI TO HONG KONG on my bicycle.
Happy Christmas to you all from near Pingxiang on the Jiangxi/Hunan border in southeast China. It is extremely cold and wet here tonight, and the road is pretty dire too. On the plus side, they have decent biscuits (essential bike fuel).
A big thank you to Eclipse Internet who have agreed to renew their sponsorship of this website and keep it online for a second year.
DIGICAM PROBLEM - the other day my Canon A70 digital camera (which, until today it has been great) has died on me. Completely kaput. So no more pictures for the website for the time being. If you happen to work for a digital camera supplier and think you might be able to get me out of this photographic hole, in return for some good PR, please contact me right away. Thanks.
Camera update - I'm getting an E18 error, which by many accounts seems to be a pretty common and incurable problem with Canon digital cameras. Bad news.
See here for details of the CHARITIES I will be supporting for this leg of the ride, aiming to raise US$ 20,000 to support them, one dollar for every km of the journey from England to Hong Kong.
HONG KONG BORDER CROSSING??
I've not yet managed to find a definitive answer on whether it is possible to ride a bicycle across the border from Guangdong into Hong Kong SAR. I know there is a truck crossing but I've had mixed messages on whether you can ride a bicycle across.
Failing that, I suppose I have to get on the KCR at the Lo Wu crossing point. Again, no one seems to know for sure whether they'd let me put my bike on the train (even for just one stop).
Does anybody know the definitive answer on cycling into Hong Kong from 'mainland' China? Please let me know!
In the karst landscape near Yangshuo, Guangxi province, China
See diary section
or daily log
for more. [Old home-page photos are stored here.]
Can you recommend a place to
visit between England and China? Or offer accommodation for
a night, or a cup of tea? Send me a message....
Journey diary, updated regularly
from the road.
Charity sponsorship in aid of
the Nanren Project - please give generously!.
2nd March 04 - as featured on BBC
29th Feb 04 - As heard on BBC Radio Devon this morning.
25th January 2004
I'm planning to set off in a month's time. Until yesterday,
preparations seemed to be on track. Then I was hit by a car
on my way to work.
I was half way round the A505 - A10 roundabout at Royston
in Hertfordshire. A car drove straight into the side of me.
I am a bit bruised and grazed but luckily not too badly hurt.
If there had been another vehicle behind me it could have
been a different story.
It wasn't a high-speed collision, but I was surprised by
how hard you get hit, and by how far you bounce, even at low
speeds. I was wearing a helmet and I'm glad I was.
The bike took a bit of a pounding though. I think
the frame is OK, but most of the "peripherals" -
wheels, derailleurs, handbars, etc - are bent, buckled, or
This website is always going to be a "work-in-progress"
- I'll be adding to it all the time, both before I go and
during the ride itself. Once I reach Shanghai it should provide
a complete record of the ride, from its initial inception
as an idea, through the planning stages to its eventual -
hopefully successful - conclusion.
It is part personal diary, part travelogue, part technical manual, part fundraising and publicity tool, part personal organiser, part research aid, part stream of consciousness. To minimise visitor confusion, I will try, so far as I can, to keep these parts separate.
|I don't think the two headlines are connected....
Until I actually depart (late February 2004), what you'll find here will inevitably be skewed towards the planning and research and side of things.
Once I get going, I will keep the site updated as I pedal east across France, Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Ukraine, European Russia, Kazakhstan, Siberia, Mongolia and finally into China.
The route and diary pages are not bad places to start. I
hope you may enjoy the ramblings
but probably you won't. Did I forget to mention the Introduction?
If you are looking for bikey things, try the bike
notes; for visas and borders and police tactics try the
travellers' notes. If you have no interest whatever in bikes,
bike rides, travelling, Russia, China, Ukraine or Mongolia,
then the best I can offer you is this page of sketches.
If you feel a strong urge to give some money to a good cause,
may I recommend this link?
If you run a business that supplies things I would find useful
on my tour (bicycles, loo roll, that sort of thing), you would
be very welcome to give me a call
and see if we can reach a deal.
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