A Bike Ride Through China: Part Two

ebook cover: Fernweh: A trans continental motorcycle adventure Read more about Patrick's first around the world motorcycle adventure in our ebook
Fernweh: A Trans Continental Motorcycle Adventure
by Sherrie McCarthy
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Part 2 where we rejoin Leonie, who joined Patrick for part of his first RTW motorcycle trip, and while in China spontaneously decided to buy a bike and ride by herself 300 kms from Shanhaiguan to Beijing. Part one you can find here!

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The first few miles were hell every day. My ass would burn like crazy and my muscles groaned loudly with each movement. But complaining does not help: every morning I saddled Spicy and we rode together towards new adventure.

Along the road there were a lot of tollbooths. I still do not know if I should have paid anything or whether it is even Ok to ride with a bicycle on the road. In any case, I always smiled and nodded while thanking the booth attendant profusely before pedaling on. I am positive that they were trying to communicate to me their wish that I have a good trip!

The road did not stay good for long. The highway turned into a small road that was frequently in a state of construction. Here road construction is done by hand. I felt sorry for the workers who had to shovel in the blazing sun in the process of making a new road. Everything was very dusty. Along the worst places, in addition to the many construction sites and factories, the plants were covered with a thick layer of dust and dirt. You can imagine what I soon came to look like, sweating profusely and with the dust sticking to me.

So far, I had mastered all with a brave face but then came the low point. I was crippled not only with diarrhea but also with a splitting headache. They joined in with the usual complaints, such as a sore butt and sore muscles. It was a mere 60 km to Beijing. But with my aches and pains starting to overwhelm any sense of fun and adventure I began to think just who was I suppose to prove something to, and if so, what?

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I stood on the curb and waited for the next bus. Some time later Spicy was in the process of being forced into the luggage compartment but it was proving to be too big. So first the basket and then the front wheel were removed. But still Spicy did not fit. Then the bus driver gave up, mumbled something in Chinese and drove away.

I stood there with a basket in one hand and the tire in the other. I had even forgotten to curse the bus as it drove away it had left me so flabbergasted.

Who leaves you in the middle of nowhere after they had dissembled your only other mode of transportation?

Fortunately, it was not too long before a man approached me and reattached the wheel for me. And so I continued, holding the basket in one arm, over the hills and through the dales. I was at the end of my tether and just wanted to arrive in Beijing. I almost started to cry.

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A man with a funny tricycle drove up and rescued me from my misery. Before he knew quite what or how it had happened, I had already loaded the bike onto his vehicle and said “Beijing.” He understood and so he drove me to the outskirts of Beijing. It was a very inconvenient and expensive trip in the slow, rickety vehicle, but I could not have been happier.

On the outskirts, I had to choose between ten different roads. I had no map and no idea where I was. So I just picked one and rode. After a short time I had lost whatever was left to my sense of orientation.

But then I met the Chinese Charles, my third helper. He happened to be going in the same direction and we shared a very brisk pace through Beijing. He was a proud owner of an electronic bike. I struggled alongside him panting and groaning. After two hours we were actually at my hotel. I was so happy and so broken! To celebrate, we treated ourselves to two beers and then I finally, while half tipsy, treated myself to a hot shower. Oh what a relief!

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So my bike ride was over. What is missing is the bottom line: It was exciting and a great experience. But the next time I would like an engine in addition to the two wheels!

Love, Leonie

PS: My butt still hurts!


About Sherrie

Sherrie was born and raised in Newfoundland, has her home base in Germany, and at any given time can be found just about anywhere in the world. Addicted to books, travel, chocolate and motorcycles, a perfect day for her is riding her bike followed by drinking good coffee and reading a good book or writing one.

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