London to Beijing Update 9

NB China is fascinating because it seems nothing is quite what you expect it to be: Everything that can be copied has been.  Have a glass of Jonny Walkman Whiskey (identical red label as its famous scotch equivalent), or brush your teeth with Sensitive toothpaste in packaging identical to the UK equivalent with a slightly different name.  Hotels look posh but lack good plumbing, drains smell, electricity and water are randomly turned off and the standard of workmanship would make Bodge it, Patch it & Run look positively professional.  So too with the Internet so I intend to send each of the 5 photos in separate emails.

Once upon a time when Central Asia was populated by nomadic tribes they used to come together to trade livestock in a neutral location.  They called it Kashgar, and from these humble beginnings grew a city of just under a million and the largest livestock market, held every Sunday, in Central Asia.  It’s now been re located to the city outskirts as the current Chinese administrators of this part of China didn’t think the market fitted in with the modern image they wish to portray of today’s China.  So much for tradition.  But its where the action is and here’s a taste of the chaos and atmosphere.

photo No 1

Bye bye nice hotel on 10 June, hello the remote Tibetan plateau over 4,000 m for 10 days.  No hotels, so staying at Homestays which can best be described as garden sheds, where we often slept 8 to a room.  Where are the loos?  Anywhere you like, just look before squatting.  Hot water?  Dream on buster that’s if you can sleep in the first place.  Locations were a cross between a scrap yard and rubbish tip and don’t forget to wear your head torch for fear of stepping in something unmentionable during the evening constitutional.

photo No 2

This is not for the squeamish.  But in between sheds the scenery was stunning.  No other word for it: mountains all around with the valleys sparsely populated by family units in tents tending their animals.  Hopefully the next picture illustrates this.

photo No 3

All however, was not easy riding. I thought 13 was my lucky number but on this day (June) we hit deep, deep sand and it took us 5 hrs to travel 30 miles.  Bikes were dropped  and the support vehicle had to be towed free by a bulldozer.

photo No 4

But after what Kevin described as some of the most demanding riding ever encountered by a group, we made it through without serious injury.

So, anyone seen a mountain around here?  Day 53, approximately 8,700 miles, with the final 65 miles over very rough surfaces, resulting in 3 blown shocks, crossing a 5,200 m pass and whad’ya see?  Not a lot.  The world’s highest lump of rock was in cloud.  It’s there somewhere, wait….. there…..quick get the photo…then tackle the return journey.  What a day, but worth it.  Made it as far as a bike can legally go towards Everest so I unashamedly send you this view of a totally knackered red faced biker posing on the roof of the world.  All downhill from now on!

photo No 5





Author: Nigel richardson

1 thought on “London to Beijing Update 9

  1. Hi Nigel,
    Well done on crossing the Tibetan plateau. Sounds tough ,and a good deal of endurance required to complete it from what you describe.
    Hope you retained your sense of humour, and remained friends with the rest of the group !
    As we’ve come to expect now …the photos are stunning.
    Thought I might see the odd prayer wheel ,flags or scruffy urchin?
    But the scenery offers the ‘money shot’ for sure .
    The Everest base camp one a favourite later,i bet .
    Hope you didn’t suffer a blown shock , or. Back ache from picking up the big ‘un in that sand . Wow ….if only ..
    Have you met any of those fantastic horse men yet?
    Plus the men like to ‘wrestle’ in that part of the world , so eat yer greens , and stay fit. Keep it coming…… Great reports
    All the best. John and. Wendy

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