Cycling summary to date
Location: Guangxi Province, China
Total Distance: 348.43 km / 217.77 mi
Total Elevation Gain: 4481 m / 14,701 f
Road Surface: 95% sealed tarmac, 5% Dirt
Terrain: 70% rolling hills, 15% mountain passes, 15% flat
Scenery: Rivers, Mountains, Limestone karst hills, Waterfalls, Sugarcane, Water buffalo, Smiling Children, Fireworks
On February 3rd, 2011, the first day of the Chinese New Year of the Rabbit, we set off on the first leg of our bike trip from Nanning, China in the direction of Vietnam. We have until Feb 22nd to be in Hanoi, Vietnam when Dan's sister will join us for 3 weeks. So to make the most of the time, we've decided to explore the countryside of Guangxi Province China and take as many small side roads as possible. It's bee hard getting used to riding the bikes for so long everyday but each day is better than the day before. So far we've climbed a lot of hills, seen some really nice scenery, and met some great people. Next update from Vietnam!
Bikes: The Specialized Hardrock and Rockhopper are holding up really well. They are comfortable and handle really smoothly no matter what the terrain. Taking a hardtail, aluminum mountain bike over a standard steel frame rigid-fork touring bike is definitely a plus for this journey. The Rockhopper's Rock Shox Tora suspension with lock-out is great for the uneven road surfaces but the Suntour suspension on the Hardrock is good enough. And despite the concerns of many bike tourists about aluminum frames cracking under the pressure of heavy panniers, our bikes are holding up really well, even when riding down big rocks or over pot holes.
Equipment: between our clothes, travel guide books, laptop, toiletries, tent, sleeping bags, bike tools/spare parts, cameras, and food we have about 20kg of stuff (10kg each). We have had to get cheap, big rear panniers to hold all the stuff which have already started to split at the seams. But the Topeak handlebar bags are actually really great. We have our snacks, cameras, tools and maps all at our fingers tips.