08 May, 2008

On the road day 10 - (1/2 day) DingZhou to Beijing

DingZhou to Beijing - 200km.

Today I would reach Beijing, the ex-home of Mr Mao.

It was a plain and simple ride and I would be there before lunch.

48km from Beijing there is a police check point. I just slowed down, looked to see if anyone was interested in me (they were too intent on going through the buses and trucks with a fine tooth comb) and just kept on riding.

I was nervous about being stopped though as there are very VERY few motorcycles, but lots of bicycles, in Beijing (there are strict regulations for motorcycles in the city) and I am not sure how much interest they incur from the local police.

I'm now staying in a hostel approx 200 metres outside the 2nd ring road (in which motorbikes are not allowed) and doing fine. Total distance ridden is now 3,800kms.

My hostel is only a short walk from Tianamen Square.

..... and with the olympics coming up shortly there is constant renovation.

Major issues enroute to Beijing have been:

1. Crazy, crazy drivers trying to kill both myself and themselves - incidentally I saw a major crash every day and have seen 3 riders cleaned up by cars (I saw one this morning which I am sure was a fatality).

2. Roadworks everywhere, meaning lots of rough roads (my poor tush!) and lots of dust and dirt.

3. Diesel fumes - especially from those 3 wheeled trucks. Combined with the dust it means me and my clothing end up filthy each day. I hate to think what the inside of my lungs look like.

Overall though I can't say enough about all my other interactions with the Chinese people, whether officials or otherwise. Everyone has been most friendly, including all the police. They just love foreigners and really do go out of their way to assist you.