The closer I get to Beiijing along the G107 it seems the worse the road becomes - the following sequence of photos shows the deterioration from a four lane divided highway with smooth bitumen, to rough bitumen to a gravel track.
The day was going smoothly up till around 2.30pm when all of a sudden the suspension starts to feel not quite right. I pull over to confirm my second rear puncture in two days of riding. This time I'm well away from any towns and the thought of pushing is not appealling. I discover that the little Haobon is quite comfortable riding at speeds up up to 30kmh in 3rd gear even with a totally flat rear.
After riding for 5km I find a little roadside bike repair centre. Unlike most repair shops in the west, however, this one has an outdoor workshop under a shade tree (the inside of the shop is basically just a storeroom). I pull in to find the shop is owned and run by a woman (I'm guessing she learned her skills in the military. She removes the tyre to find another nail and a stuffed tube. I get her to put a new tube in and also buy a set of crash bars off her for 35 yuan ($5). Unfortunately she was not keen on having her photo taken so the back of her head is the best I could manage!
I needed the crash bars because my derriere is red raw from 10 -12 hour days on rough roads on a saddle that has maybe 10mm of cushioning on a good day (you guys complaining about the Burgie saddle honestly have no idea). Now I can use the crash bars as highway pegs to get a little relief in my seating position.
Once repaired it was time to hit the road again and complete the remaining kilometres to Dingzhou where I was able to enjoy the local seafood delights for supper.