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Sorry no pictures with this report. My camera was soaked and ruined.

I just spent 10 days going from Hong Kong to Shanghai by bicycle. This was a horrific tour because all of central China is having the worst floods in 100 years and 50 to 125 miles a day in the rain is a hard ride. I rode with a friend from work and this was a totally unsupported tour. I am too old to spend all day in the saddle and then camp. So, I travel with two changes of clothing, a credit card, a foil blanket a repair kit and a plastic bag full of granola bars for emergency meals. We spent every night in a hotel.

We started in Shenzhen which is a suburb of Hong Kong just north of the border and rode primarily secondary roads.

The first night we spent in the city of Shantou this was a good ride because the rain hadn't started yet, really pretty. I know this sounds strange but I live in China anyway and it isn't exotic to me anymore but the nicest thing about the first day was getting to the hotel and then finding a place to eat. We found a buffet with both Western and Chinese food that had all you could drink beer for about $5.00 US dollars.

The second day we road from Shantou to Zhangzhou This was when the rain started. It rained all day, every minute. At least it was warm. I can handle wet as long as it isn't cold. I was really glad I was using the Selle Italia saddle rather than the Brooks. As the morning went on It just seemed like the bike was getting heavier and when we stopped for lunch I discovered that I hadn't closed my panniers tight and they had about 5 cm of water in the bottom. My camera was submerged and ruined.

Day three was Zhangzhou to Fuzhou We stayed a day in Fuzhou hoping the rain would let up. It not only didn't it hasn't! Fuzhou is an interesting place and a nice city. Cleaner than most Chinese cities and we had a good time

Day five (After the extra day in Fuzhou) we rode to XiaPu other than having to make a detour due to a washed out bridge it was an uneventful ride except for getting stopped by the police because I looked like a foreigner and he wondered what a foreigner was doing riding a bicycle in the middle of a thunderstorm in China. He was disinclined to believe that my Chinese identity card was the actual thing though it isn't like the PRC has a huge problem with illegal aliens. Anyway after about 30 minutes we were back on the road but got in very late and found that the hotel hadn't kept our reservation. That meant another ride in the rain to find a hotel with a vacant room. We found a local one and after a shower, a rice box and a massage were in bed by about 11:30. Holy cow was I stiff the next morning.

XiaPu to Wenzhou was the longest leg of the trip. This was a hard leg because it is hilly and and the rain was intense. My riding partner had a flat about two hours out. He just completely destroyed his tire and we had to get the spare out and change everything. There are not many things more unpleasant than changing a bicycle tire in the rain. While changing the tire a local came up and invited us in for lunch I would not normally be that trusting but it was raining hard. We had a nice lunch with the villagers who were surprised that I could speak Chinese. There are good people everywhere and sometimes you actually meet them.

The ride to Ningpo (Day 7) was absolutely brutal. All my clothing was wet and it poured all day. By lunch I was chaffed raw and really hurting. The roads were also very, very crowded with automobiles going to Shanghai and Chinese drivers are the worst. This was compounded by road closures and detours caused by flooding. I was really ready to give it up at this point but how could I? I was closer to Shanghai than I was to home.

Luckily the next day (Day 8) the rain had eased up a bit. I had also used a hair dryer to dry a pair of wool shorts the night before and purchased a jar of Vaseline from a grocery store. So I had dry shorts and a slick butt. Like a fool I'd not thought of this until after I got chaffed but it really helped with the chaffing, Also going from Ningpo to Hangzhou was the shortest leg of the trip. We reached the hotel in time for a late lunch and and then then repeated the shower, buffet, massage routine.

The next day it was simply pouring, I mean the animals were all lined up two by two looking for an ark. We took the train into Shanghai and spent two days there. The World expo is over rated but Shanghai's the bee's knees for shopping and Chinese food.

We took the train back to Hong Kong with the bikes as luggage. We simply purchased big nylon bags and put them over the bikes.

Because of the rain this was the absolute hardest tour I've ever done. But the distances between the cities was right at the limit of what I can do comfortably. I think if the weather had been better we'd have shortened the rides and added a day. But, once you get soaked you might as well put the distance in.

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My oldest daughter is in Shànghǎi. She's been working a stage [internship] last couple weeks. She'll be there for three and a half months before returning to university. I'm awaiting photos myself of her travels. This is the third expedition to China and she will turn 20 of age July.

Anyway, amazing story. I'd be all over it with a snap and shot digital, truthfully.
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