We leave September 1 for Chengdu, Sichuan, China to begin a tandem bicycle tour of SW China and SE Asia. We begin in Chengdu, Sichuan, where the earthquakes killed thousands last year. We will visit some pandas and probably visit our first important Buddha statue before heading into high country where the Himalayas transition from the Tibetan plateau, giving birth to all the great rivers of SE Asia. After a long crossing into Yunnan, we will drop into the sub tropics of Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and end probably in Bangkok, one of our favorite cities.
We are feverishly making preparations: Zippy, our 38,000 mile Cannondale mountain tandem. He’s our precocious teenager. Though still strong, he always requires a complete rebuild from the frame up, because the places he takes us are hundreds or thousands of miles from a modern bike shop. We like him to start out without the creaks and grinding noises he will acquire after rain and grit take their inevitable toll. Claire sewed patches on holes and weak spots of our 38,000 mile Cannondale panniers (no they are not sponsoring us). We are far to sentimental to buy a new bicycle or panniers; we’ve come a long way together. I’ve been gathering all the tools necessary to fix almost anything that might go wrong in a few thousand miles, though as I learned on our Silk Road Crossing, I can’t carry replacement parts for every eventuality.
Claire is working on her Chinese, and I will, as usual, smile and use various vigorous hand signals attempt communication. The airlines are making it more and more difficult to travel with bicycles, let alone a tandem, so after painstakingly rebuilding him, I have taken him apart, down to the smallest package possible, and it still exceeds the maximum size, but is underweight. We are hoping for compassion from the agents.
There will be more preparation pictures, and another message from Lucky the rescued Panda who is going back to China with us.
There will be many more posts along the way than there were for the Silk Road Crossing; we’re taking a netbook so you can travel with us. Be sure and bookmark this site and check it often. We appreciate your good wishes.