Episode 2: Riding North Towards Qinghai
After 4 days of cycling thru the sichuan-tibet mountains, finally i reached a town called Gadzi, which is 265km from Litang. The ride here is much easier compared on my ride on episode 1 because of 2 things. Firstly, im already on tibetan plateau, so not much climbing. Its mostly up and down, and flat terrain. Secondly, im not riding alone this time. While i was in Litang, i met a few cyclists, and few are going on the same direction. So we all team up, and now our group is riding together towards yushu in qinghai.
We are from different nationality, 5 chinese including fay, 2 japanese, 1 american, 1 spanish and of course… 1 from malaysia ;) After yushu, all of them will ride to lhasa, the capital of tibetan autonomous region, the spanish guy will head to mongolia and finally to siberia, i will ride to xining. So for now, im riding in a group. Riding together benefits me, since most of em are so experience, the spanish guy has been cycling for 7 years around the world! Hes an expert and he taught me so many things. Ah… all of them taught me so many things. Another good thing is, those chinese group even have a truck following them. They hired a driver and a cameraman! So its easier, the the truck will scout for a good place to camp first, so we all dont need to search by ourselves. Plus, we dont need to carry so heavy luggage… since we can dump it inside the truck. But i dont wanna do that, because i need to depend on myself to prepare me the tough ride after xining crossing the desert.
Only the first day was easy ride for us. We did a lot of climbing, its high, but fine weather. The second day was really hot! Then i told em, “ahhh… welcome to Malaysia huh? Today i feel like home” :) All the 4 days we’ve been riding in the most remote area in china. It was like nothing in between. No towns, on the road it was only us. Only once in a while… there were motorbikes. So we spent the last 3 nights camping near the river. The last 2 days we rode in the rain and ruthless strong wind… and it was so cold. At night, it was raining, so its very very cold. At first i plan to take bath at the river. So i told the japanese guy that im going to the river to take bath. 3 minutes later i came back to him… and told him, “Oh no i think i better go to sleep. The water is too cold for a malay”. He laughed. Everybody knows i have problem with the cold. Since im the only one who came from a hot weather country. But of course, i never complain.
And our group is fun. The spanish guy is a joker… he is actually a clown. And he entertain us with his clown tricks… very funny guy. Also its fun to hear his travel stories. As we all learned a lot from him…. he inspired us :) Also they are all very understanding. The chinese helped us when we had trouble against the china police. And a guy named Elvis from HongKong helped me a lot on telling me where to buy good food and stuff. Also they warned me which one is pork… so that i dont eat em… because they know im a muslim and they respect that. They also helped me to get the direction of mecca when im about to pray, because i lost my compass back in chengdu hehe. So nice of them, good hearted people. Well, at least for now, its easy ride for me all the way to Yushu. I dont need to struggle alone for now. And i will learn as much as possible from this group, before i ride alone again crossing the dangerous taklamakan desert in xinjiang province.