Tough Ride to Kumul

This time, its Nancy’s turn to be sick. Guess its the weather… its too hot here. She even went to a hospital in Dunhuang for an injection and we had to stay another 3 days before our next ride to Kumul… and that made us stayed for a total of 6 days in Dunhuang. The ride to Kumul from Dunhuang is tough for the both of us. I miscalculated. Our next destination after Dunhuang is Liuyuan, a small town which sits 135km north of Dunhuang. I thought its a flat road. So we dont need to camp and plan to cycle straight for 135km to Liuyuan from Dunhuang. I was wrong. We started cycling at around 8 am from Dunhuang which sits at 1160m altitude. I didnt know that we have to climb to nearly 2000m altitude in Liuyuan. And the wind was so strong blowing against us, which makes it much harder to move forward. There was nothing in between, no place to rest and cycling under the very hot weather made us feel weak. Believe it or not, its our first time to cycle in the dark at night and we reached the town at 1am in the morning! We dont have enough water to camp so we have no other choice but to get to the town. At 9pm it was almost dark and i had no more energy to continue. We took an hour rest in the middle of the desert in the dark before continue our tough ride. The wind never stopped but we had no other choice. When we reached the town i have no appetite to eat anymore because i was so tired. I just had a few cold drinks and went to sleep after we found a guesthouse.

We were so tired so we stayed a day in Liuyuan. The next ride was not so hard because it was a flat road, but still hard to move forward due to strong wind from the north. It is very hot cycling here in the desert, but when the wind blows, it gets very cold. This is because the wind blows from the north, coming from artic blowing through russia, resulting to a unbelievable temperature drop when the wind blows. At 1 time the reading on my meter dropped from 46c down to 12c in less than a minute! We rode 90km to a town called Xingxingxia, 90km northwest of Liuyuan, and we finally reached the last province for me in China, which is Xinjiang. Again, we couldnt help it since we felt very tired, so we took another day rest here. Nothing much in this town, its a mixture of Uighur and Chinese Han people. Water and electricity is a problem here. Its a very small town and lots of lorry drivers here too. Nothing to see in this town so we just took a rest here…

Finally we had an easy ride. We rode some easy 150km here which put us very close to Kumul, a big town where there is a bicycle shop. From 1800m altitude in Xingxinxia, we rode down easily to 860m altitude, camp a night and rode another 60km to Kumul, which was easy. We left our campsite early in the morning, and rode easily along a flatroad and reached Kumul around 12.30 noon. Since Im now in Xinjiang, more and more Uighur people here, and i see less chinese. Well, its too early to come out with a conclusion yet, but for now what i can see uighur people are less friendly compared to the chinese. Theyre not so talkative especially to foreigners compared to the chinese. I remember some few days back, a chinese fruit seller at the side of the road saw me, stopped me because he wanted to talk to me. I stopped there to buy a watermelon since it was so hot. But then the fruit seller gave both me and Nancy 2 watermelon for free because he likes us so much. Hehe. I think it is time now for me to pick up some basic Uighur language, since they dont speak mandarin and Nancy cant understand them either. It sounds a bit like Turkish language, for now i know a few basic words like hello (yah-semoh-sis), bye (hosh) and thank you (rahmat).

cute local girl in Xingxingxia


2 Comments on “Tough Ride to Kumul

  1. do you uoload all yr internet stuffs via satellite?
    do you have a satellite phone in case of emergency?
    do you hav insurance for this journey?
    did you get yr bike and all your supply in China ?

    pls do a faq section in yr blog, it’ll be really helpful and will give me more ‘insight’ in your journey.


  2. hello again JJ,
    i carry a netbook with me while cycling. and i bought a wireless modem when i was in ya’an (near chengdu) some few months back and i get connection using china telecom. Oh the service is good, i can even get connection in tibetan mountains and the taklamakan desert!

    and no… i dont have any satellite phone, no insurance… nothing. im on my own with all the possible risk. and yes… i get everything in china, i flew here from malaysia with nothing except clothes and some cash.

    that would be a great idea for the faq section… i plan to put few more things like the route ive taken on this journey and link it to google map… just that… i dont know how to do it. i only know how to cycle… hehehe…

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