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Brendon

Dispatch from the Silk Road #2 :

Two friends of mine, both teachers in Shanghai, invited me on a bicycle tour of China's largest Province, Qinghai.  Qinghai Province is the most western you can go in China before you enter the Autonomous Region of Tibet.

The providence is part of the Tibetan Plateau which is home to Tibetans, Muslim Chinese, and Han Chinese, averages 9,000 feet above sea level, has China's largest lake, and is where one of the longest rivers in the world, the Yellow River, originates.

Enough with the geography lesson......here's some pics with captions from our tour :

Departing from Shanghai, we disassembled our bikes, threw them in bags, put "Fragile" stickers on them and hoped for the best. No baggage fee and to our surprise we arrived in Xining Airport with our bicycles undamaged.  Apparently U.S. airlines need to take some tips from their competitors across the pond.

Departing from Shanghai, we disassembled our bikes, threw them in bags, put "Fragile" stickers on them and hoped for the best. No baggage fee and to our surprise we arrived in Xining Airport with our bicycles undamaged.  Apparently U.S. airlines need to take some tips from their competitors across the pond.

After the bikes were built, we headed into the city of Xining.  The city is investing a huge amount of money in infrastructure.  Bicycle paths across the city, world class sports fields, silky smooth roads.......

After the bikes were built, we headed into the city of Xining.  The city is investing a huge amount of money in infrastructure.  Bicycle paths across the city, world class sports fields, silky smooth roads.......

Into the mountains we go!  photo : Ammon Lewis

Into the mountains we go!  photo : Ammon Lewis

China loves to build tunnels. I've been though a lot of them in my short time here. But I've never experienced one 3.45 miles long.  White knuckles for sure!  Also probably lost a lot of brain cells from the fumes

China loves to build tunnels. I've been though a lot of them in my short time here. But I've never experienced one 3.45 miles long.  White knuckles for sure!  Also probably lost a lot of brain cells from the fumes

Though every tunnel and over every mountain pass we were greeted with an even more awe-inspiring view than the last. Photo : Ammon Lewis

Though every tunnel and over every mountain pass we were greeted with an even more awe-inspiring view than the last. Photo : Ammon Lewis

Caught in a thunderstorm

Caught in a thunderstorm

This beautiful family gave us a lift We were fortunate to interact with so many wonderful people.  Luckily our buddy Sam speaks Mandarin pretty well.  But many in this area only speak local dialects or Tibetan.  Smiles, Hello, in English, and body language went a long way.  Everyone we interacted with were incredibly welcoming.  I doubt many westerners come though these parts. Because of this, we were asked to take selfies on the regular.  The three of our faces are for sure all over the Chinese internet at this point.

This beautiful family gave us a lift

We were fortunate to interact with so many wonderful people.  Luckily our buddy Sam speaks Mandarin pretty well.  But many in this area only speak local dialects or Tibetan.  Smiles, Hello, in English, and body language went a long way.  Everyone we interacted with were incredibly welcoming.  I doubt many westerners come though these parts. Because of this, we were asked to take selfies on the regular.  The three of our faces are for sure all over the Chinese internet at this point.

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Wet and wild road headed to Qinghai Lake

Wet and wild road headed to Qinghai Lake

Qinghai Lake, China's largest, and it's salt water

Qinghai Lake, China's largest, and it's salt water

Our favorite meal.  Blood sausage and yak yogurt. We encountered a lot of sheep and yaks up in those mountains. Paired with the Muslim population in the providence, lamb was plentiful and delicious.

Our favorite meal.  Blood sausage and yak yogurt. We encountered a lot of sheep and yaks up in those mountains. Paired with the Muslim population in the providence, lamb was plentiful and delicious.

One of my favorite experiences during the tour was the hoots, hollers, and thumbs up as we cycled past people on motor bikes, farm equipment, cars, or from the mountainsides.  People would give a smile, a loud HELLO! in English or my new favorite Chinese word 加油 (Jiayou).  It translates to "add oil" or "lubricate".  But it was explained to me as being similar to "Allez Allez !".  Next time you are climbing up a steep grade be sure to give your comrades a good Jiayou Jiayou! yell of encouragement.

Brendon

Dispatches from the Silk Road

You may have heard, we are adventuring in the "real east coast".....Shanghai China, with our shop's neighbor Brooklyn Bicycle Co.

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Not to worry you'll still see the wonderful and familiar faces of Marcy, Ross, Kevin and Corey at the shop. Since our opening in 2011 we have been working closely with Brooklyn Bicycle Co on design and quality control - this year we are taking it up a notch. We've created an outpost in beautiful Shanghai where we will be experimenting with new product and continuing with our established relationships.
Expect beautiful shots of bicycle touring throughout China, the factory where Brooklyn Bicycles are produced, and new developments for both brands. We'll share monthly stories of bike adventures and the bicycle industry here in the Middle Kingdom, so check back.

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