Wô shi hànrèn. I wonder if that’s even correct….
I may be Chinese, but I’ve never been to China. I don’t speak Mandarin, but I’ll be able to get by if my life depended on it. It’s been a year since I went on a tour, and I really need to go somewhere….soon. So, what better country to do a cycle-tour next than that of my forefathers? I’m also fascinated with Tibetan culture, so I’m thinking it would be nice to experience both cultures while I’m there.
That being the objective, I would have to head to the north-western part of China — Sichuan, to be more precise. This would take me into the TAR, or Tibetan Autonomous Region. No permit needed here so I won’t have to worry about the PSB, the highly bureaucratic Public Security Bureau, ejecting me from the region. This would also be my most challenging tour yet, as I would be riding into the fringe of the Himalayas…very mountainous country.
The route I’m following will also see me achieve a personal record of riding at some seriously high altitude — Balang Shan Pass at 4,500+ metres! I don’t know what to expect, or how long it’ll take me to ride up to the top of the pass. Altitude sickness … I’m looking forward to it 🙂
Common sense dictates that I take at least a month off to do a ride like this… but reality says otherwise. So I’ll settle for 9 days of annual leave; throw in 3 weekends and a Wesak holiday and I’ll be away for a total of 15 days, from 14 – 28 May. Barely enough, but it’ll do. Chengdu, the capital city of Sichuan, will be the start and finish of my approximately 800km round trip.