Cycling from Yangshuo to Fuli

Yesterday afternoon Matthieu and I attempted to cycle from Yangshuo to Fuli, about two hours by bike, instead of taking a local bamboo-ferry guide. That was probably a mistake.

It was definitely a mistake to rent the first bikes we saw, as opposed to, you know, renting one of the 2,000 or so bicycles in Yangshuo that actually work properly.

My bicycle worked well enough, I suppose, but it was far from stable, and it was a real drag when the greasiest chain I've ever seen popped off; fortunately a local cop opened a fire hydrant so I could get my hands clean enough to ride a bicycle, but unfortunately not clean enough to properly clean the cut I earned falling off my bike in a classic slow-motion fall: I... think... I'm... going... to... fall. Matthieu's bicycle worked for maybe 30 minutes before the pedal fell off, at which point our plans were pretty much beyond repair, so we turned around and headed back to Yangshuo .

The path were I fell. Thankfully I fell to the left and not the right, where I would've landed in some fairly suspect waters. I'm not sure what we expected to find traveling down this narrow path, but we had to turn around shortly thereafter because the going got dicey.

In all fairness, this bike was not built for narrow, rutted dirt paths, but it also could barely handle smooth concrete, it was so old and so poorly maintained.

Outside of Yangshuo during our unsuccessful attempt to cycle two hours to the nearby village of Fuli. We probably never made it more than 10 percent of the way, thanks to mechanical failures, and also because we weren't ever really positive that we were headed in the proper direction. I took this photo after we gave up and were headed home, but first we had to stop by the side of the road so Matthieu could reattach his bicycle pedal.

The cut was small but deep, and I was unable to clean it because earlier I had gotten my hands too greasy from fixing my broken bicycle chain, the lesser but dirtier of our two bicycle malfunctions. Fortunately I was able to get my hands clean enough to ride after asking a local policeman if he knew where I could wash my hands: He turned on a local fire hydrant and that mostly did the trick. I had tried to wash them in a nearby restaurant, but when I entered the restaurant the entire staff (i.e. both of them) were sleeping across a few of the wooden chairs.

The Li River in Yangshuo. Had we followed the river more closely and had our bikes not broken down, we probably could have made it to Fuli village.

Matthieu stopping for the second of about a dozen times to reattach his bicycle pedal, which kept falling off, pretty much rendering the bike useless. This was in a small village off the beaten path. It was exploring areas like this that got us lost in the first place. 

This woman stopped to try and sell us things while we were busy trying to fix Matthieu's bicycle.

On the road of bicycle failure. We should've asked this guy for a ride.