Today I rented a bike for the second time this week, with better but still subpar results: After cycling through small villages for a few hours, my bike broke down for good about 10 kilometers outside Yangshuo, immediately after crossing Yulong Bridge (i.e. Dragon Bridge), and it wouldn't have been an easy 10 kilometers down the highway back home, but 10 kilometers of rocky, rutted, riverside terrain, dodging cattle, chickens, stray dogs and Chinese villagers.
Fortunately a bus came by immediately, out of what felt like nowhere, and an old Chinese man who had been watching me try to fix my bike explained to the bus driver what happened; without him, I am almost certain I would have not been allowed on the crowded bus, and there was no way I could have ridden the bike back. By this point, the back wheel no longer turned at all.
Despite the hassles, I had a great time riding the bike into the ground, and to be honest, I was glad to not have to cycle a few hours home. All things considered, it was almost a blessing.
To be fair, the terrain would not be difficult with a decent bike.
|Immediately outside of Yangshuo city center, heading toward Yulong River, which translates as 'Meet the Dragon' River.|
|About five minutes by bicycle outside the center of Yangshuo.|
|Crossing the Yulong River is made possible by a number of footbridges, and also bamboo rafts. At one point I found myself on the wrong side of the river so I paid a local raftsman 10 元 to quickly ferry me across. Shortly thereafter, I arrived at the above bridge, where I had to wait for some cattle to cross before I could ride across the bridge. I had to go back and forth the river a couple of times while heading north toward the 600-year-old Yulong Bridge (i.e. Dragon Bridge).|
|Some of the more friendly terrain today. Most of my gears did not work properly, nor did my rear brakes or rear wheel, but it's not like I could have faired much better: It was one of the nicer bikes available, albeit in hindsight certainly not the nicest.|
|I took this while cycling past. I saw many cattle today, some on land and some bathing in the waters.|
|Can you spot the boy in the background peeing? I didn't quite notice that right away. This woman saw my failing bike and kept trying to sell me a ride back to Yangshuo on a bamboo raft, despite the fact that I didn't have enough money. When she realized that I really didn't have enough money, she tried to sell me lunch instead. Whatever you want or need, Chinese people will find it for you, and whatever you don't want or need is also always for sale. The steps at the very far right of the photo are those of Dragon Bridge.|
|After crossing the bridge I saw this sign, which says Yulong Bridge.|
|The view from Dragon Bridge looking back toward Yangshuo. |
|The view from Dragon Bridge looking away fromYangshuo. |
|The bridge and my terrible bicycle.|
|Immediately after crossing the bridge, I spotted this local barber. Come to think of it, I should've gotten a haircut. I need one and what better barber than and old man with a straight razor in rural China.|
|This was about five minutes later, and about as far as I made it before finally admitting defeat. This village is far more modern than most of those I cycled past, but unfortunately I failed to take any photographs in many of the villages. |
|Me and my bike on a local Chinese bus.|