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Somewhere out in the desert near Yumen - More desert 100km

Please give way to 2 wheels


The days are blending into one another. Despite the fact that this was only yesterday I can barely remember anything spectacular happening such is riding in the desert.

I slept really well under the culvert and was undisturbed through the night. As you can imagine I was up at the crack of dawn and decided to cook some porridge while watching the sun come up.

The trade off of sleeping under a road!

Packed up and stomach satisfied I was on the road nice and early, not however early enough it seems to beat the numerous trucks which I also share the 312 with. I’m at a loss to explain why these trucks are on this road. Could it be that they don’t wish to pay the entrance fee for the expressway? I don’t know.

The 312 has now turned into a single track road of varying quality. There are smooth patches and there are horrendously pot holed sections. The main problem is that the road is basically the width of a truck. Some truck drivers are obviously sympathetic to the cause and move curtiously over slightly to allow me to stay on the tarmac. I should point out that the hard shoulder consists of sand and small rocks; not the kind of place you really want to be riding a bike on. Some drivers however tear past you at break neck speed churning up blizzard of sand, dust and rocks as they past.


The going is tough. It’s funny I was swapping emails with Chris Smith the author of the excellent book “Why don’t you fly” (if you haven’t read it go out and do so, it’s a truly excellent read) whom I’ve previously mentioned on this blog. We are following the same route but in reverse. I jokingly said to him that I bet he must have enjoyed all the tailwinds as I was riding into nothing but headwinds. He replied that going the other way he felt the same and looked enviously at those heading the other way. The wind, it would seem is impartial and blows whichever which it so chooses!


Today it blew into my face once again and when it didn’t feel like doing so it blew sideways into me forcing me to concentrate on just keeping the bike in a straight line.

After dead on 100km I’d had enough of trying to fight it and dismounted under what looked like an exact replica of the culvert I’d slept under the night before. When I entered the culvert it was a haven of peace from the howling wind outside. However thirty minutes later having set up camp for the night it decided it would be a good idea to blow directly through the small tunnel I was sleeping in. By this time I was too tired to care and was already in my sleeping bag and bivy and surprisingly snug. I even remembered the bar of chocolate that I’d buried deep in one of my panniers and lay very content munching on it as the wind did what it had to outside.


Praying again for a tailwind tomorrow.

Posted by Ontheroadagain 07:09 Archived in China

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Hi Paul

Great pictures! They bring it all back very vividly, but no wind farms when I was out there. I frequently slept in the culverts, and as you say, they are the next best thing to a hotel. Dry, out of the wind, quiet, and no cockroaches. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a few tailwinds. Good luck and take a few moments to enjoy the peace and silence and to remember where you are when you stop...

Oh, and thanks for the plug for the book!


by Shycyclist

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