I am a retired engineer, born in 1945, who loves cycle touring. I have ridden Lands End John O Groats, C2C, the Three Towers (Blackpool - London -Paris Blackpool), European section of North Sea Cycle Route (Rotterdam to Bergen) and several sportives and trips to Spain and the Alps, Kerala and Tamil Nadu, India.
This was followed by a trip to South Island New Zealand for three weeks in Jan/Feb 09 and one week in Geelong, OZ, to see my son.
In 2009 I went to Yunnan Province in China. 2010 a week in the Cotswolds, followed by a two week trip to Turkey.
2011 included a trip to North Vietnam with CTC tours and Holidays again.
I ride several sportives each year and ride every week with some retired riders and the Clitheroe Bike Club to keep my fitness up to an acceptable level.
In 2010 I became a CTC tour leader and lead a family camping week in the Cotswolds.
2011 saw me lead a CTC tour of the Lakes and Dales, moving on each day with panniers and a family camping week in the Ribble Valley in August.
2012 will see a tour of the Western Isles of Scotland, a repeat Lakes and Dales CTC tour, a repeat Ribble Valley Family CTC tour and finally a CTC tour to Yunnan Province in China in October. In the next two years I plan to run tours to Sri Lanka, Costa Rica and Slovenia.
October 26th 2012
Day 14 Kunming Last Day This is the last day in China and we are going home at 11.30pm via Seoul in S Korea. Yesterday we went to the Golden Temple in the north of the city on a small hill where the air is less polluted. The small temple is all copper and used 250 tonnes in its construction. At the top of the hill is a large bell which is 400 years old and a small replica which visitors can ring for 20p by striking it with a big wooden fish on a rope. Alongside the temple are two small trees dating back to the mid 1600's which are still living but rather fragile looking. The temple has a Buddha which is an image of the Chinese General who,opened the gates of Yunnan in ... read more
October 25th 2012
Day13 Kunming City Lu Bao Hua (Michael), our local guide has been bitten by the cycling bug so Jeff and myself went with him to visit a couple of bike shops in Kunming. You would not believe it but there are hardly any bike shops to choose from, maybe four or five in a city of 6000 people. The first shop had mostly hybrids and blunderbusses and only one with drop handlebars. The second shop was a GIANT retailer and had mostly hybrids and Mountain Bikes and quite a few with drops. However, they were for small Chinese riders and Michael is a 6' person and we struggled to find him one. The gears were also rather high for what he wanted so changes needed to be made. The staff were apathetic at best and did ... read more
October 24th 2012
Day 12 Lazy day in Lijiang Today was spent lazing around the Old City of Lijiang after doing the final packing of the bike and getting Roger and Elaine's bikes out of storage ready for despatch to Kunming this afternoon. It was good to be on the streets early before the mass hoards of tourists are out in force. I bought a few small gifts for granddaughters in the many shops offering anything and everything at double the price of the country markets. We bumped into a retired couple from England who set off three months ago in St Petersburg and followed the silk road down through Kazakhstan until they arrived here. They are due to go down to Vietnam and Laos before returning home in another month. We have had umpteen cups of coffee and ... read more
October 23rd 2012
Day11 Yulong Snowy Mountain is 5600m tall and sits at the opposite side of the Tiger Leaping Gorge to the Haba Snowy Mountain! Which is 5400m. It looms large on the landscape and is often capped with cloud as it was this morning. The stay in Daju was very pleasant with the new rooms now in operation. It is still a little basic with only two rooms having shower and toilet, plus one shower and one toilet out in the yard. Luckily by pure chance we had the room with the shower and toilet, the down side was we had to share and had middle of night invasions. Sitting out in the vines for meals was very pleasant and after noodles we were off at 8am across the plain to the foot of the mountain, first ... read more
October 22nd 2012
Tiger Leaping Gorge, the Jewel of Yunnan. The gorge is about 40k in length but seems much longer when it is cycled since it is up and down all the way with some quite steep hills demanding low gears. The middle of the Gorge is where the rock stands in the centre of the Yangtze surrounded by a ferocious current of water boiling up everywhere and is the rock onto which it is suggested that a tiger once used as a stepping stone to escape across the river. There are 400 steps down to the edge of the river but you can be taken down by some tuffies in a Sedan Chair if you are a bit tired, lazy or rich. At this point you can take photos along with a mass of other Chinese tourists, ... read more
October 21st 2012
Day 9 Qiaotou in the Gorge Qiaotou is a small dirty town at the foot of the Tiger Leaping Gorge on the route up to Tibet and Shangri La. This is on the Road 214, which has always been a major trade route between China and Tibet, trading tea to the North and horses to the South. Now it is large red 8 wheeler lorries, driven by lunatic young Tibetans who sit on their air horns, bringing Yak meat South and all manner of goods North. We are in the Yixiang Hotel which seems just a little bit better than when I was here last with a clean, newly decorated room but with a wardrobe door leant against a wall. The journey out of Lijiang was a bit dusty and busy with a large hill to ... read more
October 20th 2012
Rest day in Lijiang Day 8 Rest day is a bit of a misnomer since I seemed to have been busy doing jobs most of the day. First a trip to a bike shop to borrow a headset spanner for Kristine. They had plenty of Bikes and just one small toolbox of spanners which would struggle to sell at a jumble sale. However, I found a large adjustable spanner which a ploughman must have left there one day and we managed to tighten up the bearing. A trip to the hospital to see Roger and Elaine and they were still waiting for a letter from the doctor to say they could not operate and the patient must be taken elsewhere. Otherwise the air ambulance would not be allowed to fly to Lijiang. The paperwork and beaurocracy ... read more
October 19th 2012
Day 7Lijiang at Last Bad news all round today. I succumbed to Beijing Belly last night and had a very bad night. No breakfast but managed to ride all day on very little to eat, three biscuits in the morning and a bowl of rice at lunch. The road this morning was quite cool until late again, I think because of the altitude, which was about 2300m and rising. After morning coffee we turned up the old Lijiand Road, which was 10km of hairpin bends followed by more hairpin bends and 2km of further climbing on to a plain where potatoes were the main crop at 2,800m. However on the descent of a very rough road indeed Roger fell off on a very poorly surfaced bend and when the next rider arrived he was unconscious for ... read more
October 18th 2012
Day 6Jinchuan Old TownThe road to Jinchuan today in constant sun, as usual, although coolish on bare arms until later in morning. The first 30k was along the valley heading North along what is a very busy route for lorries and every conceivable vehicle known to China, mostly the small trucks driven by donkey engines (single and twin cylinder diesels which make a loud knock when accelerated). The small trucks looked like they were in convoy there were that many of them heading to town. Those heading our way almost gassed us unless we could pass them, which was not always difficult especially on hills. The hills came in a big way with hairpin after hairpin for 25k and with a rough road surface in many places, especially on the bends. On the descent we also ... read more
October 17th 2012
Day 5Eryuan Hot SpringsFlat riding today except a hill just above Shaping as we left the top of Lake Erhai. This hill is on the edge of a quarry producing slate for roof tiles, pillars and other fancy stonework and marble for tiles and a huge range of vessels. These products can be seen at the side of the very narrow and busy road and in the small businesses producing them by hand and with very basic machinery. We saw ploughing with two water buffalos pulling a one furrow wooden plough and just behind it a large tractor ploughing with modern machinery. This was the sixth large tractor seen this trip as opposed to just one when I came three years ago.As we approached Eryuan we saw a coal briquette yard where coal is ground to ... read more