The new Chinese immigration post is conveniently located 140km from the old one, itself 5km from the border. With the road in between not yet complete, the way is tricky and the authorities have decreed that no one is allowed to cross between the two on foot or by bicycle, they just would not want to lose us!
Therefore, after a late opening Kyrgyz border, some late waking Chinese guards and a two hour time change to Beijing time (we are now GMT+8), it was already 12 noon by the time we, the first people at the border that morning, started negotiating a ride to the second border post. ‘For our security’, hitching in a truck is not allowed, the officials prefer us to line the local taxi drivers’ pockets… So we had to negotiate rather hard. The price dropped nicely when they realised I could barter in Chinese, but common sense was lacking when a driver guaranteed us he could fit six people, five bikes, and all of our luggage into a jeep.
In the end we made it to the Chinese side though did not get through their laboriously slow immigration process until half an hour after they officially closed for the whole weekend, scaring us at the possibility of camping there for three nights. The three other cyclists caught another taxi to Kashgar while Alex and I, keen to savour the road into the famous Silk Road city on two wheels, stopped for a few dinners and a sim card in Wuqia. We then rolled onto a fresh, as yet unopened, motorway and rode 20km before ending up in a culvert once again!