So, Shanghai, Paris of the East. We’ve finally arrived. I don’t really know what to say. After five months on the road, we’ve finally made it.
We’ve pedalled through Turkey, Georgia and Azerbaijan, crossed the Caspian, battled through steppe in Kazakhstan, desert in Uzbekistan, mountains in Tajikistan, and survived the greatest challenge of them all, roads in China. We’ve rubbed shoulders with carpet sellers, goat herders, fresco painters, and hajjis in hats. Our arrival into Shanghai was, if anything, anticlimactic, but then this was always about the journey and not the destination. It’s gradually settling in, however, that we’ve reached our goal, and it feels good. Nick heads home tomorrow, and I’ll follow in a couple of weeks after a tour of Beijing. It’s time to wind down and catch up with our friends, and settle down for some Christmas schmaltz. Thank you all for following out blog – we hope that you’ve had as much fun reading it as we have in writing it. Lots of love to you all.
Over and Out,
Alex and Nico
p.s. for those who (like us) like that kind of thing, we present Why Not Fly to Shanghai by Numbers (approx.):
Number of kms: 11,000
Days cycling: 120
Highest pass: 4655m
Number of passes above 4000: 4
Longest day: 220km
Total rotations of our wheels: 21 million
Other cyclists crossed: 25
Number of languages spoken: 15
Minimum temperature: -15
Maximum temperature: 55
Number of arrests: 1
Number of illegal border crossings: 1
Number of times I fell over: 11
Number of tyres used: 8
Number of dangerous items confiscated by Chinese trains: 2
Number of dangerous items confiscated by Central Asian border patrol: 0
Smallest number of cars seen in a day: 2, one in each direction
Percentage of Les Miserables Nick read waiting for me to catch up: around 70%
Unlit tunnels crossed: around 20
Most number of meals in a day: depends on how you define the end of one meal and the start of the next!
Cheapest hotel: £1.50
Most wine drunk with lunch…: 2 litres each, but we can’t really remember.
Longest sleep in tent: 12h30
Number of Mao statues passed: somewhere between 1893 and 1976, we lost count.
Longest single period with an upset stomach: 40 days and 40 nights.
Number of eyeballs eaten: 9
Sum I spent on snickers: £50
Largest bread: 26″ across, wheel size
Number of drowned iPads: 1
Number of diamond rings recovered: 2
Number of bust cameras: 3
Number of offers of prostitutes by concerned hosts: 5
Worst road: Aktau to Beyneu
Best road: close contest but Black Sea coastal highway between Sinop and Samsun
Number of riding partners: Ant and James, you’re more than numbers to us!