D1: 上海 - 亭林 - Oh Hai - CycleBlaze

October 1, 2019

D1: 上海 - 亭林

National Day

Unusually empty streets in Shanghai
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It was raining when I woke up. At first, when I checked the weather report, it looked promising; it looked like the rain would be stopping in the next hour. Unfortunately, my weather app, despite repeatedly being told to show me the weather for the location where I currently am, had decided to show me the weather for Baltimore. when I checked the weather report for Shanghai, not only was it not going to stop in the next hour, but it was going to continue and continue and continue.

I supposed I could have spent another day at Mango's but I have a limited amount of regular people clothing and he has an even more limited lack of space in which to dry clothing. The apartment came with a washing machine so there must be some official place to hang clothing but he's newly enough moved in that he hasn't really gotten to know the neighbors yet and find out.

The combination of rain and a national holiday made the riding quite pleasant. Basically no traffic to speak of. And while there may have been no traffic to speak of under normal circumstances for some of the roads during the latter part of the day, the earlier roads were areas I've been in before and this was definitely unusual.

My handlebars are definitely still too low. I'm only carrying limited weight in the bottlebags v2.0 so it's merely a frustration rather than the sharp pain in the back it was the first time I tried to ride with a bag. Because of the handlebar height and a general lack of interesting stuff to keep my mind busy in cityland once I was away from the more downtown like, more lively, more interesting areas of Shanghai, I kept playing and replaying in my head the confrontation that I'm expecting to happen in December when the amount of things that need to be done to make this fork into a touring fork turn out (as expected) to be more than can possibly be safely done by just rewelding.

All the commercial VPNs have been spotty this week in advance of National Day and today is no exception. Although I briefly accessed my intended route map this morning around 5am when I woke up to pee, nothing is working. Two of the three services I use won't connect at all and the third, although it claims to be connected, can't manage to access anything outside of China when "connected". Lacking a route map and potential places of interest (many of which I probably would have skipped anyways because rainy day, national holiday, too close to a big city with an expensive bike) I zigged and zagged my way going west when the traffic light wouldn't let me go south and going south when I'd gone more than two or three intersections worth of west.

Looks like a 90s Hotel seen somewhere when I was starting to hit what might have then been dock districts
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Stopped at a completely unexpected and unscheduled Martyr's Garden but the security guards wouldn't let me park my bike anywhere other than the sidewalk outside so I didn't go inside. I did take the opportunity to check my tires with the nifty little digital tire pressure meter I picked up in the US this summer only to find that my fingertouch sense of "just the soft side of perfect" was less than 40psi on either tire with a recommended pressure on the sidewall of 45-85psi. I was able to get the pressure up into the 60s before my back and arms got tired of pumping.

The ride quality was substantially different after that. A little harsh compared to what I was used to with the Panasonic but I've changed material (steel for titanium), geometry (substantially too big for theoretically matched to my body measurements), and wheels (700c for 26"). I also didn't have a tire pressure gauge before and may have been riding mushy tires all this time.

Eventually I started needing to head a lot more south and south and south in order to pick up a ferry crossing over the Huangpu. It was closed with a handwritten sign citing weather conditions but I have a sneaking suspicion that the weather (which was admittedly quite rainy) wasn't bad enough that they'd have cancelled it on a work day when more people are trying to cross.

Ferry up ahead
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The security guard was completely and utterly useless with regards to suggesting somewhere else I could cross. I gestured at the big overhead bridge "I can't use that, can I?"
"Oh no. You'd be very tired trying to go up over that on a bicycle."
"I mean it's not legal for me to use that. Is it?"
"I don't know."
"Do you know where I can cross?"
"There's a tunnel that way a couple kilometers." he gestured up the Huangpu in the direction of Shanghai proper as if a bicycle would ever be allowed in a highway tunnel...

I found two bridges (one of them an expressway bridge) that Gaode Maps thought had pedestrian access for crossing the Huangpu and continued heading west.

I was mostly on Jiangchuan Road (江川路) which is a nice old road with big shade trees that weren't serving much use today and a canal along one side. Although it rather abruptly disappears into countryside at the Hanxiang Wetlands Park, it felt like it had been a main road for a while (60 or 70 years at least) and I suspect that some of the larger intersections going south towards the Huangpu may have led to ferry crossings in the past and possibly still led to cargo docks. Of the few factories I could see that I bothered to look at, none of the buildings looked less than 30 years old.

Tree lined streets
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Suddenly finding myself on very rural roads and faced with an inability to pull my phone out and look at the maps because of the rain and touchscreen devices, I thought I would try the GPS navigation but it wanted to take me down even smaller clearly not the right roads so I winged it. I was heading towards one of the potential crossings when I suddenly encountered a "bicycles, pedestrians, and motorcycles" only turn off that looked suspiciously like a causeway that might turn into a bridge.

Wait a minute, where did Shanghai go?
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I swear I was in the city just a minute ago
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From my vantage point, I couldn't tell if the bridge that my bridge was under is completely new construction or if it was replacing a bridge that had previously existed. There was a new high speed railway bridge to my left and indications that a slow speed railway bridge had been removed. When I got across the water and over to the not new car road that I would spend the rest of my day's ride on, the name of the road (车亭公路) matched up with the name on the other side of the Huangpu.

New train bridge to my left, pedestrian decks (missing the deck part but already having part of the stairs to the ground) to either side, and a partially completed car and truck deck over some sections
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Sometimes the rain wasn't so bad. That wasn't most of the times though.
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Like the "Baltimore Annapolis Pike" in Maryland, a road with this kind of name goes from one place to another. I couldn't find anywhere with a 车 in the name on the north side but when the road stopped being 车亭公路 (the Che-Ting Road), it started being 新车公路 (the Xin-Che Road). 

Similar to Jiangchuan Road, much of the road was lined with nice old trees. Places where it didn't have trees were clearly undergoing upgrades and regrades and construction. I didn't have any particularly gnarly roadworks but, in continuing to convince me of the not-newness of the road, there was one bit where they were pulling out and demolishing the old toll booths. National Roads uniformly stopped charging tolls something like a six or seven years ago and Provincial Roads stopped even earlier.

I think about stopping in the first town across the water from Shanghai but keep going another 6 or 7km until I get to Tinglin (亭林) by which point, even though it's not even 4pm, the combination of weather and a general lack of exercise since the last time I biked across a continent, I'm ready to find dinner and call it a day.

Since I couldn't get on the outside internet and do much of anything, I spent a large percentage of my time during dinner looking over the online information about nearby hotels and picking a first one to go to. Then, because I was shivery cold, and traffic was uncooperative, I went to a completely different one instead. Their registration system was an unfamiliar one for me (and for the hotel owner) but the two of us managed to work it out together without too much headache and I went up to the third floor to collapse and maybe get a bit of work done.

I had to let my laptop dry out a bit before I was willing to do much trying to use it as the oversized ziploc bag it was in had apparently gotten a leak at the top end (but not the bottom) and my computer was in nearly a half inch of not very much water but water nonetheless when I pulled it out. The screen looks to be well and truly fucked but, amazingly, nothing else is wrong.

Maybe not so amazingly. When I bought this laptop, I paid $500 extra to push the warranty from 1 year to 3 years, to add on international coverage, and to include "accidental drops and spills". It's now obvious that the reason the extra coverage was so cheap wasn't merely because they weren't expecting most users to get around to needing it but because they had some idea of how over-engineered it is. 

Today's ride: 59 km (37 miles)
Total: 156 km (97 miles)

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