D16: 武夷山→建阳 - Oh Hai - CycleBlaze

October 22, 2019

D16: 武夷山→建阳

Wuyishan Park
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Wuyishan Park
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The first little bit of riding today is a particularly nice stretch alongside the railroad tracks where the city doesn't go. I can see that the city is over there somewhere but I'm not in it, I'm already in the countryside, well, at least until I hit the main road and am suddenly transported into mucky suburban sprawl of the Chinese variety.

Six lanes of roads, sidewalks that no one will ever use, fully separated bike lanes that are hard to get into and even harder to get out of (with the slight advantage that it makes it harder for cars to use them). I pedal fast and furious and get out of there as soon as I can. I consider a few times going over to the Wuyishan Park but I'm pretty sure I'd need an entry ticket even to just get to the road that circles the park and I'm not that in need of seeing scenery.

Why do they decorate with used tires?
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Steve Miller/GrampiesBecause they have them? At least it is ecologically sound-ish.
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1 month ago
Around these parts, most of the ShareBikes I've seen have pedal assist
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Empty traffic free roads
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Farmers are not supposed to use the roads to dry grain, they do anyways; at least I haven't come across anyone using the traffic to winnow their grain since 2008
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Because I had lunch with a local yesterday, I now know that there's a bright and shiny new road that I'm "supposed" to take to Jianyang. It's apparently an awesome road. As good as an expressway but still something you can take a bike on. Luckily, he gave me very careful instructions to make sure that I wouldn't miss my awesome chance so even though it looked a few times like I was about to be pushed off in that direction by what the roads were doing, I was well and truly able to completely avoid making that mistake.

I have a coffee break at a small temple at the edge of a town nearing the end of everything being All About Tourism (Wuyishan has been a recognized national tourism area since 1992) where the 81 year old Buddhist nun keeps trying to feed me lunch and when I refuse that loads me down with fruit that's only just been removed from the altars yesterday.

Cracked Guanyin
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This old town definitely hasn't gone olde, and is also in decent repair
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Though perhaps it has too many modern buildings and too few interesting old buildings to ever be touristified
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Clever use of modern Fire Prevention Information Posters to hide the Big Character Slogan painted on the wall
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I can't put my finger on the exact reasons but, outside of a restaurant environment, I'm not really keen on eating meals with people I meet on the road. For one thing, in all the years of touring, I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of those road-met meals where I actually ended up staying in contact with the person who invited me to eat or where both of us got something out of it more than some calories for me and a story for them. I don't mind being a wandering minstrel telling amusing tales for my supper but somehow, particularly in cases where I'm financially much much better off than the person doing the inviting, it just doesn't feel right.

From the temple, it's back on the Road plus a detour to the mostly invisible ruins of a walled city that existed before Jesus, the closed museum associated with the ruins, and an nice enough old village. I was following the GPS which I thought was supposed to be taking me off the Road and onto side roads the whole way but somehow that didn't happen and I ended up having to do a long in and out.

Tea plantation and rice paddies ready for harvest on my way to my Detour
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At night, passenger buses are restricted to 80% the day time speed limit
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Drying towers of some kind, not sure for what though
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According to the Provincial Grave Management Law, it is forbidden to have graves along this road
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I'm pretty sure this homeless guy with his stolen sharebike and various strapped on plastic bags is the same one I saw carefully walking his bike down the mountain two days ago. He appears to be setting up camp and cooking dinner.
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It wasn't uninteresting but it wasn't interesting either. To be fair, the place I was going had signage long long before the turnoff (25 kilometers worth of long) and the nearby expressway specifically had an exit for the turnoff so my expectations were correspondingly low. Funnily enough for something promoted so far in advance, it was an underdeveloped (and closed up) sort of sucking instead of an overhyped and commercialized sort.

Things were pretty flat going in to Jianyang. Traffic increased as expected the closer I got to cityland. Some attempts at detours away from the traffic got me into interesting places that certainly didn't have traffic but which rather uncomfortably involved a steep dirt singletrack passing underneath the railroad tracks. That then got me back on to the main road which was fully fucked with roadworks so it turns out that I'd have been on dirt either way and that the way I went was less harrowing.

A little bit of mountain biking to end my day
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The main road I would have been on
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A large pharmacy with a public television, an outdoor row of seats, and a huge crowd communally watching soap operas together. Haven't seen that in a while.
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With the intent of getting away from the National Road as much as possible for tomorrow, I picked a hotel near the south edge of Jianyang and the road heading out of town to the east. As I am also specifically constrained by available lodging, I'm going to take a loop up into the mountains which will add about 15km (and a lot of terrain) to my day but will keep me on quiet roads.

The hotel I picked is the 食品宾馆 (Food Hotel) and I mention this not because the room was cheap (60元) but because the bed was a soft confectionary dream of memory foam with a nice heavy duvet weighing me down. It was one of those beds where you wake up in the middle of the night because you are too comfortable and it's jarring to begin to roll over to adjust and realize that nothing needs adjusting

Today's ride: 70 km (43 miles)
Total: 1,065 km (661 miles)

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