D45: 霞涌→小梅沙 - Oh Hai - CycleBlaze

November 24, 2019

D45: 霞涌→小梅沙

The Minnie Mouse fried chicken and pizza restaurant just across the street from my hotel beckoned me in the morning to at least try what they had on offer. Considering the quality of the fried chicken wrap (and I realize that, logically, I shouldn’t have high hopes with an Atkins low-carb inspired fast food fried chicken wrap from any place anywhere in the world, let alone a knock-off of a knock-off of a knock-off in a random beach town in China but I’m a glutton for punishment), I’m glad I didn’t try the pizza.

Truth be told, while I’m legitimately stupid enough to buy and eat a tuna salad sandwich from a petrol station kwik-e-mart on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur(it was delicious), except for that one time with Myf, I’ve never been dumb enough to buy countryside pizza in China. Urban pizza from places that theoretically have a western (or westernized) customer base has been consistently bad enough for enough years to thoroughly dissuade me from even considering the possibility.

Between my current location and the LKLM factory in Shenzhen, I can’t find anything that seems likely to be worth visiting so I pop that in as my GPS destination and get started. Although I’m basically on Greenways the whole time and they are basically the kind of Greenways that are actually bike friendly versus the kind that are just some paint on a sidewalk, it’s a mix of factories, chemical processing plants,large pieces of equipment, and just generalized not very pretty. This is balanced by some stunningly gorgeous weather of the clear blue sky variety that you’d think I’d be used to living on a tropical island but which I don’t actually get all that often because the only time it’s coolly pleasant enough to really be spending much time outside, it’s also quite humid.

At some point, I decide that I’m getting really hungry and I end up taking a 3km detour off the route the GPS currently has me on to get a fried chicken meal at Wallace (it being a conveniently searchable point that would put me in the middle of the kind of area with restaurants and then my being too lazy to go with anything other than the known acceptable source of lots of protein, fat, and sugar). While there, I realize that I’m really close to the turnoff that will take me to the coastal road so I change my destination to a random point on the coast and go that way instead. It being Sunday, I’m pretty sure that even if I make it to LKLM, they (and the package I had mailed to them) won’t be there yet, so I’m even less worried about out of the way detours than I usually am.

More Greenways to get me to the coast, though increasingly the lines on a sidewalk type rather than the actual bike road type. In many cases,the bollards at the curb cuts (to keep non-two wheeled vehicles off the Greenway) are placed sufficiently poorly that I have to get off and back on at intersections. I stumble across my first Diaolou (a type of 19th century fortified tower that I wasn’t expecting to see until southern Guangdong) as well as another fortified historical building,so I’m having a pretty good time of it.

I ignore the GPS’s instructions to stay on my current big road and take some lovely little thing up past a reservoir on what must be the original road through these hills for my first taste of Shenzhen mountains. Shenzhen exists because Hong Kong exists. Hong Kong exists because of sheltered ports and the proximity to Guangzhou. As a result, unlike a more naturally developed city, Shenzhen has a lot of very pointy hills in very inconvenient locations. For car drivers or users of mass transit,this has been solved with tunnels. Lots and lots and lots of tunnels. For people like me, especially when we are taking the original road(now with more paving!), it’s shifting into the granny gear and maybe even zigzagging up the hill when it looks like no cars will be coming for a while.

In doing so, I seem to have discovered where everyone local likes to go biking. While still on the old green road through the mountains, I pass (and am subsequently passed by) a number of lone middle aged men on mountain bikes who, unlike the normal Chinese spandex warrior on a bling machine, are definitely out there struggling to lose a bit of a spare tire. All the younger, fitter riders are coming the opposite direction and going too fast to do much more than occasionally acknowledge my existence with a nod of the head.

Back on the big road for just a little while, although still specifically marked for bikes, the Greenway has narrowed to being less than most urban sidewalks in the US. This makes for some particularly challenging riding, especially at the bus stops. I consider going back to the street, but the two or three times I do, I don’t like the way the traffic behaves in terms of getting much too close to me and decide that an extra kilometer or three or distance per hour simply isn’t worth the stress I’m getting in the road. Instead, I shall think of this as a challenge. And, like all good challenges, I shall enjoy it.

I temporarily abandon the Greenway when it decides that the path for bicycles is the paved over storm drain on the grass side of the crash barrier on a road that, in terms of traffic levels and shoulder, is perfectly cyclable, as is seen by the three apparently unconnected groups of roadies that paceline past me as I try to keep upright, balanced, and moving forward. Throughout the rest of the day, I’ll occasionally ride in the road and occasionally ride on the Greenway based on factors such as whether or not I can find where it restarts after it randomly enters the road, and whether or not I think the road looks rideable.

This is all before the massive roadworks (many of which are being done to upgrade the Greenway, many of which are being done to upgrade the road) begin. At that point, I basically just cycle wherever I feel like with a slight preference for the Greenway (if it exists at that point) as I don’t feel like an asshole or like I’m putting myself in danger by stopping to take photos.

The coastline is stunning. Not just beautiful, stunning. I grew up in apart of the world where the coast is all beachy and flat. Also, the north parts of the Atlantic Ocean are just dark and brooding and unpretty compared with south anything, let alone the south Pacific approaching the tropics. Dramatic cliffs, sunny rocks, distant mountains from coves and islands, it’s incredible looking. And,while I’m not too sure the high-tide line walkway/cycleway is such a good idea, it will be incredibly beautiful while it lasts. Given the experience of previous semi-destroyed wetside developments, it looks like they might even be building it sturdy enough to survive a few typhoons.

I stop at some beach development to refill my water bottles and go to the bathroom and decide that it’s time to let LKLM know I’m getting close. As expected, they aren’t at the factory today, so I decide to continue to the cheap hotels showing up the next cove over and call it a day.

I don’t exactly get told No Foreigners Allowed but the owner of the guesthouse where I spend the night is actively annoyed with her neighbor for letting me know that yes, there are empty rooms, and what phone number to call because she’s not answering when the neighbor knocks on the door.

With all the calories I ate at lunch, I wasn’t super hungry and might even have considered skipping dinner but the owner of the guesthouse sits in the living room outside my room watching soap operas on the TV (on low volume) and mukbang on her phone (on high volume) and the slurping lip smacking gulping noises coming from what is essentially food consumption porn manage to both be incredibly off putting to listen to and make me want to get something to go eat.

My order of pig liver rice congee is chosen as much because of the price as it is because I know it will take a long time to make and a longtime to eat and that’s that much less time I’ll possibly be listening to mukbang through the door of my room. She’s still watching the mukbang when I get back, still watching it when I go to sleep, and I’m initially woken up around 7am by some particularly moist mukbang sounds so, yeah, don’t let anyone tell you that mukbang isn’t porn. It just isn’t sexporn.

Today's ride: 65 km (40 miles)
Total: 2,775 km (1,723 miles)

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