D12: 北流→容县 - China Blues - CycleBlaze

September 3, 2020

D12: 北流→容县

Today was a very very short day. A very short, very flat day.

On the one hand, the road which I took (which I think is the old National Road but if it isn't, is definitely the old main road) had all sorts of really cool things like decaying 1960s factories with Great Leap Forward slogans still visible if you knew where to look but those things were cool because I'm weird.

That having been said, the 1970s tile mosaic (which I originally identified as 90s but which commentators corrected me on) regarding safe behaviors in and around the fuel storage depot is cool even if you aren't me. It is the epitome of cool. Just that some people aren't cool enough to recognize cool when they see it. Some people even leave comments about my being weird and having ulterior motives because I'm always taking pictures of "ugly" things. On the other hand, there are also people who leave comments about me probably being a spy.

I quite enjoyed the day's ride. Former main roads that have started to decay since the traffic moved a kilometer or two away are among the most interesting sorts of places to ride. They often still have a sprinkling of services for the limited traffic that they still have and the services they do have are often in places that you can tell were - once upon a time - really nice.

Got to Rong County and headed for the Merida which I ended up at in 2012. I'm reasonably sure that they are no relationship to the bike club I encountered in 2008 but they are nice folks and although I don't remember them specifically doing anything to my bike in 2012, I remember them as being competent enough that I was willing to specifically seek them out for fussy fixes that I'm not quite comfortable with trying to make on my own. (It is so nice having my Rohloff twist shifter stay in place when I twist to shift.)

It was an evening where a group of people were going out to eat somewhere in the countryside with the family of someone who is also in their bike club and I got tagged along as a plus one. Absolutely no idea where we were but it was rural enough that my phone mostly had no signal and I couldn't get people to consistently use Mandarin at any time other than when they were talking directly to me so it was really just shove my mouth full of copious amounts of delicious food and try not to be obviously bored out of my skull.

The bamboo shoots fried with pork belly were incredible.

The local police had my phone number because last night's police gave it to them and I took far too much pleasure in stonewalling the "where are you staying tonight" questions with variations on "don't know", and "still don't know" and then following up by calling the number back at 11pm when I was finally getting around to checking in somewhere. That I had a phone number for someone in Public Security and was directly reporting my presence to them served to significantly smooth over my 'registration' to the point that all the Front Desk did was photocopy my passport. 

Today's ride: 36 km (22 miles)
Total: 603 km (374 miles)

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