D20: 水晶→鹿寨 - China Blues - CycleBlaze

September 11, 2020

D20: 水晶→鹿寨

I thought that the last bit of road coming into Shuijing the night before had been bad. I was well aware that it actually wasn't that bad in terms of the "worst road I've biked in Asia" or the "worst road I've biked in China" or even the "worst road I've biked in Guangxi Province" but it was the worst road I've biked so far this year.

It couldn't hold a candle to this morning's road (which still wasn't the worst road I've been on in Guangxi) which was of the "formerly paved" variety and featured an interlocking collection of potholes and patches that I thought I did a pretty good job of avoiding crashing through at too high a speed but the two broken spokes that I got (on a brand new wheel laced with DT spokes by someone who knew what he was doing) would indicate that I would be wrong.

Weather was cooperatively cool and comfortable but uncooperatively gray and moody so, although the scenery was pretty nice, it wasn't particularly photogenic.

When I was planning this part of the route, I had planned to go to Luorong Town [雒容] as its another one of those places where I had a particularly pleasant police experience back in 2012 but, as I mentioned in yesterday's entry, no matter how good an idea it seemed back in Haikou to make this year's theme intentionally seeking out police stations where I had a decent experience on a past trip, it's seeming far less of a good idea now that I'm constantly dealing with the police. More importantly however, I'd been way far off in my estimates of the amount of time it would take to cross the Jinxiu Mountains [金秀山], my coffee had arrived in Luzhai four days ago, and if I went to Luorong that would be another whole day before I got more coffee.

This (and the very one way with a detour nature of it) is also part of why I skipped the detour to Ancient Yunjiang Town [云江古真].

When I wasn't riding, I was arguing with someone who I strongly suspect that I will not be doing work for because he thinks hostile negotiation tactics are a good way to convince me that I want to cooperate with him. Perhaps the most insulting thing is that this person - a lawyer - once won a case for me on the basis of the other party being stupid enough to put down in writing words that should never be able to be brought before a judge, and yet he thinks he can convince me to talk business with him over the phone after he's set the tone of negotiations as hostile, and after I've specifically put down in writing "in order to prevent any miscommunications, I will only communicate in writing". 

I'm somewhere between disgusted by his behavior and insulted by his apparently low opinion of me.

Daojiang [导江], where I thought I had lunch in 2012, was completely unfamiliar to me. It's also where I turned north to Luzhai and where the road went from hideous mess to a gorgeous bit of paving so recently upgraded that the safety barriers weren't all installed yet and the GPS kept telling me I was off route. Of course, this is where I got my flat tire.

Which is when I realized that maybe I should have practiced some at the bike shop on taking off a wheel with a Rohloff hub. Cause I couldn't get it off at all. I tried loosening all sorts of things (many of which, like the brakes, I then failed to correctly re-tighten) without success and ended up patching the tube without taking the wheel off and swapping tubes.

Because of my failed experiment in "removing the rear wheel to swap  a tube", the last 20 kilometers to the Giant Bicycles in Luzhai were done with only a front brake and without gears 1-7 or 13 and 14. Obviously, the Giant Bicycles in Luzhai had zero experience with a Rohloff but video chat to the rescue - we did remote diagnosis with Sky (the owner of my local bike shop and the person who put the bike into its current configuration).

Then, after getting the broken spokes replaced, they did a full check of my bike, tightened up things that needed tightening, oiled things that needed oiling, and gave me lots of tea to drink while road stories were told. Much to my dismay, since I was now in an actual city, and since cities are usually the worst for "sleeping while foreign", none of the people who came round the bike shop had any friends who owned a hotel.

One of the cyclists wasn't getting the idea that the reason I wanted to spend "around 80 yuan" was because I want to stay in a similar quality of hotel rather than bouncing back and forth between good hotels (cities) and bad hotels (countryside) as opposed to my not having the money (I'm also a cheap ass, but that's a separate issue altogether) and really really wanted to treat me to a place that was known to take foreigners by paying whatever it cost above 80 yuan. 

He was the one that ended up being with me as the fireworks went down in the hotel closest to the bike shop. Starting from pleasant Marian apologizing for needing to make the Front Desk call the police and moving all the way through to Marian who is outrageously rude to the police and who gets away with it because ... um reasons? 

Seriously, some day after this tour is over, I'm going to have to have a sit down with someone uniformed who I'm on good terms with and ask why it is that the universal response to my effectively telling the local police "I seriously don't care what you think. I'm done with you now. Go fuck off" is for them to go fuck off. Cause that's definitely not the way these things are supposed to work.

Front Desk didn't want me putting my USB that already has a scanned copy of my passport and a picture of me in her computer (way easier than trying to get the terminal to recognize a passport, which can be done, but which is a pain in the ass) so I went with the common "your badly programmed software is really stupid" hack of uploading blank images. Once this was done, however, they wanted the registration to be edited to have the actual images (still wouldn't let put my USB in to her computer) but wouldn't move away from the computer long enough to let me figure out how to get the terminal to scan my passport.

I knew what my room number is. I knew where the key cards were. So I grabbed the stack of key cards, found the one with my room number on it, announced "You all can do whatever you want to do but I'll be in my room. Good night", took the necessary panniers from my bike, and left. For the fifth floor. Without an elevator. And no one so much as said "boo".

Today's ride: 53 km (33 miles)
Total: 990 km (615 miles)

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