Cycle ride in Yangshuo

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Cycle ride in Yangshuo

When we booked the holiday I though it would be nice to take a gentle ride along the riverside in Yangshuo and as we walked down the main tourist street (west street, apparently because all the westerners come through it from the boats!) it was clear that cycle hire was a big thing here.

However the practicalities of taking a family of 5 including one adult that hasn’t ridden in 20 year and 9 year old who has only just managed to ride along roads where drivers seems to regard the different road signs as just guides started to make us nervous.

Helen, our guide in Guilin and Yangshuo advised us that the trip (to Moon Mountain) is about 2 hours and that many tourists opt to take an electric ‘golf cart’ instead, especially in the heat of the summer. In the course of the conversation we also establish that up to 40 mins each way will be on a main road.

The cycling is an important part of the trip to me. It is not the destination itself and I suspect that the children would have viewed Moon Mountain with polite disinterest. It is not the destination that is important for this part of our journey by the adventure of the transport. So we suggest and alternative – we can try the ride but take a shorter way, travelling about 20 mins into the countryside and the turning and coming back – not worrying about the Moon Mountain.

Kate and Tom on a tandem in Yangshuo
With this compromise agreed we press on and choose two tandems with Kate (14 years old) riding ahead of Tom (9 years old), Callum (12 years old) riding with me and Lisa by herself. There are a few jittery momenta before we start as everyone starts to have second thoughts but the we are off.

Cycling on Chinese roads is not pleasant and you have to be brave but not foolhardy. We cycled along the cycle lane of the main road and then reached the hardest part – turning left, right across the 3 lanes if the other side at a traffic lights crossroad. However we make it across and although it is not alongside the river as I had imagined it would be, soon we are heading out onto pictures country roads.

I have always know China was a mysterious place but this cycle ride really did confuse me. He gradients of the hills are ver deceptive and after about a 20 minute, mainly downhill ride we stop and turn around to make our way back. I am not looking forward to the long uphill climb but to my astonishment the way back also appears to be largely downhill. Clearly this cannot be the case but in any case the point is that it was not hard riding and sighing 50 mins of setting out we are high-fiving and talking excitedly about a new experience that ranks high among the other activities with done on our holiday.