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172 km of mountains - highest requirement for technology and body

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With maximum 12 degrees and miraculous sunshine it is a perfect day for a bicycle trip through China. The winter is to us still on the heels. However, till now he has not created to catch up to us. According to my map study the 650-km-long and 172-km-wide Qin Ling mountain range lies down in the front of us and we must cross the whole width. Because it is rather lonesome on this distance, and the next lodging comes at the earliest after 128 kilometres, a big challenge for us and our technology.

Only a few kilometres after our departure the narrow road already screws itself sky direction. Because of additional six 500 watts Bosch accumulators we can allow ourselves the luxury to drive in the turbo modus. With approx. 20 km/h we reach 1800-metre height. The scenery is breathtaking nice. Like during the past days only very few cars and nearly no trucks are on the move in this area. Yes also such a thing there is in China. I enjoy this quiet humming of the powerful Bosch engine which transfers untiringly the energy of the accumulators on the chain and provides to bring me on the mountain ridge. With the fact, that my bike is 150-kg including trailer and Ajaci the dog plus 80 kg my body weight.

In the beginning I was not sure if the unceasing requirement of such a trip could force the Bosch engine in the knees. Now I am glad about the reliability of the always working engine. On top on the mountain we glide about an approx. 50 metre wide tape. On the left and on the right from us mountain flanks are going down the depth. The pleasantly chill journey wind blows to me in the face. With a smile I enjoy the nature, see small villages and farmers from which some sit on a wooden bench and hold a chat with their neighbours. From time to time I have a look to the back to see whether Tanja is still there. Also her expression betrays to me like she enjoys this marvellous day.

The journey on the mountain range offers us an indescribable panorama about the immense Qin-Ling mountains, which creates a vegetation border between the south and the north and at the same time a divide between the Yellow river and the Jangtsekiang river. Whether do the mountains also form a weather scabbard? Whether is it warmer on the other side? We will see. One has reported to us that on the southern side of the Qin Ling the warmer, more humid regions begin in which vast forest regions alternate with rice fields.

„Is this there in front a cyclist?“ „Could be“, answers Tanja. Every metre we come closer to the in the beginning blurred silhouette, it turns out to a long distance cyclist whose bike is heavy loaded. „Ni hao!“, we greet very well tempered as we overtake him with substantial speed. „Ni hao!“, it puffs to us against. We know what indicates it to have to stop during a precipitous increase so for the moment we go on. „It must have frustrated the poor guy totally as we have taken over with our monster bikes and trailers so easily“, I say laughing to Tanja. „Actually, unfair!“, she answers. „Absolutely unfair, I think we should wait on top for him and change a few words with him.“

It lasts ten minutes till our colleague stops wheezing beside us. He puts his bicycle on the stand, shakes us the hand and says in good English, "My name is De." „De?“ I ask. „Yes, it is an abbreviation. My real name is too difficult for you European to pronounce“, he explains still violently wheezing. „As quick as you went uphill you must be damn fit“, believes De. „Ha, ha, we are fit. We have put back the whole distance from Germany up to here with the bike.“ „ You came from Germany up to here? Then nothing more surprises me.“ I wink him friendly and indicate at the Bosch engine. „What is this then?“, De wants to know. „A small engine which helps us to bring our bikes and trailers so fast in such heights.“, I explain. „Now I understand. Had already doubted me“, he laughs. In the course of the conversation we find out that De from Peking comes and is as we on the way to the province of Sichuan situated in the south. We still talk for a while, than we continue our trip with mutual congratulations.

From time to time I let my system rush in the valley for a few hundred metres. Lay me in the curves and try not to get drunken from the speed to hold me out of trouble. The springs absorb the coarse asphalt easily, like with a motorcycle every ground wave. It is a dream with such a robust high-tech device, what our bike absolutely is, to hammer down the mountain pass. It holds exact, in spite of the heavy load, the track and does not slide. What also rescues a danger in itself, because I thereby do not perceive the constantly rising speed. „Not so fast!“ warns me Tanjas call. To hold the speed under control I must step in the iron, better said, move the brake. This is heavy work for our Magura brakes. Under such hard conditions the disc braking system guarantees for us the necessary security with the weight of 220 kg, including my body weight, to brake reliably in short time from 50 km/h to 10 km/h. In some segments of the mountain distance we had to use the brakes even for duration of 10 or 20 minutes. Besides, the brake discs do not get over heated and the braking efficiency is preserved to hundred percent. Nevertheless, we take during longer downhill drives short breaks to give the brake system a chance to cool a little.

Reaching 1200 m, we work our way again upwards. At some places we must switch down in the third gear because of the huge gradient. clack, clack, clack, the transmission of the Rohloff jumps in the right gear. Fantastically how dependably this gear change works, because it is not natural that a gear shift keeps his reliability and precision under such a huge load. Absolutely one could mean at this point; „ah, now he must write a praise hymn to his sponsors“, however, far from it. I am simply enthusiastically with what a fantastic quality our partner companies have equipped us. This is simply world-first-class and to a large part also responsible for the joy we have being allowed to discover and investigate our beautiful mother earth in this way of travelling.

The up and down from my thighs and my steady breathing move me into a sort of trance state. In comfortable position we sit on our Riese and Müller E bikes and let glide our looks about the mountainous region whose highest mountain Taibai Shan stretches his summit 3767 m in the blue sky. „Stop!“, shouts Tanja behind me. „My accumulator is empty!“ Because we drive in tour modus we need approx. all 25km a fresh accumulator. Because each of us has six of it in the luggage, we own in spite of the mountains a reach of at least 150 km. With our joker, the loading by the GoalZero battery, even 165 km. So we have more energy in our batteries than we can cycle in winter with daylight and more than our strength admits. It is a fantastic feeling not to fear any more to remain lying somewhere in the mountain pampas without socket. With this reach we create it absolutely always up to the next loading station. And when the temperatures become more pleasant, we are also able to make camp and stay in our tent and find a stream connection then, on the next day. That means we are freer yet and more independent than before and can experience light hearted the breathtaking mountain journey.

The farmers who pursue up here already for ages agriculture have cleared away whole mountain tops to put their fields then on the created plateau. Some of the so trimmed mountains look like UFO landing fields. We pull the brakes, stop, shoot a few photos and go on. Over and over again our way leads by villages. Some of the inhabitants are beekeepers whose colonies of bees live directly beside the mountain road in small wooden boxes. Some of the mountain inhabitants live in a rock cave, rock caves accompany us since already 1000 kilometres. Then we reach a parking bay. In Chinese writing described signs to a dreamlike view point. We put down our bikes and walk with Ajaci to a hut established of wood. The sight moves us into amazement. Incredibly what this country has to offer. The immense gulches which open before us from the Qin Ling mountain range, remind me of the Grand Canyon in the US federal state Arizona. Being astonished we stand there and inhale the diversity, the variability, the roughness and the strength and the indescribable beauty of our mother earth

It is quite dark, when we reach the small town Ansai which is situated in a small valley. After 10 hours, 128 kilometres and 1780 metre height climbed with our bikes we stand exhausted however, happily before the hotel which we had booked already before. While I start to unload the bikes, Tanja goes to the reception to announce us. It does not last long as she comes back groaning. „What is?“, I ask with nasty feeling because we had already more often difficulties with the checking in at a lodging during the last months. „Stop first unloading and look at the stair.“ „Stair?“, I ask. „Yes, there is a very precipitous, long stair which leads to the reception. I do not know, if we like to carry everything upstairs after such a strenuous day?“ „Okay, I check it out and see“, I answer. Upwards, indeed, the stair described from Tanja applies directly behind the entrance. Their sight is deterrent and could keep absolutely also a normal traveller before it from having to carry his suitcases up there. Now we are talking about a cyclist who has brought just 128 kilometres of mountains behind himself and now has to carry approx. 300 kg upwards. „ We have created quite other things“, I motivate Tanja, and we heave the saddlebags, bicycles and trailers with combined strength upwards. When we have everything in the lobby we are sweaty up to the skin. Luckily the lady gives a room on the same floor directly behind the reception. Because we stay only one night, it also makes no difference to us that the room has no window, stinks of smoke and completely has been neglected. As usual, I immediately put the first empty accumulators in my four plug strip. „Does not work“, I say startled. „What does not work?“ „Well the accumulators cannot be loaded“, I answer and try it in another socket. Also there our batteries cannot be loaded. „What can this lie with?“, Tanja is surprised. „I suppose there comes not enough achievement from the socket.“ On the present trip I already had this problem, mostly in small street restaurants, but at a hotel? Nervously I run to and fro and consider how I can solve the problem. Even if I connect only one battery the announcement remains dead.” „Oh one“, I groan, rubs to me the sweat of the forehead and stare at the batteries as sudden the green loading lights of one battery start to flash. „There is something going on!“, I shout delightedly as successively all four accumulators are woken to life. „Strange. What this probably lies with?“, asks Tanja. „I do not know, central issue is it functions“, I answer contently …

The live reporting is supported by the firms Gesat GmbH: www.gesat.com and roda computer Ltd http://roda-computer.com/ The satellite phone Explorer 300 from Gesat and the rugged notebook Pegasus RP9 from Roda are the supporting columns of the transmission.

Date:
19.11.2015

Day:
144

Country:
China

Provinz:
Shaanxi

Town:
Ansai

Latitude N:
36°51’42.1’’

Longitude E:
109°19’39.9’’

Daily kilometer:
128

Total kilometer:
10.970

The crow:
92.10 km

Average speed:
23,4 km/h

Maximum speed:
53.6 km

Driving time:
5:27 h

Ground quality:
Asphalt

Maximum height:
1.800 m

Complete height meter since tour start:
10.821 m

Height meter of the day:
1.770

Sunrise:
07:23 a.m.

Sunset:
05:32 p.m.

Temperature day max:
12 °C

Temperature day min:
1 °C

Depature time:
9:30 a.m.

Arrival time:
7:00 p.m.

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