Skip to content
image description
E-bike expedition part 3 China - Online diary 2015-2016

Unavoidable collision

N 32°49'54.0'' E 106°15'16.8''
image description


    Day: 238




    Latitude N:

    Longitude E:

    Daily kilometers:
    131 km

    Total kilometers:
    12,421 km

    As the crow flies:
    79.23 km

    Average speed:
    20.8 km/h

    Maximum speed:
    50.5 km/h

    Travel time:
    6:16 hrs.

    Soil condition:

    Maximum height:
    1.200 m

    Total altitude meters:
    21.972 m

    Altitude meters for the day:
    1.050 m

    07:32 am

    6:44 pm

    Temperature day max:

    Temperature day min:

    09:30 a.m.

    Arrival time:
    6:00 pm


The journey continues at 5 degrees and in cloudy weather. Today’s destination is the city of Ningqian. According to the navigation it is 119 km to get there. After 50 km, the MapsMe program on my smartphone sends us in a southerly direction. I was just enjoying the good progress I was making today when traffic signs appeared with tractors, bicycles and mopeds crossed out. “Not again,” I groan. “What is it?” asks Tanja. “It looks like the main road joins the highway here.” “That means we have to turn back?” “Yes,” I reply, swearing loudly, having fallen for the map program again. 10 km later, we reach the town where we lost the G108 federal highway. Although I feel fit again after my cold, I’m annoyed about the detour. “It doesn’t matter Denis. You always say yourself that detours are sometimes unavoidable,” Tanja reassures me.

Before we continue our journey, we stop for lunch on a bench in a city park. As soon as the snacks are unpacked, the first interested people gather around us. It doesn’t take long and we are a bizarre attraction. More and more curious people are attracted by those already standing there. “It was a mistake to take a break here,” I say, as an obviously mentally ill person stops 30 centimetres away from me, bends his upper body towards me and remains in this position so that you might think he wants to bite into my chocolate. I slide back a little and continue eating. The man is still standing there like a pillar of salt, staring at us with an evil eye. Then he starts to shout at the top of his voice and shout at me, while 100 other spectators laugh, grin and touch our bike more and more often to take a closer look at it. As the circle of people closes in, we feel uncomfortable. We interrupt our food intake, pack up and make our way through the onlookers. On the other side of the park, we ask for the G108 main road. As soon as we stop, curious people gather around us again. “Let’s go!” I shout to Tanja and before the circle closes around us again, we start pedaling.

Even if it looks quite flat on the Google map in this area, it’s going up again. The mountain flanks of the valley, which was still wide a few kilometers ago, have moved close to the road. They force them to rise above the increasingly frequent folds in the ground. We pedal stoically to conquer over 1,000 meters of altitude today. After a pass summit, the route finally goes downhill again. As the road is wide and the bitumen is brand new, I only allow myself to brake the bike at 50 km/h. Even from a distance, I can see a large parking lot on my right where a few vehicles are parked. A heavy Audi slowly rolls onto the main road. As I’ve gotten to know the recklessness of Chinese traffic well enough by now, I keep an eye on the car. But because it’s about to stop, I don’t see any danger and let my buck continue. Suddenly, completely out of the blue, the driver accelerates and drives onto our main road. It only flashes briefly in my head. “Alarm!!!” I first apply the rear brake and a fraction of a second later the front brake. No chance, the impact is absolutely unavoidable. In fractions of a second, my body is full of adrenaline. “Aaahhh!” I roar. The driver could still accelerate at full speed to avoid what would surely be a serious accident, but there are only a few meters separating us. I feel as if time is standing still, as if a superior power has simply stopped it for a moment. Everything in front of, in and around me happens in extreme slow motion. I feel Ajaci’s trailer being pushed and pushed aside. You don’t have to look behind to know that the trailer is only rolling on one wheel and is about to tip over. That would definitely outline me. The still high speed results in a fatal fall, from which Ajaci and I don’t come out unscathed. To avoid this, I release both brakes just centimeters before the crash and pull the handlebars to the left, despite the risk of flattening the bike. At that moment, I think I feel the bumper of the car on my right shin. It is just a whiff, the touch of a feather or perhaps even just the imagination of a touch. Suddenly, time is racing again. The whole event whirls around me at crazy speed. The trailer hasn’t tipped over, I’m not skidding over the new, rough asphalt, and I haven’t crashed into the black sedan. The evasive action worked. A miracle has happened, or however you want to describe the incredibly fortunate outcome of the near miss. The car is still driving right in front of me. Did not accelerate. The tinted windows in the front passenger door are at the bottom. I roar into the window with the primal power of the survivor. I don’t recognize myself, I’m just pure adrenaline. A person who is ready for anything, perhaps even out of his mind. If the driver were to stop, it could be his downfall. He seems to sense the magnitude of the danger, accelerates and disappears at breakneck speed. I stop to catch my breath. Tanja comes to a halt next to me. She is speechless at first. “Unbelievable,” she then says. “I don’t know how you managed to stay on the bike. It was all up in the air. The trailer, Ajaci and your bike. I was sure it was going to crash. I had already seen you skidding on the road. It felt like time had stood still, even though everything happened so quickly. It was just unbelievable and I’m very glad that nothing happened to you. Let’s just be grateful. Thankful for your exceptionally quick reaction and for divine protection. We should celebrate the fact that we got out of there without any damage to people, dogs or equipment. Above all, we need to pay even more attention to the stupid drivers in future. There are simply no rules here”…

When the on-board computer shows 131 km, we reach the small town of Ningqian. After today’s near miss, we would like to celebrate the happy outcome of the day, the continuation of our journey and possibly even my life. The simple street restaurants, with their open doors, are completely unsuitable for this, so we decide to postpone the party until we find the right location…

If you would like to find out more about our adventures, you can find our books under this link.

The live coverage is supported by the companies Gesat GmbH: and roda computer GmbH The satellite telephone Explorer 300 from Gesat and the rugged notebook Pegasus RP9 from Roda are the pillars of the transmission.

This site is registered on as a development site.