The Three Gorges of the Yangzi, Day 13: Cycling 97 km from Manchuan to Shuhe.
With over 90 km ahead of us we started early on the road to Shuhe, another old Merchant town lying at the banks of River Han, the longest feeder of the Yangzi.
We first cycled a medium size road uphill, passing very typical rural scenery of people ploughing and sowing their small, and often terraced fields. After our daily stop bowl of noodles for lunch (this time we each had a bowl of traditional Lanzhou lamian, Lanzhoustyle handpulled noodles), we started cycling a small road downhill. The scenery here got even prettier, and despite the cloudy weather we enjoyed the ride a lot.
Our driver Xiao Yang had warned us that there might be some road construction ahead, and sure enough – about 25 km before Shuhe we hit the first road blockage. Apparently the road was going to be renewed and widened, which in this part of China means that tons and tons of rock would have to be taken away. A project which would take a couple of years in Europe and would probably take about a year here.
After waiting for about 10 minutes, the road block was removed and we were allowed to cycle on – only to find the next section of construction a couple of kilometres further on. This time, we had to wait another 30 minutes, giving us time to chat up with some of the locals and observe a woman of around 50 years of age, who chopped down trees beside the road for firewood, being equipped with nothing more but a little sickle. She explained us that as the road was planned to be widened anyway, the state had allowed the local residents to chop trees beside it.
The game repeated itself: After being allowed to cycle on through the construction, soon we were held by another road block and forced to wait until the workers moved the big stones out of the way and took a break. Slowly, we made our bumpy way through the sections of construction and were all pretty tired when we reached the little town of Shuhe just before sunset. Still the stage had been one of the prettiest and quietest we had cycled so far and after a nice warm shower and some good dinner, all today’s waiting and cycling through muddy construction was already forgotten.