East Coast Book and Slideshow Tour – March 26th to April 2nd

February 15th, 2015 by David

I’m writing this from Myanmar, the last country on our 10-month, 8,000-mile bicycle journey across Asia. In just over two weeks, Lindsey and I will board a plane bound for the U.S., returning to “normal life.”

I will be doing a short tour through cities in the Northeast to share stories from this journey and also my book, The Bicycle Diaries, a Shelf Unbound Notable Book of 2014. The slideshow will include the best pictures and videos from 30,000 miles of bicycle touring across three continents and 28 countries — and it will also share the on-the-ground observations of the challenge of climate change. Copies of The Bicycle Diaries will be available for sale.

Click on the links for the location of each event.

Washington DC – Thursday, March 26th, 8:00pm – Bicycle Space
Baltimore – Friday, March 27th, 8:30pm – Red Emma’s Bookstore
Philadelphia – Saturday, March 28th, 6:30pm – Conshohocken REI
New York City – Monday, March 30th – NYC Velo at Hell’s Kitchen Location
Brooklyn – Tuesday, March 31st, 7pm – Red Lantern Bicycles
New Haven – Wednesday, April 1 – The Grove (hosted by Elm City Cycling)
Boston – Thursday, April 2, 7pm – Trident Booksellers and Cafe


 

In Northeast India… and Behind on Blogging

January 25th, 2015 by David

I’m writing this from Imphal, a city in the far northeast of India. We are a bit behind updating this blog — in the past month we’ve crossed Bangladesh and five states in India, where we have had very limited Internet connections. We have many photos to upload and drafts of several blog entries, but it will be a bit longer before we can post them — check this site in a few weeks to see what we’ve been up to.

In the meantime, you can see (some) pictures on our Flickr page, or see updates on Twitter or Facebook. We are also regularly uploading our rides to Strava — you can follow us there for details about each day’s ride.

We are nearing the end of our journey, and our minds are turning towards getting home. We have tickets to fly out of Yangon, Myanmar on the 2nd of March, meaning we have only a bit more than one month of travel left!


 

Bangladesh – Photos

January 19th, 2015 by David

Below are our favorite photos from a few weeks in Bangladesh. You can also see more photos on our four flickr albums of cycling the country, The Delta, Boat Journey to Dhaka, Dhaka, and Dhaka to Agartala.


 

Bihar and West Bengal – Photos

January 1st, 2015 by David

To see all our photos from eastern central India, visit our Flickr album of Bihar and West Bengal. Our favorite pictures from these albums are below.


 

Nepal – Photos

December 23rd, 2014 by David

We took a lot of photos in Nepal, especially during a week-long trek in the Himalaya. You can see all of these photos in our flickr albums, Nepal – Cycling and Kathmandu and Nepal – A Trek in Annapurna Below are some of our favorites selected from these albums:


 

A Trek in the Himalaya

December 22nd, 2014 by Lindsey

We had done absolutely no research on Nepal, and were thus utterly unprepared – a fine thing, when your non-expectations end up wildly exceeded. If pressed to describe Nepal before arriving, I probably would have said something like ‘vaguely Indian, with big mountains. And maybe elephants.’ If asked for more, I may have mentioned landslides and a uniquely shaped flag. Crossing the border from China, we were greeted with so much more: an abrupt shift from order to chaos and cheerful exuberance, the scent of curry wafting over an unpaved road full of scattering chickens, and the sudden presence of children everywhere you looked. It was a welcome change, though we struggled with another difference – we were several kilometers into Nepal before we discovered that people drive on the left side of the street. The road leading away from the border was so potholed and narrow that everybody just seemed to drive wherever was most feasible, but after the third or fourth truck or motorbike tried to pass us on the right, we figured it out.

Nepal - Cycling and Kathamndu

Our favorite part of getting into Nepal may have been the visa process. Unlike most of the countries we’ve visited on this trip, they provide a visa on arrival. For $40, and with no additional documentation, a man at a wooden desk wearing fingerless gloves to protect him from the chill of the Himalayan winter in the unheated customs building (another sharp contrast from China, whose glistening building had efficiently and electronically processed us moments before) placed a sticker in our passport that would allow us to spend a month in Nepal. Thus welcomed, we rode gleefully downhill through the Sun Kosi River valley for the rest of the day, passing endless terraces where people coax crops out of the unforgivingly steep valley sides. We crossed through the aftermath of the landslide that devastated a village several months before – we could tell we were getting close when the river stopped flowing, backed up into a listless pool by the dam formed by the landslide. We failed to take the new road – really just a rough dirt track through the slide – and ended up half pushing, half carrying our bikes through the mud and boulders, right through the remains of the villages that hadn’t been completely buried. I’ve never seen anything like it – an entire mountainside had given way, burying everything below it, blocking off the river, and plowing up the side valley on the other side. An excavator was clawing at the rubble, slowly removing the dam to allow the river to flow downstream again.

Nepal - Cycling and Kathamndu

Nepal - Cycling and Kathamndu

We spent the night in a small town farther downriver. For about $8 we got a room with a reeking but functional squat toilet, daal bhat (Nepali meal of rice, daal, vegetable curry and cooked greens) for dinner, and most importantly, electricity and wifi. Here we got our first taste of one of Nepal’s greatest challenges: insufficient electricity. In many of Nepal’s towns and cities, including the capital, the power is out for up to ten hours a day. People use everything from candles to generators to cope with this ‘load-shedding’ – there’s even an app that tells you when the power will go out in Kathmandu – and it’s just a part of life, for now.

We also squeezed some R&R into our time in Nepal – two friends who happened to be in the region came to Kathmandu while we were there, and we also took a week-long trek in the Annapurna Range. I got to join Kaija Hurlburt and her friend Christy Sommers for a hike in Dhulikel, one of the former kingdoms of the Kathmandu Valley. The town is full of hidden temples and old brick houses with gently drooping wooden balconies, and the surrounding countryside was bright yellow with ripening mustard, dotted with small villages where people laughed and smiled as we picked up countless baby goats. Ian Monroe came up from India, where he had traveled for his startup, Oroeco; in addition to joining us at Bodhi, one of Kathmandu’s largest Buddhist sites, and a day trip to Bhaktapur, a ‘living museum’ town jam-packed with temples, he introduce us to many of Kathmandu’s energy experts and joined us for some meetings. A post on what we learned is coming soon.

Nepal - Cycling and Kathamndu

When deciding where to go trekking, we consulted Amrit Ale, owner of Himalayan Quests and a friend of Christy’s. We told him we wanted to go through villages and get high into the mountains, and he suggested the newly established Dhaulagiri Community Trek and connected us with a local guide. It was exactly what we’d hoped for. After a day-long bus ride from Kathmandu to Beni, we met our guide, Prem, and went over the route, which would take us from an elevation of 800m in Beni up to 3700m on the flanks of 7,219m Annapurna South.

Nepal - Trek in Anapurna

As we walked up countless stone steps, we met a number of villagers who Prem helped us interview about climate change. Nearly everybody mentioned that both summers and winters are warmer than they used to be, and that the rainy season has become irregular. At higher elevations, the warmer weather was helpful as it enables people to grow heat-loving crops such as chilis, which couldn’t grow in the colder weather that used to be the norm. However, people said that the changing monsoon makes it difficult to plan – planting seeds at the usual time could result in losses if the rains are late.

Nepal - Trek in Anapurna

We stayed in community lodges most nights, which were built just a few years ago to encourage trekkers to visit the area and increase the benefits of tourism for the communities. We were treated to clear days for the first half of the trek, during which we encountered almost no other tourists and saw spectacular sunrises and sunsets. It started snowing as we reached our highest point, which meant we didn’t get to climb up to a nearby glacier as planned, but instead gave us the chance to read, play in the snow, play cards with Prem and the lodge staff, and take in absurdly beautiful views of the mountains and valleys as thick clouds drifted through. If any of our readers are planning a trip to Nepal, we definitely recommend Himalayan Quests and the Dhaulagiri Community Trek – it stands out as a highlight of our time in Nepal and the entire trip.

Nepal - Trek in Anapurna

Nepal - Trek in Anapurna

Nepal - Trek in Anapurna

Nepal - Trek in Anapurna


 

Tibet Autonomous Region – Photos

December 13th, 2014 by David

Below are our best photos from the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR). To see all 180 (!) of our photos from the TAR, click here.


 

The Tibetan Autonomous Region — Bikes on a Train and Bus

December 12th, 2014 by David

We ended our two and a half month journey across Chinese territory with a train ride and then bus tour across the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR), the province of China that occupies the southwest portion of the Tibetan plateau and butts against Nepal. We had originally planned to bike across this high altitude region (which has an average elevation of around 15,000 feet), but the Chinese government forbids foreigners to travel independently. If we were to bike it we’d have to pay a jeep to follow us, which is not only prohibitively expensive, but also against the ethos of ride for climate. So we took a train to Lhasa and then joined a bus tour with 10 other young foreign travelers who had also forked over the roughly $1,000 USD per person to visit this semi-forbidden land.

The tour began with two days in Lhasa, where our guide led us around monasteries, the Potala Palace, and the city’s holiest temple. I was especially impressed by the Potala Palace, the former home of the Dali Lama (before he fled in 1959), which was built before the American Revolution and, at 13 stories, is the tallest ancient palace in the world. Few buildings in Lhasa rise higher than two stories. But what was even more impressive than the palace were the pilgrims. In November, there are few foreign or Chinese tourists in Lhasa, but many Tibetan pilgrims (many people in China told us that it was far too cold for us to visit Tibet at this time of year — in general, we found Chinese people unnaturally afraid of the cold, and they always asked us if we were cold if exposed any skin while biking). Apparently, after the fall harvest is when most Tibetans make their pilgrimages to holy sites such as Lhasa (and the Tibetans are far less afraid of the cold).

Tibet Autonomous Region

The holy sites were full of Tibetan pilgrims, and in the tight hallways and rooms of the holy buildings they would often elbow their way around us to stare with wonder at the shrines. In front of the city’s main temple, many pilgrims, young and old, prostrated themselves before the temple, over and over. This involves bringing the hands together in prayer in front of the face, then lying face down on the ground, standing up, and then repeating the motion. To count how many prostrations they do, many pilgrims use prayer beads — every time they lie down on the ground they move a bead on the necklace. An odd number of prostrations is supposed to be auspicious, and most necklaces have several dozen beads. Many of the pilgrims have wooden blocks on their hands, which, like shoes protecting one’s feet, save their palms from the repeated contact with the ground. I was most impressed by some of the prostrating old women, with long, braided hair, and bare hands and feet.

Tibet Autonomous Region

And then there was the kora: In addition to prostrations, Tibetan Buddhists walk clockwise around holy sites in a form of prayer. Around Lhasa’s main temple, a river of people walks in circles like an endless parade. Old women, young girls, men with handheld prayer wheels. A few travel by prostrating themselves and then taking a step, traveling only one body length with each prostration. Needless to say, it takes these people much longer to complete the kora.

Tibet Autonomous Region

The strongest feeling I had in Lhasa was that it was a holy place. It’s hard not to feel swept up in the spirituality of the city, and to want to pray and join the devout. I am agnostic, but I find myself envious of these believers. The second strongest impression was that it isn’t free. Police were everywhere in the city. You had to go through a metal detector to get to the temple (I took a picture of the security check point, and a police officer waved their hands to say “no pictures;” I waved back with what I hoped looked like an ignorant-tourist smile and quickly walked away). And above the courtyard where the old and young prostrated themselves before the temple, police were stationed on the tops of buildings – like snipers. And then there are the flags. I saw more Chinese flags in the TAR than in the rest of China combined. Given how patriotic China is, I was actually surprised by how few Chinese flags we saw crossing the country. That changed in the TAR, where the streets were lined with the red banner. Flags stood on the holy temples and the monasteries, and a large one waved boldly from the top of the Potala Palace. Later, when passing through the countryside, we saw that in half of the villages every house flew the Chinese flag. I talked to some people in town about this — they said that the government forces people to fly them.

Tibet Autonomous Region

In China, we spent a great deal of mental effort trying to reconcile the onerous parts of the Chinese state with the immense good it has achieved in the past few decades. China has one of the least free presses in the world, and we were shocked by the level of censorship. All Google websites and services are blocked, as are Facebook, Twitter, Dropbox, and the New York Times — basically the sites where I spent about 90 percent of my time online (we were able to get around the censors using a VPN, but it was slow and not always reliable). People cannot elect their rulers, and opposing the state can lead to jail or worse. The government executes more than 2,000 criminals per year (although we can’t be sure, as the number is a state secret), and given that prosecution and defense are imperfect, undoubtably many of those people are innocent. China lacks Democracy and Rule of Law — essentially, the institutions that protect people when the government overreaches.

Tibet Autonomous Region

On the other hand, the strong Chinese state has dramatically improved the quality of life of most Chinese citizens over the past three decades (although the quality of life three decades ago in China was very, very low, in no small part because the country had a leader, Mao, who made some very bad decisions, and there was no way to check his rule). Through relatively good leadership, the economy has boomed, and the Chinese have built smooth new roads, countless power plants, efficient metro stations, and new railways. And incomes have risen steadily.

This one-party rule, though, felt much less onerous, and even benevolent, in China’s east, where the population is almost entirely ethnic Chinese (“Han Chinese”). In many ways, the party is just continuing the practices of the empires of old, where a strong emperor and his bureaucracy ruled over China. The emperor was expected to follow Confucian values and rule in the interest of the governed, but the only check on his power was this cultural norm. It seems to me that one reason the Chinese people have accepted one-party rule more than I’d expect them to is that the society is used to such rule. In addition, Chinese/Confucian values place a high value on harmony and order, and people seem to be willing to sacrifice personal freedoms for societal order. At least, that is my impression after crossing the country.

In the TAR, though, the situation is different. The Tibetans are used to worshiping the Dalai Lama as their religious leader and the head of their state. Although Chinese emperors have claimed the TAR as part of their territory for the past few centuries, in reality they exercised relatively little control over the region, and very few Han lived permanently within its borders. From about 1910 to 1950, China exerted almost no control over the TAR, and it operated as an independent country, Tibet. Unfortunately, Tibet was almost entirely closed to the outside world and failed to establish diplomatic relations with other nations, which made it difficult to get allies to protect it from the eventual Chinese invasion.

(This conversation is a bit complicated by the fact that much of the Tibetan Plateau lies outside of the TAR, in parts of the Chinese provinces of Qinghai, Gansu, Sichuan, and Yunnan. About half of ethnic Tibetans live in these provinces. But while they still worship the Dalai Lama and practice Tibetan culture and religion, they have politically been more incorporated into the Chinese state than the Tibetans in the TAR. We biked through Tibetan parts of Qinghai and Gansu provinces, and the police presence, while still uncomfortably high, was much lower than in the TAR.)

In the TAR I felt like we were witnessing colonization in progress. A foreign power has occupied the area, exiled its leader, imposed rule without consulting the citizens, and sent many settlers to take advantage of the region’s resources. In Lhasa, I managed to get some English-speaking Tibetans to tell us about what life is like there. “We have no rights,” said one, and complained that they were not allowed to worship the Dalai Lama. (However, many Tibetans still have images of His Holiness in their homes, and one temple we saw in Gansu Province displayed his picture — we’ve heard that when the police come through to do their routine inspection of the temples, the monks just take the image down.) He also said that Tibetans are not allowed to hold passports — literally, they are not allowed to leave the country. Another person we talked to complained about Chinese mining and dam building, saying it was affecting the climate and upsetting the gods; we heard that one dam was opposed by an important Lama (incarnation), and the Chinese government actually delayed building it until he died. We tried to get our guide to talk about politics, but he declined, saying he might get in trouble — and we heard about guides being spied on to prevent them from telling foreigners stories like the ones I’m writing here.

Tibet Autonomous Region

But I also feel strange defending the old Tibetan system. Before the Chinese invaded, it was an autocratic theocracy, with essentially a feudal system and even some forced labor (that was one way Tibetans paid taxes). You could compare it, in some ways, to many medieval societies. There is a little bit of sick truth to the Chinese double-speak argument that they “liberated” Tibet. They have built infrastructure that has improved the quality of life by many measures. And one of the same Tibetans who said “we have no rights” said that he thought life would be better for his daughters, partially because there is more economic opportunity.

Unfortunately, most people in other provinces have no idea of the extent to which Tibet is a police state, because the state censorship prevents information like this from reaching them.

After our two days in Lhasa, we and ten other tourists from the UK, Brazil, Malaysia, and Australia, boarded a small bus and started motoring towards Nepal. Our bikes, del Fuego and Mini-Momem, rode in the far back, disassembled. We crossed the Brahmaputra River and then climbed over a 4,000 meter pass where we stopped for 20 minutes and I paid $1.40 to get a picture of myself on the back of a yak. We drove by a holy lake with a 6,000 meter peak reflecting in the water, and we visited another monastery before spending the night in Tibet’s second largest city. We then drove on a bumpy dirt road for a few hours to arrive at Mount Everest base camp, where I filled a memory card with images of the mountain.

Tibet Autonomous Region

Tibet Autonomous Region

Tibet Autonomous Region

Along the road, there were numerous checkpoints where our guide had to exit the bus and show papers to police officers. Lindsey and I found ourselves scrutinizing each stop, trying to see if we’d be able to sneak around it if we were on bikes — in the past few years, some cycle tourists have successfully sneaked their way across Tibet by pushing their bikes around these checkpoints in the dead of night. But the police have gotten stricter and surveillance has increased, making such a journey more challenging.

On our final day, we crossed a 5,000 meter pass (16,000 feet) before descending into Nepal, and we convinced our guide to allow us to assemble our bikes and ride down from this pass. The first ten kilometers were some of the greatest riding of my life — wearing down jackets and wind protection, we followed switchbacks beneath the white horizons of the Himalaya. Unfortunately, the road became less steep, and soon a horribly strong headwind made the downhill feel like a climb; the bus had to wait an hour for us, and then our guide didn’t let us ride the second half of the descent — we had to be with our guide at each checkpoint, so they couldn’t simply drive ahead and wait for us at the evening’s destination. We spent the night just nine kilometers from the border, and the next morning we were able to ride from our hotel — of course, we had to wait for our guide to join us before we could cross the border out of China.

Tibet Autonomous Region

Now I am writing this from Nepal, where it feels great to be able to connect to the Internet without government censors, and where we can stay at any hotel we want, not just the ones the state allows to host foreigners.


 

Thoughts on Climate Change After Crossing Asia

December 7th, 2014 by David

Six months after leaving Istanbul, and cycling 5,500 miles (and taking a few buses, trains, boats, and trucks), we reached the eastern coast of China, thus officially crossing Asia with our bicycles. In addition to enjoying the open road and making friends with farmers, yak herders, and businessmen, we’ve talked to people we’ve met along the way about climate change. Do they hear much about the issue? Are they worried about it? In the cities, we’ve spoken with experts and advocates. In the countryside we’ve interviewed laypeople, showing them a piece of paper with questions written in the local language, asking if people think the weather has changed in their lifetime (Are winters warmer or colder than when you were a child? Are summers warmer or colder than when you were a child? Does it rain more or less?). The goal is to identify long-term trends — instead of what the weather is like this year — and we film their answers for later translation.

This is an extremely unscientific survey. Its goal is to get a firsthand impression of climate change in the regions we’re traveling through, and to use our journey to better understand the issues that we’ve focused on for much of our careers. Our travels aren’t over yet (we will cross parts South Asia next), but here are some of our observations from the journey so far:

1. Most people say it is getting warmer. While some of the interviews we’ve recorded still need to be translated (we don’t speak much Turkish, Georgian, Uzbek, Russian, Tajik, or Chinese), it’s clear that many people think it is warmer than it used to be. In Tajikistan, almost everyone we talked to said that there is now much less snow than there used to be. I’m sometimes skeptical of people’s abilities to perceive changes in the climate (I don’t easily remember what the weather was like ten years ago), but we’ve still been surprised by how consistently people across the region have said that the weather has warmed, or that there is less snow than there used to be.

Wakhan Valley

2. Some people have been negatively affected, but most say the changes have not made a big difference in their lives. Although we haven’t translated some of our interviews in China, we have only two specific cases of climate change (or what is likely climate change) negatively affecting people’s lives: wheat farmers in Turkey said that warmer temperatures had hurt their crops (something that is backed up by scientific research), and people in the mountains of Tajikistan said that there is less water to irrigate in the summer when they don’t have snow in the winter, something that has become more common in recent years. (People living near the former Aral Sea said that the weather had changed and made life more difficult, but the changes in climate are mostly due to losing the Aral Sea, not global climate change.)

Mostly, though, people said that the changes had little effect on their lives. The same villagers in Tajikistan who said that less snow was bad for agriculture said less snow kept the roads open in winter, allowing more goods to arrive from the capital. And although Tajikistan is extremely poor, most people in the countryside seem to rely not on farming to survive, but on instead on family members working in Russia and sending money home — so they seemed less concerned about crop failure than we expected, as they actually end up buying much of their food. In China, although we don’t have many of the interviews translated, when we pointed to the question of whether changes in the weather had affected them, most gave us the thumbs up, as if to say “life is better now” and the changes haven’t affected them — which makes sense, as China’s rapidly growing economy has lifted hundreds of millions of people out of absolute poverty in just three decades, improving quality of life for most people.

China 8 - Baotou to Beijing

This isn’t to say that people haven’t yet been affected by climate change here or in other parts of the world. Warmer temperatures and slightly stronger storms and droughts have made life difficult for many people. Also, sometimes people may not be aware that these changes are affecting them or stressing their society. For instance, drought likely contributed to the Syrian civil war. And fairly convincing research shows that in warmer years, people and societies are more violent. People experiencing this upheaval and violence probably wouldn’t say “it’s because of the weather,” when in fact, the weather may play a role.

Nonetheless, when we crossed the continent by bicycle and interviewed people as we traveled, we encountered few people who say the changing weather is already causing them hardship. This isn’t surprising, but it also highlights the fact that even though climate change is here, and people are noticing it, the majority of its dangerous consequences are still in the future.

3. Local environmental movements sometimes help climate action, but sometimes they don’t. The two countries we visited that are building the most infrastructure, and whose emissions are growing the fastest, were Turkey and China. In both countries, we saw countless new power plants or dams under construction (usually while cycling on newly paved roads). Both countries have seen their economies more than double in the past decade, and both look for continued growth.

In China, concern over air, water, and soil pollution, often as a result of burning coal, has put pressure on the government to reduce the country’s dependence on this particular fossil fuel. As we learned in Beijing, one third of China’s provinces already have coal reduction plans in place. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is one reason for these limits, but the bigger reason is local air pollution.

China 5 - Tibet 2 - To Lanzhou

In Turkey, the situation is different. We talked to a number of advocates, and we found that the biggest environmental movements in Turkey were 1) opposition to new hydroelectric dams, and 2) opposition to new nuclear power plants. We are sympathetic to both of these movements. Turkey is building a dam almost everywhere it can, forcibly removing people from their homes. And I might not trust the Russian companies that are building some of the nuclear power plants to do so in my backyard. Yet if these movements are successful, the result might be that Turkey builds more coal power plants instead of relying on relatively CO2-free hydro and nuclear power.

A Week in Ankara

4. The international process matters. After attending the 2009 climate conference in Copenhagen, like many other people, I lost a good deal of faith in international climate negotiations. Countries made pitiful pledges to reduce emissions, and it wasn’t clear that the negotiations led to significant cuts.

However, the two countries we visited that are building the most new carbon-polluting infrastructure, China and Turkey, also seem to respond to international pressure. Turkey has very ambitious goals for installing new wind power over the next decade, and according to the people we spoke with, this is partially because they have to adopt renewable energy targets if they want to join the EU. The case for China is less clear, as some experts have said that China doesn’t respond to such pressure. Others, though, have pointed out that China cares deeply about how it is perceived by the rest of the world. And after being in the country, and learning more about “face” and how important it is, it seems clear that China’s leaders do care that they are the biggest polluter, and they do not like bad press about China. Both countries are likely doing more to combat climate change than they would in absence of an international process.

Next we are taking a train from Shanghai to Lhasa, and then taking a jeep to Nepal, where we will start biking again (China forbids independent travel in Tibet, so we are unable to cycle across the plateau unless we hire a jeep to follow us for several weeks; instead, we are taking a train to Lhasa and then a group tour to the border with Nepal). From Nepal, we will ride for three more months, crossing parts of Nepal, India, Bangladesh, and (visas permitting) Myanmar, logging another few thousand kilometers. These regions, especially India’s state of Bihar and Bangladesh, are far poorer than anywhere we’ve been, and much more vulnerable to climate change. We will share with you more of what we learn here, and you can follow us on our blog or interactive map.


 

Pictures from Eastern China

November 25th, 2014 by David

Eastern China is one of the most population dense regions of the world (see our route and click on “see population density” above the map). When we planned our route, we didn’t expect to find any good biking riding to Beijing, or between Beijing and Shanghai. We were wrong. While the pollution was horrible in some places, we were pleasantly surprised by many of the country roads (thank you Google walking directions) and we enjoyed riding through the countryside during the harvest months of October and November. Most cities were also relatively easy to bike across due to dedicated lanes for bikes (or, more often, electric scooters).

We took a lot of pictures — here are links to the individual albums:
Hong Kong
Hitchbiking to Baotou
Baotou to Beijing
Beijing
Bikes in Beijing
Beijing to Shanghai
Shanghai

And here are some of our favorite photos from these albums: