Author: Simon Clode
Title: Last Flight of the Pigeon A Journey Across China By Bicycle
Print Length: 235
Language: English, Francais, Italiano, Espanol, Deutsch
Format: PDF, ePub, mobi, azw, kf8, txt, ibook, Kindle
This is the story of a 5000km bicycle ride across China. A journey from the manic streets of the most populous nation’s capital, Beijing, all the way to Kashgar, near its most westerly edge in the province of Xinjiang. Over mountains, through deserts, and along the Silk Road, the author encounters wild dogs, furious sandstorms and tonnes of pot noodles. After moving to Beijing, Simon Clode went in search of the world’s most popular bicycle – The Flying Pigeon PA-02. The PA-02 is the bicycle that features in millions of images of China in the 1970s and 80s. Yet, despite being the most produced model of bicycle ever and being made within 100 miles of Beijing, he couldn’t find a new one anywhere. Eventually, thanks to a man in Barcelona, he managed to find one of the last remaining models, which was still in the Flying Pigeon factory in Tianjin. Ignoring all advice about the unreliability and general awfulness of the bicycle from the management team, he then cycled it 140km home to Beijing in a moment of sporting endurance heroism to rival all others that involve regular stops for Snickers. Following this triumph and in advance of Flying Pigeon’s 65th birthday, he planned to ride the Pigeon 5000km across China from Beijing to Kashgar. He trained for three months and meticulously planned a route along the one road west from Beijing. He then promptly failed in this endeavour before lunch on the very first day by destroying the bike’s back wheel with the combined weight of the luggage and himself. Despite killing the Pigeon, fearing this would be his last chance to do something as exciting, he took on the remaining 4950km on the Pigeon’s modern day successor – a nondescript 175 Giant mountain bike. This is the story of that journey: through sandstorms, police evictions, and thousands of questions about why he was wearing shorts in April. After Beijing, his route saw him ride through six provinces. First, he passed through industrial Hebei, the grasslands of Inner Mongolia, agricultural Ningxia and Gansu before the road disappeared. He was forced to take the road south into the barren no man’s land of northern Qinghai province in order to rejoin the southern branch of the Silk Road in Xinjiang.