A stroll to the river

Ni hao! Emboldened by my new-found ability to catch a bus, I caught the number 570 to Wuchang train station. I failed dismally in my main mission to buy a computer cable but did manage to take a walk around Wuchang.

Looks like a temple.

I found a park with a temple in it.

And the temple had a door.

And the temple had a door.

And a bit of photoshoot action.

And a bit of photoshoot action.

As well as these determined-looking chaps.

As well as these determined-looking chaps, gazing longlingly into the the bold future.

At the top of the hill, I found a guy having a nap on his back in a garden bed. With his feet in the air. It seemed a bit intrusive to take a picture of him and that was probably the right choice as when I walked back that way again, they were trying to revive him.

Further ahead in the park was the area around the famous Yellow Crane Tower.

It's a wall.

It’s a wall.

That's the tower up there.

That’s the tower up there.

After not going in to the tower, I headed for the river where I found a busy shopping street.

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Get a sketch of your favourite tyrant here.

Get a sketch of your favourite tyrant here.

Put your feet in a fish bowl.

Put your feet in a fish bowl.

I thought this was like some sort of cat cafe but with fish. However, I’ve since learned that it is becoming popular around the world to have fish nibble your toes. Opinion seems to be that it’s not particularly hygienic.

Rather more fun were these chaps making interestingly shaped sugary treats.

Rather more fun were these chaps making interestingly shaped sugary treats.

I didn't have one of them, but this man sold me a mini watermelon.

I didn’t fancy fighting through all the kids for the sugar, but this man sold me a mini watermelon.

And then I moved on to the mighty Yangzi River.

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Rollo on China

After a simple visit to an airport, I appear to have woken up in a strange land. What is my purpose here and will I ever be able to return home? I’m sure the answers will become apparent in time. But for now, we can say hello to Wuhan, capital of Hubei province and the hottest of China’s three furnaces. Situated at the T-junction of the sparkling Yangzi and Han Rivers, Wuhan comprises three towns separated by the two rivers and has a population of more than 10 million. It is growing impressively quickly with brand new high rise blocks of flats springing up everywhere and in such numbers that you could legitimately describe them as a forest in some areas. 

I’m staying at the campus of the Zhongnan University of Economics and Law, which is a little way out from the middles of towns but certainly not clear of the city outskirts. It’s a short bus trip to the last stop of one of the city’s three metro lines, and about three-quarters of an hour’s drunken walking home if you haven’t figured out the bus system yet.

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It’s ALL shopping centre.

That’s the little shop nearest to my place and as you can see, they are fully committed to being a shopping centre. Just as the meal below is fully committed to including 100 per cent of the chicken. I’ll examine food in a later blog post but suffice to say I have been picking a lot of chicken and fish bones out of my mouth.

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It’s ALL of the chicken.

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Here’s my buddy Zhangbin sharing dinner with me on my first night in town. Three per cent beer just means you can drink more.

The chicken was, in fact the first dinner I had here and I shared it with my new buddy Zhangbin, who has been looking after me and showing me about the place.

View from the back of Zhangbin's scooter. As you can see they are not shy of salmoning.

View from the back of Zhangbin’s scooter. As you can see they are not shy of salmoning.

Here's a spot of fishing on a lovely day. It's just a bit of smog, don't worry about it.

Here’s a spot of fishing on a lovely day. It’s just a bit of smog, don’t worry about it.

And here's a man in a uniform making the most of a mainly empty footpath because who would be mad enough to walk all the way over there? Note the views of the lake behind him.

And here’s a man in a uniform making the most of a mainly empty footpath because who would be mad enough to walk all the way over there? Note the views of the lake behind him.

Righto – that’ll do you for now. Must go and do something. More later. Cheerio!

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Meet the white lady

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It looks very much like there is a new project in the making. As any fule kno, the greatest aluminium frame ever made was the Bianchi FG Lite. Here is a link to one being held by renowned clean cyclists Stefano Garzelli, Mario Cipollini and Danilo Diluca. It is an awesome bike and people in the know speak of it in respectful, hushed tones. Having been discontinued for a few years now, they are as rare as hen’s teeth. I have managed to get my hands on a variant of the FG Lite – the Dama Bianca version. Some might say this is a ladies frame but those people simply have no appreciation of what they are dealing with here. It is light as a feather, the finish is awesome and it is my size. That is all that needs to be recognised. Such a beautiful frame deserves to be fitted out with Super Record and some sort of high end Campagnolo wheels but, alas, that’s not going to be possible so instead I’ll be building it up with whatever I’ve got lying around the place. At the moment that’s some spare handlebars, 105 shifters and Ultegra derailleurs. I’ll keep you updated as the project progresses.

Dama Bianca. the White Lady.

Dama Bianca. the White Lady.

It's actually the Dama Bianca Lei and has Hawai'ian themed flowers painted on it.

It’s actually the Dama Bianca Lei and has Hawai’ian themed flowers painted on it.

Is that hibiscus? Looks like hibiscus.

Is that hibiscus? Looks like hibiscus.

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Update! Here’s an instagram of current progress with bits and pieces I just happen to have lying around. I’ll need to get a seat post that actually fits.

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Off the asphalt

And here is a picture of Chong descending like a demon on the gravel. (But really I’m testing how to post on WordPress using my telephone)

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BMC GF02 Disc: the adventure bike

Originally posted on Elite Racing Cycles:

The GF02 Disc is as happy off the road as on it and to prove it I took mine up the Railway Haeritage Trail to Mundaring and then along the first part of the Mundabiddi trail. There is plenty of fun to be had on one of these gems.

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Test Ride: Bianchi Infinito CV

Originally posted on Elite Racing Cycles:

Bianchi Infinito CV 2014: The most comfortable bike you will ever ride.

Bianchi Infinito CV 2014: The most comfortable bike you will ever ride.

There has been a lot of hype about the 2014 Infinito CV since it was first unveiled at this year’s cobbled classics. Vacansoleil’s Juan Antonio Flecha rode it to 8th place in the Paris Roubaix and claimed it was the best bike he had ever ridden in the classics. Of course, he would say that wouldn’t he – it’s the team bike. But having ridden one down the roughest roads I could find, I have to agree with him. It is simply the most comfortable bike I have ever ridden.

The key to the Infinito CV is the Countervail technology. Countervail is not an anti-espionage system but the name Bianchi have given to a material they have developed which absorbs all the aftershocks of hitting a bump. They even made this video to show (amongst other things) how…

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Rides to do: The Madness

Originally posted on Elite Racing Cycles:

Don’t let the name of this ride put you off. It’s called the Madness for purely historical reasons. I believe this course was once habitually ridden on a Wednesday afternoon after work so the pace was frenetic in order to get home before it got too dark. I wouldn’t know for sure – I was never invited along. In any case, the important thing to remember is that the Madness is not a ride; the Madness is a state of mind.

The Madness course. Click the picture to link to the Garmin course page.

The Madness course. Click the picture to link to the Garmin course page.

It’s also the course favoured by many ERC riders when they head to the hills on a Saturday or Sunday morning. It’s easily accessible by following the Midland train line and has plenty of climbing but doesn’t start with one long climb as many other hills rides do.

One of the easiest ways of getting to the hills…

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