Browsing articles in "Trail Ramblings"
Jul
11
2017

Trail Ramblings: Heat Lovers, This Is Your Weather, But Stay Safe.

I hear some of you like to ride in the heat. More power to you. For the rest of us, we have to find ways to deal with it and to stay safe. The early morning ride is probably the best option, followed by the night ride, but commuters don’t have the luxury of picking the best time of day to ride. If you’re arriving to work drenched in sweat you already know to pack […]

Jul
3
2017

Trail Ramblings: What’s New, Lincoln?

We are back in Lincoln now and the jet lag wasn’t too bad. I’ve managed to get out and ride every day since in our fair city. After the past ten months in Zhoukou the traffic here is predictably calmer, faster, and often clueless to the presence of non-motorized vehicles. It may take me a little while to fully re-adapt to traffic regulations after the free-for-all that is bicycling in China. I was a Peace […]

Jun
26
2017

Rambling Different Trails: The Takeaway, Part Two.

Tomorrow we begin the lengthy trip back to Lincoln with an overnight in Beijing. When I read the accounts of the bike touring and bike packing trips so many others do I feel like maybe we should be riding back. After the 37 hour day we have in store we may wish we were. This past week I’ve been reflecting on the roads and how they’re dealing with the burgeoning traffic problem here. As China […]

Apr
17
2017

Rambling Different Trails: Racing in Henan!

We decided to take advantage of a long weekend and check out Xinyang, in the south of our province of Henan. There are mountains and northern tea, rice, and even water buffalo. After so much flat around Zhoukou it was a nice change of pace. The last thing we expected was to land in the middle of the Xinyang 9th “Lottery Cup” Bicycle Open. A bicycle race! In Henan! I had no idea. It was […]

Apr
10
2017

Rambling Different Trails: What Is There To See Out There?

People have different motivations for getting on a bike. For some it’s a fun thing to do with friends. Others are solitary commuters, still others seem to live to race. I like all those reasons, plus one more. I enjoy touring my area to see new things. I do this around Nebraska, but here in Zhoukou everything is new. Every ride increases my understanding of the culture and region. It’s easy to live in a […]

Apr
4
2017

Rambling Different Trails: All Rides Are Local.

If “all politics is local” as the saying goes, certainly our rides are. For some, riding is a political statement as well as a form of transportation or avocation. From your bike you see your environment up-close. Environmental issues like trash, flooding, air pollution and infrastructure are experienced by a person on a bike in a way that someone in a car or who doesn’t get out into the community will not. Whether or not […]

Mar
27
2017

Rambling Different Trails: At The Bike Shop.

It’s aggravating not speaking Chinese, and needing to go to the bike shop while not speaking Chinese is even worse. I can say a few phrases and get us home in a taxi, but explaining my need for a new chain and cassette and probably the bottom bracket? It’s rough. I know there must be better translation apps out there than what I’ve found but when you get into specialized vocabulary like this, it comes […]

Mar
20
2017

Rambling Different Trails: Get To Know Your Own Backyard.

Recently we we were invited out to dinner by a “well-placed civil servant.” We never found out what he actually does, but he speaks English. Eventually the conversation came around to riding bikes because, well, what could be better? I had to talk about my recent discoveries along the Shahe and Yinghe rivers, and that I’d just gone the day before to Xiaolaozhen via the Shahe. He just stared at me and said he’d grown […]

Mar
13
2017

Rambling Different Trails: Putting The Puzzle Together.

This past week I’ve been exploring the levee roads upstream from Zhoukou. The Yinghe and the Shahe rivers meet on the western edge of the city but I’d never found the entrance to a levee road west of the beltway. It turns out that tributaries and topography shift them but I finally found some of the thin gray lines on the map and figured it out. There’s nothing quite like having new territory to explore […]

Mar
7
2017

Rambling Different Trails: Fast Forward To The Present

I was reminded a few days ago just how quickly things are changing here in Zhoukou. I was commenting on the small village roads I’d been riding lately. Another oral English teacher, one who has been here for more than ten years laughed and said that when she arrived all the roads were like that. There were no big roads. What traffic there was consisted of buses, trucks, taxis, black government cars, and three-wheelers. And […]

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