I write code. I ride my bike. I've got great friends. Life is good.

Day One

Added on by Paul Wood.

Today was an eventful day. Most things that could have gone wrong did go wrong. But I am safely in Beijing at the end of it all. I just had a warm shower and I'm looking forward to one of my last days sleep on a comfy bed. Here's what happened. This morning I woke up early, the bike was pretty much all equipped and ready to go when I woke. I moved all my luggage downstairs and left it at a friends doorway on the first floor. This friend told me he was moving out so I though the apt was empty. I then walked back up the stairs to get my bike and did a final check of my apt. When I got down with my bike my luggage was gone! My friends Ayi took my luggage into their apt. I guess he hadn't moved out yet!

I ran out to find the Ayi, I knew she was walking the dogs cause of a distinctive smell in the stairwell. I rode around the block and found the ayi, within 15 min I had my luggage again and started off to Hongqiao train station.

I was running really late, but even with all my luggage I kept a strong pace of 28 km/ hour as much as I could and barely made it into the train station in time.

I got surprisingly little fuss from the train station workers for bringing a bike on board. I took off my front wheel and packed my bike in a luggage cubbie hole and finally rested a bit for a breakfast of sports drink and oranges.

When I got to Beijing I quickly put all my luggage back on the bike and started out to find a bike shop in Sanlitun. About 1 km into my ride I gave up and checked my map for directions. I also shuffled my pack to find my battery charger. Shortly there after I was told by a passer by that I had lost some luggage behind me. Yep sure enough on of my bags was wide open! I went back for the clothing that had popped out and adjusted my pack.

Next time I got on the bike everything was wrong about it. New squeaks were there. So I got off again to see what was up and found that my back rack was loose! The metal had broken. My brazon was no longer 'on' my bike. I gave up on Sanlitun and resolved to simply make it to a hotel and count my blessings.

I walked around then to find a place to eat and regroup myself. I got a lot of stares from the locals for this, something I've got to get accustomed to in the coming weeks. After my late lunch (3pm) and my first real meal of the day (oranges don't really count as a meal for cyclist) I booked a hotel on CTrip started off to find a bike shop, any bike shop would do. After an hour of walking I gave up and tried asking a taxi driver for help, again no dice. Finally I tried to ride with the broken rack. I had to go slow and smooth but I could manage it and the rack only unbalanced itself again 3 more times before I arrived at the hotel.

I tore off all my luggage, removed the broken rack from the frame, and headed out again to a nearby bike bar called Serk. My friend Tyler at Factory Five recommended the place. Shannon at Serk helped me plan a route to the Great Wall and also mentioned a welder that worked down the road from him.

I've got my work cut out for me tomorrow. I want to weld my brazon back onto my frame, replace a bad, but not unusable, tire on my bike, buy a MacBook charger (one thing I forgot before heading out the door this morning), and maybe buy a pair of long water resistant pants at Decathlon. I'll also try to move hotels someplace more Northern so Thursday's ride to the Great Wall isn't nearly as long and I can enjoy a leisurely pace.