This page is in development so these notes are all rough, but you will get the idea.
Biking gets you to the China which the devlopment boom has spared. From the golden mud brick architecture of Guangxi and Guizhou to time-capsuled earth fortress tulou in Fujian province – the richness and diversity of China is best discovered by bike.
The bigger roads the less the less we see.
Cycling tunes us into nature and fengshui – the traditonal harmony between architecture and the energetic forces of wind and rain ( as fengshui translates) and the physical form and beauty of the land. Hiking of course is also a wonderful way to experience this, but you feel the landscape more intensely on a bike with a broader overview that encourages taking the tiniest side trails rather than the quickest path from A to B.
The Fujian Tulou is where it all started for Bikeaways. The UNESCO listed tulou are spectacular and we stay in a few – overnighting in rustic guesthouses – being the chance to escape the crowds that are increasingly attracted to these architectural highlights.
Six UNESCO clusters comprising 46 listed tulou have brought much needed protection to – the biggest, most ornate, smallest, most unique tulou – judged as such by UNESCO specialists.
Many spectacular tulou have certainly been missed from selection, and even humble run of the mill tulou offer cyclists a more REAL view of tulou heritage. The word REAL is loaded – but it makes sense when you cycle into completely untouristed tulou villages and see how the majorty of modern day tulou dwellers relate to traditional ways, or alternatively have completely abandon the old ways. Tulou ruins are part of the heritage and fascinating to ride through. Many are purposefully abandoned because of bad fengshui or family misfortune. They complete the picture in a way that a bus ride to the highlights completely misses.
Biking into obscure areas is rewarding for the brilliant reception you get. You are not a purse arriving to buy trinkets, and as we teach students on our heritage service cycle trips, our presence fosters appreciation and possibilities to a brilliant heritage that might just inspire local people to expand their ideas on protecting more of their traditional architecture, knowledge and ecologically sustainable traditional practices.
War on Disposable Plastics
Recently in Hong Kong, I have seen calls for companies to disclose information on plastic production and use as the first step to managing wate that our businesses are producing.
We are not always brilliant, but aim to be.
When we use a support vehicle – we always buy refillable spring water bottles and encourage everyone to refill regularly. Our local Fujian partner Liz, is our role model on smaller trips. Wherever we stop , she spots the thermos , and whilst hustling tea for all of us – tops up her tea infused bike bottle. Not once in seven trips have I seen her drink from a disposable water bottle. Fostering this type of lifestyle change in people to live on as a habbit beyond bike-aways weekend is our key strategy in our war on plastics.
June 2014 Fujian trip plastics disclosure: At least 35 disposable bottles used. BIG FAIL.
Mr Su at Yanxiang tulou thankfully recyled half these for rice wine storage. Joining Hong Kong Cleanup as penance.