Sean Bennetts Yunnanuni Documentary

Sean Bennett, one of the Australian riders on our tour, made a documentary video with interviews of the riders, and lots of great riding footage.

Check it out:


Not 2 tyred!

The tour is complete! All the riders made it safely to Dali and Lijiang before the weekend.

We’re slowly getting up the blog updates and photos- internet access has been patchy and our website is blocked by The Great Firewall of China. For now, there are pics and a writeup on Jason Williams new Asia Cycling website. Check it out:

Day 12 Lijiang

Many of us were leaving today, and so it was a day for goodbyes. It was sad but also satisfying to have completed such a challenging tour.
Those of us still remaining in Lijiang visited Lijiang old town (separate to where we were staying in ‘Suhe’ old town), and explored its’ cobbled streets.
We are already thinking of the next tour, which will be in 2013, complete with a cheesy name ‘Unistan’.
The updates on this website will go up over the next week or so. We have many gigabytes worth of photos so it will take a while to sort through!

Day 11 Dali to Lijiang

The riders spent the morning exploring the Dali shops and fine eateries, then packed up our unicycles for the trip to Lijiang. It was a bumpy 4hr van ride to Lijiang, which was probably rougher than any day on a unicycle!
We stayed in ‘Suhe Old Town’ in Lijiang, which had cobbled streets, lots of old buildings and a variety of shops selling all manner of trinkets.
Our final dinner together as a group was merry affair, and we said good bye to our hardworking support crew- Xu, Tianchi and Cathy, who were always there with a smile, snacks and hot drinks when we needed them.
After that it was off to a local bakery to celebrate Nicola’s birthday, followed by the nightlife (read bad singing) emanating from many of the local bars and restaurants.

Day 10 Er Yuan to Dali 47km

We were still sore from yesterdays riding, but today was the final ride of the tour so we were all looking  forward to it. The ride consisted of riding along a partially completed 4-lane Chinese highway, which was an interesting experience to say the least. Although still being constructed cars, motorcycles and assorted vehicles were zipping about in all chaotic directions. We cycled with a dozen riders abreast in what will one day become a busy highway, not something one gets to do very often.

We skirted around Lake Er Hai, one of the largest freshwater lakes in China. We had a rest stop at local market along the way, which had sorts of interesting stalls. There were live chickens, pigs, catfish, chillies, herbs, tea and other fresh produce on offer. Most interestingly, we even had a stall performing dental work in the market! Tony bought some firecrackers, which we set off at our lunchstop later on.

From there it was a short ride to finish in the town of Dali. We celebrated the end of the tour swapping stories over dinner, and exploring the bustling little town.

Day 9 Shaxi to Er Yuan 107km

We woke to fine weather, much to our relief after yesterdays downpour. This would be longest ride of the tour, and for many riders their longest ride ever, so being wet and soggy would not be fun.
Our ride meandered through a picturesque countryside, full of rice paddies, cornfields, and old mudbrick houses. There was an assortment of animals on street, including buffalo, horses, goats, dogs and people carrying their harvest back to the villages. We negotiated a couple of landslides that had closed the road, but thankfully cleared in time for our support vehicles to get through.
All manner of weird things happen in China, including a truck dumping a tons of bricks in the middle of the road, which only held us up for a few minutes, but gave us much amusement.
Our lunch stop was at the bottom of the big climb of the day, a 1000m ascent! Looking up at what seemed like a wall going up into the clouds was disheartening for many, but Ken and a few others enjoyed this ride immensely, saying that it was one of their all time favourite climbs.
It took several kilometers and many switchbacks to reach the damp, foggy mountaintop. A quick rest stop to refuel and we eagerly descended back down the mountain to the town of Er Yuan.
We finished off our 107km epic with a dunk in a hot spring- the perfect finish to soothe our aching muscles.

Day 8 Shaxi Rest Day

It was raining heavily in Shaxi, but the riders took the opportunity to explore the old town after breakfast.  There were lots of buildings and shops that could have come straight out of ancient China.

Many of our riders headed to a teahouse in the town square to learn how to make dumplings. Several hours and hundreds of dumplings later, they tasted the results of their efforts.  Alan, our chopstick challenged Scotsman (who had attempted to smuggle a spoon and fork into China), showed off his new Kung-Fu like prowess by catching a fly with chopsticks.

Sean went down to the river and started riding up and down a flooded road, much the amusement of the locals. He was also seen stalking other riders with a video camera, interviewing them for his planned documentary of the trip.

Day 7 Shigu to Shaxi 87km

Todays ride was going to be long and tough, but the weather was pleasantly cool as we rode out of Shigu towards the town of Shaxi. We meandered alongside the Yangze river before heading up a very long ascent.
We had another rest stop at an outdoor basketball court, which suddenly appeared on the side of the road. Local women from the village were adorned in their colourful traditional costumes. At this point we felt the first drops of rain and thunder in the distance, but we pressed on.
The final two climbs of the day coincided with a torrential downpour, with rivers of water and silt pouring across the road as the headwind ripped into our sodden riders. We were glad to hit the downhill overlooking green rice fields that framed our descent into Shaxi.
Shaxi is a quaint Chinese town with traditional stone and mudbrick buildings. We weaved through its cobblestone streets to our Guesthouse. The wet and shivering riders were greeted by steaming hot ginger tea in our little courtyard, the perfect end to a cold day on one wheel.

John’s Pics

Pictures taken by John Stone. More to follow.

Day 6 Tiger Leaping Gorge to Shigu 63km

This was probably the most beautiful ride of the tour thus far. We left early in the morning, snaking along Tiger Leaping Gorge, framed by misty mountains on either side, high above a raging Yangzi River.
We were sad to finally leave the gorge behind us, but we rode alongside the Yangzi as it widened out. There were plenty of cornfields and other crops growing on either side. It was a hot ride, and busy with traffic for a middle stretch, but grew more pleasant once we got back to the quiet back roads.
We reached a point along the river road where a very old wooden ferry helped chug us across the Yangzi. From there it was a short ride to the town of Shigu (Chinese meaning ‘Stone Drum’). Shigu is known as the town of the “First Bend,” where the Yangzi River changes course and turns 90 degrees on itself.
With the riding finished, we explored the small town which features a beautiful temple, a historical bridge, and charming thatched-roof houses in winding rows and curving alleyways. As with nearly every town, village and strip of houses in the countryside along our ride’s path, stray dogs followed our steps or watched from the sidelines. Apart from the ever present dogs, we also have encountered cows, yaks, chickens, goats, sheep, and pigs, many of them walking or running along or across our wheels!