14degrees off the beaten track
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August 21st, 2008 | categorizilation: all categories,China (Shaanxi)

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Today’s distance / ???????: 60.3 miles / 97.1km
Average speed / ????: 11mph / 17.7km/h
Time on skateboard / ????: 5h 28m
Total skateboarding distance to date / ????????????: 6232mi plus 386mi (?) / 10,030km plus 622km (?)
Ascent / ??: 130m
Descent / ??: 530m
End-of-day GPS coordinates: N34°16′35.4″, E108°57′22.2″

Like two days ago, today was also a head-down foot to the pavement pushing day. At times I had to remind myself to look around at the scenery, which consisted of apple trees, some more apple trees, and the odd apple tree amongst the apple trees.

I was once again on China National Highway G312, after the wonderful smooth new G70 expressway construction ended and the expressway became a full-fledged open to the public expressway. On the good old G312, I was back in the thick of it, mixing it up with semi-trailers and dust.

Dusty roads approaching Xi'an, Shaanxi Province, CHina

The major challenge today was dodging honey bees. This really does seem to be bee transport season, with two large trucks loaded high with bee hives passing me, leaving a good 10km of road swarming with disgruntled bees. I was running the gauntlet, and my main concern was getting bees stuck in the ventilation holes on my helmet. Previously, this is what got me stung. A bee gets in there and they are not happy.

For 30 minutes I was pushing at full speed, a regular tap, tap, at bees would hit my helmet and sunglasses. Not fun. Mum, I did think of you…I doubt you would have enjoyed being there! (Mum isn’t a fan of bees)

I was hoping to make it to Xian today, and I was surprised at how fast I was moving. A slight tailwind, the remnants of the rip-roarer yesterday, was taking the edge off the air friction as I pushed, and by lunch time I had an easy 19km/h average speed.

Pushing on, I soon came to the ourskirts of Xian, and was welcomed with a massive cycle lane leading into the center of the city. This is one thing I really do love about China. The smooth, massive cycle lanes. 20km from the outskirts of town into the center of Xian. Wonderful.

Smooth fast skating in Xi'an, Shaanxi Province, China

They are well used also. People transporting all manner of goods by bike.

Using the bike to transport anything and everything in Xi'an, Shaanxi Province, China

I was cruising at just over 20km/h, so nearer to the center of the city, I had to skate on the main road, due to there being too many cyclists to dodge. As always however, I was given masses of room, with the only danger being cars slowing down and holding up traffic, just to get a better look!

I am being followed by a tuktuk in Xi'an, Shaanxi Province, China

A question I get asked frequently about my skateboard and trailer setup when I am seen moving fast is “Is it electric motor powered?” I can understand the question, as there are many electric bicycles in China. The person posing the question will poke around, looking at my skateboard, picking it up, turning it over, trying to find the source of the speed.

However, as smooth as it may look when I’m riding it, the only motor powering this setup is noodle-powered!

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    Permanent Link     Comments (7)

Comment by Ojster — August 23, 2008 @ 2:24 am | post a comment

The same was happening to me with my ICE trike and trailor. People always thought it is electrically powered. Especially when I had my suncells on top of the trailor ;) I often had a feeeling they were not actually sure whether they should beleive me when I told them that there is no motor anywhere ;)

Comment by Mum — August 23, 2008 @ 4:48 am | post a comment

I don't mind bees too much, it's wasps I hate! Although I'd still not like to ride through a swarm of angry ones.

Comment by harydial — August 23, 2008 @ 7:13 am | post a comment

Hey Rob…Thanks a lot for your detailed explanation…that gave me a new insight!

Thank You

So correct me if I am wrong….you use a fish eye lens and also a wide angled lens to take your wide angled panoramic shots…..?

Anyway…..I really admire your photo taking skills from different angle…very refreshing….thanks for a great blog write up…..

Keep skating and may u continue to enjoy your journey……

Comment by ChrisJ — August 24, 2008 @ 2:55 am | post a comment

Hi Rob,

Glad to catch up with your adventures again.

Some computer trouble last week brought everything to a halt.

It is getting down to crunch time for me. I have to decide within the next couple of weeks whether I will continue on working here in Japan or head back to Madison. I am really wavering back and forth.

One more job offer to follow up on, but it is in Tokyo, and boy do I not want to live in Tokyo. All your beautiful photos of the countryside just reinforce my belief…

Comment by henning — August 26, 2008 @ 9:58 pm | post a comment

hi rob …

it just took me 2 nights of no sleep to read your whole blog … it is wonderful and fascinating … and i will keep on reading it .. i found you and you blog via markus wagner whom i met on the 50th anniversary weekend of YFU last summer … the student exchange programme he and i attended.

again, keep up the good work … I'd love to be there … and experience what you experience …



Hamburg, Germany

Comment by Murdo — August 27, 2008 @ 6:46 am | post a comment

Hey Rob,

You may of heard of this guy – Mark Beaumont, who took the world record for cycling round the world in 195 days. Anyway he had his journey filmed and the BBC recently showed a documentary on it and it reminded me of you.

I see you have picked up some pretty useful Chinese on your travels – how are you studying it and how does it compare to Japanese?


Comment by Katey B — September 20, 2008 @ 8:50 am | post a comment

Noodle powered! I love it!

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