Tour de Taihu: Wind at My Back

Everything is easy when you have the wind at your back. Biking, life, the same. Today I had the wind at my back. Literally. And figuratively as well. I’ve gotten a lot of really positive feedback from people since I started this journey yesterday. I’ve even been covered by Hello Nanjing! Really want to thank everyone for the support. Means a lot. I did 90+ kilometers today and am looking at about the same tomorrow. Every little bit helps.

The weather was fine today and I was kicking pretty well and just after noon today I hit Taihu. Just came over a small rise and there it was surprisingly close. It was perfect, the water as far as I could see was the color of milky jade, reeds and rushes grew in profusion in the shallows. The water near the edge was clear. A small fish swam around. Suddenly the thought ocurred to me: what if the local gov is already doing a bang up job at protecting this natural resource? Then what the hell was I raising awareness for?

Anyway, it was just a momentary thought–a gorgeous road stretched ahead, newly paved with a wide shoulder, curving along with the shape of the lake, and hardly any cars. I cranked. I shot video.

So far the road beside the lake has been exceptional. If it’s like this the whole way around then we can make this an annual event (skipping the slog from Shanghai of course). I think it can just as easily be done during Golden Week as now. I only did it now because I was concerned about finding accommodations.

As the road curved around the Dongshan peninsula, the developers  built sections of the road on raised causeways to spare local communities. And even though the small villages are not really old, they all are built in that same typical southern Anhui style with tall whitewashed walls and black ceramic tile roofs. Plenty of family run restaurants and people selling local fruit.

My goal was the ferry terminal where I would catch a boat to Sanshan Dao. There are two terminals, Shatanshan and Changqi. Shatanshan only has “fast boats” for RMB180 round-trip. Changqi has normal boats for RMB15. On the weekends the last boat leaves around 5pm. During the week it’s earlier. Fiona Reilly has a very complete post on Sanshan Dao over at Life on Nanchang Lu, so I won’t go into too many details. It’s really quite a nice place to visit–I highly recommend a weekend here.

Along the way I did see some hints that the lake has got some pollution problems. There are quite large aquaculture farms in the middle. There are teams of locals out in boats scooping up the endless amounts of algae which grow uncontrollably and choke the water of oxygen and sunlight and thus make life very difficult for marine life. You spot them on the lake easily because they all wear orange vests. At some point I saw strange trails of foam going on for many meters. That didn’t look too natural.

I talked a bit with the lady who runs the nongjiale where I am staying. I asked her about fish stocks and such in the lake. She didn’t seem too worried about things. You can still pull 4-5 kilo fish out of the lake. There’s still plenty of the famous white shrimp. That is good news.

What I learned today:

1. Cycling gloves an essential part of a long cycle trip. I think I am causing permanent nerve damage to my right ring finger.

2. Never ever skip lunch.

Tomorrow I head for Nanxun, a famous old watertown I have long wanted to visit.

Reaching the lake!

Typical scenery for this part of Taihu

On the ferry to Sanshan Dao

The top photo is the view of the hamlet where I am staying from the ferry


6 thoughts on “Tour de Taihu: Wind at My Back

  1. We are very proud of you. And jealous as we see your pictures. Really beautiful area. Your sisters are also avidly watching your progress. Love

  2. Pingback: Tour de Taihu Day 3: Sanshan Dao to Nanxun | WHITE CONFUCIUS

  3. Pingback: Taihu: For Cyclists | WHITE CONFUCIUS

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