Travellers' Tales: Cycle Tour Across China

Travellers' Tales: Cycle Tour Across China

Katherine Liver’s cycle tour from Australia to the UK saw her reach China in February…

There was a fresh layer of snow on the ground, our drinks bottles contained unappealing blocks of ice, and I was wearing every item of clothing that I had with me. Despite all this, my toes were still cold.

China is a pretty cold place to be in February. This was compounded by the high altitudes.

The descents were particularly fresh. So much so that I’d started to enjoy pedalling up more than freewheeling down. I dreaded the prolonged periods of icy cold, the nose-numbing wind. Climbs almost guaranteed I’d be toasty warm by the top.

Often, upon seeing a sign alerting us to a descent, my cycling companion George and I would look at one another, and one of us would mutter: ‘Well, you gotta go down to go up!’

Climbs almost guaranteed I’d be toasty warm by the top."

Katherine Liver

You might think that we would have adjusted to the cold conditions after spending day after day in them, but it was constantly on our minds and in our conversations. We couldn’t help reminding each other just how cold it was, rolling out the same phrases day after day. It would go something like this:

‘Cor blimey, it’s cold.’

‘It is fresh. You’re not wrong.’

‘Positively Arctic out here today.’

‘Pretty brisk, eh?’

‘Sharp, I’d say.’

‘Christ, it’s nippy.’

‘I’ll tell you what it’s not: it’s not bloody warm.’

Then one of us would escalate things, saying how we’d give our right arm for just five minutes next to a radiator. The other would up the ante with talk of bonfires. With neither available, we kept moving.

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