A Giant List of Tips in No Particular Order for 2012 Silk Route Riders
I learned a lot of things on my scouting trip to China. Here is a random assortment you may find helpful if you are joining us on our Silk Route Bike Tour. These tips obviously apply to China. I'll share some tips for the other 6 countries we'll be riding through later on.
-Shanghai has two airports. One is largely domestic, the other largely international (but not exclusively). Be sure you know which one you fly into because they are 30 km apart.
-Most of our hotels in China do not have laundry service. Local laundries require 24 hours to wash your clothes.
-Don’t ever stop in middle of a road/bike path, unless you are fond of being run over by an electric scooter.
-Bring a bell or horn. A really loud one. Also bring mirror and handlebar bag that has a map case.
-Wean yourself off of coffee before coming. Get used to drinking tea.
-Carry the name of each hotel we stay in written in Mandarin with you each day. Believe me, at some point this will save your ass. Especially if you follow the advice at the end of this list.
-Internet in most of the hotels we stay in is cable only, no wifi, so iPad and Mac Air users are out of luck
-If you enter your hotel and the lights don’t work it is because you didn’t insert your key card into the automatic cut off switch at the door.
-Hotels charge for dirty towels and sheets. A lot. They will check your room thoroughly before you check out. So don't clean your bike with a towel and don't steal anything.
-SIM cards and phones are cheap in Shanghai, you should plan on getting one.
-Every time you take a cab take a picture of the cab’s ID and phone number, just in case you forget something.
-You will have to carry your bags upstairs at most hotels in China so pack accordingly.
-Always carry toilet paper. (this is a good rule for all our tours actually).
-If you don’t like noodles, I hope you like rice.
-Drink bottled water or boiled water. A lot of the water is not safe to drink.
-Learn to use chopsticks. Long chopsticks were easier for me to use than short ones. Wooden ones were easier to use than plastic or metal. I've heard the reusable plastic chopsticks restaurants use are rarely cleaned well so its best to use the disposable ones or bring your own.
-Buy a filter mask for dust and smog (if you have allergies or asthma take extra precautions)
-No skinny tires. All tires should be 28mm or wider. You've been warned.
And Finally: Get lost! It’s fun and China is very safe and fun to explore. Just get found again before I have to come looking for you!
Well there you go. I told you they were assorted! More coherent info about preparing for the Silk Route Bike Tour coming soon, including a food decoder and some awesome language tips.
Been to China? Have some tips of your own? Love to hear them in the comments.
Images via Wikipedia