Bamboo Road- Shanghai Shenanigans
On Sunday, September 20th this year’s Bamboo Road bicycle tour group met in the bustling metropolis of Shanghai to begin their 3-month, 8,000km journey to Singapore. Some riders arrived to Shanghai as early as two weeks in advance to acclimatize to the language, culture and weather while others took the approach of diving in the deep end and arrived the day before the trip started. Regardless of approach, the group of ten riders (all full-tour riders) assembled in the start hotel near downtown Shanghai for the initial rider meeting. After setting aside time to build bikes, check equipment and do short test rides ahead of time, the group met the morning of the 20th with sun shining through and excitement in the air.
From the start hotel the group rode a short ride through the waking streets of Shanghai heading towards Shanghai’s waterfront promenade, the Bund. Riding through the scattered collection of locals out for a morning walk, the Bamboo riders made for quite a sight clad in layers of colorful spandex. By the time the group arrived to the scenic viewpoint along the Bund a group of onlookers had collected with cameras clicking away. The group attracted so much attention that local security became increasingly nervous and rushed the group’s departure from the park. After months of preparing the ride had officially started! To exit the city all riders formed a convoy with the tour’s two support vehicles ahead and behind. For a city with a population of around 25 million the group was able to easily maneuver around traffic and exit the city stress-free.
After disbanding the group’s convoy outside of the city riders began riding at their own pace and rhythm, navigating along bike paths to the day’s lakeside lunch spot. With a short break all riders were back on the road in small groups on their way to the night’s hotel. By the afternoon all riders had arrived to the end city of Pingwanzhen and then promptly headed off to check in to their hotel rooms, shower and relax after a long day’s ride. To celebrate the first day on tour the group met in one of the hotel’s private dining rooms and had a delicious dinner made up of a variety of local Chinese cuisine, some dishes and ingredients more recognizable than others. After making up for all of the day’s burned calories (and then some), riders stuck around the dining room drinking tea, chatting, and getting to know each other more. All in all, a seamless day of riding out of Shanghai; now on to Singapore!