It is the middle week of March as I write, and this means that the yellow rapeseed flowers which first put Wuyuan on the modern tourist map are in full bloom. A warm sun is shining on my back, bees buzz their busy little buzzy way about their work and after a winter of cold toes and soggy clothes, our fleet of bicycles has been back out on the road.
WHIZZING ABOUT ON MY GIANT TCR
Wuyuan is a fantastic, if little known place for a cycling holiday. Most people bring them in a bike bag on the train (slide it behind the back seats of the carriage) and some groups will book a tuolala 拖啦啦 van to send a bunch down. Ed is an enthusiastic if low-performance cyclist. I used to run and be all fit and trendy (honest) but then my knees packed in, I had kids, and live in a place with unlimited beer and cake where I have no boss to answer to. As long as I can summon my charming patter about old buildings and countryside life on demand, the guests don’t seem to mind if I sit and have a beer with them at the bar.
My identity as a ‘dad’ beyond listening to dire straits, beer belly and cutting the lawn extends to what we in London call a ‘MAMIL’ – middle-aged-man-in-lycra. Its become a love of mine to charge around on the hills of beautiful Wuyuan trying to stay in shape. I’ve been at it for a few years, and now I know these hills better than anyone. Family, government and villagers alike are frequently fascinated with my intimate knowledge and interest of winding mountain road and windswept hill sides. Give the party credit where it is due: they are fantastic at getting good quality roads out to tiny parts of the countryside where 10 people live by themselves in a tiny village. No-one goes to these places, especially cars. This is the cyclists dream. New, smooth roads under clear skies with no cars and trucks whizzing past. Recently, the flowers have made this even more splendid.
To anyone thinking about if its worth updating to a fancy bike – I dropped 5k on a fancy Giant TCR road bike and its been a life changer. You can go quicker, further, up steeper hills. You just need the silly shorts to make it comfy on longer rides…
THE NEXT GENERATION
Part of being a cycling dad is that you want to take your kids with you to explore the great places you’ve found. A bike with a child seat is again, a must buy if you like in the countryside. We’ve made a little video below fo our latest jaunt with young Peter Gawne (our son) to look at the yellow flowers. VPNs on.