13 July – China (Beijing) – ~40 miles
Placeholder post: busy day already, much more to do.
But in short – made it to Beijing, safe/sound. Absolutely amazing to ride into Ace Cafe and see my sister there with her family.
A more gushing/raving post of details to come tomorrow, with a hangover to help – presumably.
Edit: an attempt at a more complete post. Although – not really sure what else there is to say…
Had a sleep-in, a few final gazes at The Wall, a couple of extra photos, and then a very late-morning group-ride into Beijing. Stinkin’ hot, riding in “formation” – bullying our way through the expressway traffic… to arrive at Ace Cafe Beijing. A little bit misty-eyed, must have been some dust on that expressway, turned in – and saw Angela standing on a grassy knoll, which just made a rather special moment even more so.
Parked up, bottles of “champagne” were handed out… and I couldn’t even get mine open. Bubbly spraying everywhere, and after about 5 minutes of fumbling, with shaky hands, the cork broke off, and I gave up – grabbing a couple of beers instead – letting others spray champagne all over me, us, and the bikes. Some rather sticky/aromatic bike kit at the moment.
Eventually things calmed down, and there were the photos, speeches, presentations, photos, speeches, a birthday cake (??? I believe for the Ace Cafe Beijing itself?), and some food. And some beers.
Then – packing up all our stuff – and goodbye to the bikes. For me – the final goodbye – giving my lovely white lady a few parting hugs. And there was some more dust in the air. Weird.
Bus back to the hotel – a bit of rest, and organising a taxi for Angela’n’co to get to their hotel (after a bit of a typical chinese mix-up with their taxi from Ace Cafe), a quick shower, and then off to Ace Cafe Beijing central-city-edition. For… beers, photos, speeches, food, cigars, and some beers.
Most people had a relatively early night, but a couple of us dedicated ourselves, and continued onwards, to… some beers.
And eventually, in the wee hours of the morning, ignoring a taxi drivers shaking head that he couldn’t take a fare, inserted ourselves into his taxi, and after some false starts, back to the hotel. (Poor fellow thought he could get rid of us by just pulling up to some random other hotel… no such luck. You’re taking us home, laddie, and these 3 laowei ain’t getting out until they recognise the hotel.)