I was in China last summer July and August 2004, what drove me there was an invitation from a friend to come and join him on a motorcycle trip around china, on a chang jiang with side car, chinese version of russian urals. The plan: pretty much improvisation. At first the idea was to rent two chang jiangs, but we came to the conclusion that it would be better to travel on just one, to reduce technical problems, money and physical stress. Every one we talked to told us we were crazy, that this sort of stuff is illegal, that nobody had done, we came to the conclusion that chinese people are not very adventourous, no hard fellings
, and we decided to stick to the plan. What you need to rent a bike in china??? Extremely good negotiations skills and of course a little bit of mandarin. We rented the bike in beijing, the first guy we went to refused to rent the bike to us, because we made the mistake of telling him that we were planning on going all the way down south to guilin. The next shop we went, which was just half a block away, we told the guy that we only wanted the bike to cruise around beijing for a month. Not quite what was in our heads. So after some two hours of negotiating the price and everyhting else, we rode out of the shop on a chinese chang jiang. hehehe. What we did is technically illegal, but nobody had to know, and the guy could use the money. I don't remember exactly how much it costed, but it was less than 300 us dollars for one month.
The trip was amazing!!! ALthough the bike was not a state of the art adventuring bike, it was better than taking the train.
We didn't run into any problems with the authorities, even the cops approached us and seemed absolutely astonished that two foreigners were doing something like that. Only one time we got stopped by the cops and we pretended we didn't speak chinese, and the guy finally gave up and let us go. Whenever you get stopped just pretend you don't understand, and they will rather let you go, that deal with you. We only stayed in back roads, and we went trhough places where no other foreigner had been before. Motorcycles are not allowed in highways, they have pretty good highways by the way.
We did have a lot of mechanical problems, but that is part of the experience. We learned that in china you will never get stuck. Every time we got a flat which was like 10 times in 12 days. there was always somebody to help us. We had mostly electrical problems. mechanically the bike ran good. Although i have to admit we did not returned in the same condition we took it.
The plan was to ride for a month but due to time constraints we only did it for 12 days. In terms of riding distance you will be lucky if you do more than 400 km a day on a bike like that. first it wont go very fast and second some roads are just way out of control.
Every day we woke up we grabbed the map and just pointed to a destination and off we went. we camped and stayed in hotels. china is so cheap that you can treat yourself nicely and save money at the same time. the good thing about riding in a bike like th chang jiang is that locals know them and they know how to fix them and parts are available in big cities.
My friend i did the trip with currently lives in china and owns a chang jiang, and he is travelling there and studying. He currently travel and rents motorcycles with his friends any time he ca
this is his web page
what we did was ILLEGAL but it was worth it