I’ve managed a few rides around the rain this week. Some roads are improved, I’m happy to see, while others are not. With so much traffic I’m sure it’s hard to keep up.
You have to watch those water-filled pot holes. I rode into one in low light and I’m lucky it wasn’t deeper than it was. That wasn’t the cause of any of my three flats, though. I still haven’t figured out what’s causing those. I brought back some old Tuffy’s tire liners and they don’t seem to have helped, in fact, they could even be causing a problem (too much wear), but not the whole problem.
Today I managed to get just a little lost when I decided to take a good-looking country road rather than the highway because it was going the direction I wanted to go. I have ridden the area before and I thought it would eventually connect with another more major road. I knew there was a possibility that it wouldn’t though, and sure enough, it eventually dead-ended in a village.
You would think I’d learn. Sometimes they do go through, but I definitely wasn’t opting for taking mud roads out this time. The Venetians have nothing on Chinese villages when it comes to confusing invaders. Venice was designed so that an invading army could enter, but not find their way back out. I feel a little like that every time, though these villages are much smaller. Sometimes people understand my predicament and tell me with hand gestures how to get back out. They are always astonished to see me.
I would never get to see this slice of rural life without getting lost. Students and others often express surprise that we would want to teach in Zhoukou. They consider it to be a backwater (only several million inhabitants) and can’t imagine why we are not in a metropolis like Shanghai, or at least a larger, more prestigious city like Xingyang or Wuhan.
I tell them I like to be able to ride out of the city in as little as ten minutes to tour through the countryside in what is probably the most ancient part of China. I also like seeing how people used to live, in a way that’s no longer found in larger cities. Getting lost in it has never really been a real problem.