Southwest China

Southwest China deserves to be near the top of any adventure cyclist’s must-ride list. The last 3 weeks biking Yunnan province have been some of the best in recent years. Yunnan is a place of empty spaces, pristine natural beauty and a colorful mix of ethnic groups.


Southwest China If your image of China congested is packed and polluted cities and a frenetic pace of life, think again. This part of China bears no resemblance to the country’s densely populated eastern seaboard..

Sure, you can still find modern cities and a few glitzy shopping malls in Yunnan. But roll out to the rural areas and it’s a mammoth step back in time. Markets are the best place to soak in the atmosphere. Everything imaginable is for sale. There are insects and snakes and odd pickled vegetables, live chickens and goats and whole sections devoted to the sale of loudly squealing pigs. Just being part of all the hub-bub is exciting.

Old women doubled over under the weight of enormous loads elbow their way through the crowd. Men slash chickens’ necks in a mechanical fashion and toss them aside to be boiled up for waiting customers. Whole pigs and cows are sawed and hacked into individual portions across from the lady hawking eggplant and cauliflower. Families from outlying villages roll into town on heavily-laden motorcycles ready to trade their harvest for life’s necessities.

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