Painted Roads Blog
August 4, 2015 by David Walker

Sri Lanka – A New Tour

cyclists touring Sri Lanka Anuradhapura

Riding the trail through the ancient city of Anuradhapura


That the seven guests starting our inaugural Sri Lanka tour have between them racked up an impressive 19 PaintedRoads tours is, I feel, an auspicious start – they surly must like the way we run an Asian cycling adventure.

The route we have has been carefully devised over several visits to this stunning little island. It provides the touring cyclist with a fine selection of all the gems that make this such a great cycling destination, from the fishing villages of the east coast, to the ancient ruined cities of the north central, up and through the beautiful green tea plantations and colonial architecture of the central hill country, down through the savannah and national parks to the seaside resorts of the south coast, and finally to the wonderful old town of Galle. The hotels have been carefully chosen to add comfort at the end of a fine day’s wheeling through the countryside, with fine rooms and on all evenings bar two a lovely cooling pool. And if you don’t like climbing big hills? No worries, what National Geographic describes as “one of the world’s greatest train journeys is included for those who wish to make there way to the 2000 meter summit of the Hill Country in comfort leaving the rolling down hills to be savoured.

More from the road over the coming couple of weeks, for now a few pics.

Cyclists touring through Sri Lanka PaintedRoads

Sri Lanka’s rural roads are wonderful cycle touring territory

Bicycle touring Sri Lanka's grave back roads

The gravel roads of rural Sri lanka, bereft of traffic, are an ideal way to explore the country

Cyclists taking lunch in Sri Lanka's wilderness

A rural picnic

Sri Lankan architecture as seen from a bicycle on PaintedRoads tour of Sri Lanka

Red tile roofs and white stupas, a typical Sri Lankan scene

The view from Sigiriya Lion Rock

The view from Sigiriya Lion Rock




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June 4, 2015 by David Walker

A street photography trip to Macao

Not at all a cycling related post but having had to dash to Macao for a few days I indulged in another pass time that I enjoy, street photography. I always enjoy the architecture and bygone character of old colonial towns, and Macao was no exception.

I had a lovely time ambling around and enjoying the company of the very pleasant laid back locals. So for now a few snaps of my wanderings around what this wonderful old Portuguese colony.

For those interested in such matters, all images shot with an Olympus OMD-EM1 and Olympus 25mm f1.8 prime lens.

Street photography Macao

Macao is awash with beautiful old streets and crumbling architectur

colorful spiral incense in Chinese temple

These spiralled incense sticks burn in the old Chinese temples

Street photography Macao

Am I the only one to find the vanity of the selfie quite vulgar?

Street photography Macao

Old meets new in the shape of modern boutique shopping on a traditional Portuguese plaza

Street photography Macao

A street scene in central Macao

Macao skyline with cloudy sky

A dramatic view of Macao

A view of Macao's tallest tower

and a more modern view


Old cannon pointing at Macao's Lisboa casino

There seemed a certain irony that Portugal’s old cannons seemed to be aimed at the, erm, dramatic Lisboa casino

blue sky clouds a statue on The Virgin and a church and steeple, Macao

Catholic churches abound across Macao, this one afforded quite wonderful views

Street photography Macao

A view of one of Macao’s many winding streets

Street photography Macao

Old streets, Macao

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May 29, 2015 by David Walker

A few More Photos From Our Yunnan Cycling Tour

a cyclist on the edge of Er Hai lake, Yunnan, China

Journeys End? Er Hai lake towards the end of PaintedRoads tour of Yunnan

portrait of a smiling Chinese man with shiny eyes and brown hat

A visitor one lunch time during our cycling tour of Yunnan

cyclist with grey beard a a pink poodle on his helmet

Rogette the poodle was worn by most of us at one time or another, a reward for certain activities?

lady cyclist at Bai Shuai Tai terraces

A beautiful strt to the day at Baishaitai white water terraces


The distinguished General Arthur

Cyclist in pink rides past a blue Chinese wall with calligraphy

The empty road from Shangri-La to Tiger leaping Gorge, perfect for bicycle touring

cycling around Napa Hai Grasslands

Cycling around Napa Hai grasslands is a wonderful beginning to PaintedRoads China tour


A yellow digger clears the rubble at Shangri-La

Shangri-La is rising from the ashes at an impressive rate. I very much look forward to visiting next year.

portrate of a bright Eyed Chinese Man

This chap was somewhat surprised when when a dozed Western cyclists pulled up outside his house. he enjoyed the encounter though…

Old Chinese Man in Blue Cap

his chum was fascinated by us and intrigued to know how far we intended to cycle – “Shangri-La to Dali? Wow!”


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May 25, 2015 by David Walker

Yunnan Cycling Tour 2015

cyclist in red rides round Er Hai lake near Dali on a Painted Roads tour of Yunnan

A lone cyclists rounds Er Hai lake, Yunnan Province China

Our third Yunnan cycling tour through China’s most diverse province came to an end at the weekend and I feel it safe to say that this beautiful tour goes from strength to strength.

Last year we met the delightful Cathy who is not only a jolly fine bicycle racer but also a wonderful personality and a great agent for cycling tours in China. And so it was that we began this years tour with a new agent, a new guide (Cathy again) support driver and mechanic in the shape of the very fit, mild mannered and omni thirsts Lee (Cathy’s husband) and the ever jolly Mr Yuan driving the second support vehicles and keeping the group fed and watered whilst on the road. Many of you who have toured with PaintedRoads will by now know Echo, and it was Echo along with Cathy who effectively ran the tour taking care of all our accommodation, food and translation needs. Rounding up the final crew members were Frodo the frog and that usual tour leader who seems to tag along on every PaintedRoads tour with little more use than talking gibberish and opening beer bottles.

Now, as you know, PaintedRoads always seems to attract lovely people and our groups are all great fun, but I think it fair to say without fear of contradiction that the Yunnan group of 2015 really was amongst the best. So without further ado a big thanks to all who came along, both guests and crew, for making this such a wonderful fortnight’s cycling. And now for a few photos.

Cyclists on the main square of Shaxi during a Painted Roads Yunnan tour

The group arrives on the main square in Shaxi, the rather splendid venue for our rest day

cyclists on a Painted Roads tour ride through mountains in China's Yunnan province

Cycling south away from Shangri-La the deserted road and stunning mountain scenery offers wonderful bicycle touring

A Chinese man sits near cyclists during a bicycle tour of Yunnan Province

Stopping for a pic-nic lunch as we cycled from Shangri-La towards Tiger Leaping Gorger we befriended a few locals

Cyclists on rural Chinese road under blue sky and white cloud during Painted Roads tour of Yunnan

Beautiful weather accompanied us all the way as we cycled through Yunnan

Our cycling guides great our ferry across Er Hai lake during Painted Roads Yunnan tour

Echo and Cathy guide the cross lake ferry to our rather rural mooring place

cyclists in red dance by Er Hai Lake  during a Yunnan cycling holiday

Despite appearances to the contrary these two home sick cyclists were indulging in a quick nostalgic morris dance

early morning on The Yangtze River

The Yangtze river all silver and grey in the morning light

Landy cyclist looks out over the plain below as we cycle downhill in Yunnan Province China

Admiring the view of the plain far below as we cyle the 23 kilometre downhill to Tiger leaping Gorge

Our in country agent and bicycle racer Cathy was a hit with the group and with PaintedRoads' mascot Frodo

Our in country agent and bicycle racer Cathy was a hit with the group and with PaintedRoads’ mascot Frodo












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May 17, 2015 by David Walker

Photos from the road – Cycling Yunnan

girl sitting in water at Baisuhaitai hot spring

Day two away from Shangri-La and we visit Baishuaitai white water terraces – much like rice terraces, only more water and lime stone involved = very nice

Recipe: great group + great route + great weather + great food, and of course some post ride beers = a thoroughly splendid tour. And that, as fine providence has it, is exactly what we have in China just now.

A group of 13 friends, both old and new have gelled wonderfully into a top-hole bunch of adventurous cyclist having a smashing time exploring the mountains, hills, gorges and valleys of China’s most diverse province.

So without further ado, a few pics from the tour thus far:

three people walking on white lime rock beneath  blue sky and white cloud

Blue sky and white cloud fill the sky for our climb to the white water terraces

cyclists touring Yunnan ride past mountains rock face

A group of touring cyclists ride through deep valley during a PaintedRoads tour of China’s Yunnan Province

Chinese girl in red short drinks beer during cycling tour

Enjoying post ride beers at Sean’s Guest House in Tiger Leaping Gorge

Cyclists in red ride through Yunnan's Tiger Leaping Gorge

Distant cyclists carve their way through the curves of the stunning Tiger Leaping Gorge

Lone cyclitst in red on quiet rural lane in Yunnan Chine

Leaving Tiger leaping Gorge we head into an altogether different region of Yunnan Province, with a more agricultural feel


two cyclists in red China tour tee shirts watch a boat on the Yangtze

Towards the end of the days ride we cross the First bend Of The Yangtze by ferry

Bicycle touring group in red tee shirts Yunnan Province China

The group celebrate fine cycling


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