As has become our want following a China tour, Echo and I opted for a few days with our China tour partners Cath and Lee in Kunming, the capital of Yunnan Province.
A city of some six million people, Kunming has earned the rather apt moniker of The Eternal Spring City. Just a few degrees north of the Tropic of Cancer and perched in the hills at a lofty 1800 metres the weather in Kunming retains an agreeable climate mostly year round, that is, spring-like and splendid.
Providence, or good planning, has it that Cathy and Lee live on the western edge of the city beneath Xi Shan, the West Mountain, a veritable garden of Eden for the eager mountain biker, and, I dare to say, even more fun on a gravel bike.
Before reaching the multi-surfaced playground up above the city through a warm-up awaits in the form of a character building 400-meter ascent, a fine workout that leaves a chap either knackered, or ready and eager to for the byways, tracks, and trails that abound.
Our most recent visit followed the inaugural South China tour and was also the first proper shakedown ride for my newest bike, a Kinesis ATR VII, the successor to the brilliant and highly acclaimed Version 1 of the early pretender to the crown of gravel bike king. This new bike has already plodded around some trails in the UK, and has earned its wings as a tour-leading rig on the South China tour, but the variety of surfaces, climbs, descents, sealed country lanes, gravel trails, rocky climbs, single track, and rooted descents, all in the company of the young, lean, muscular, and somewhat fit Lee really put the machine (and it’s raging pilot) through its paces.
More of the bike and it's built shortly, for now though some photos from above Kunming.