Explore The Middle Kingdom By Bicycle
Although China is never far from the news, most people know very little of the country beyond megacities the size of European countries, an omni-powerful government, and an ever-expanding middle class.
However, much of this fascinating land could not be further from the image portrayed in Western media. Exploring manageable sized portions of the Middle Kingdom by bicycle will reveal the real China, a fascinating land of diversity with multiple languages, cultures, cuisines, landscapes and nature, and even written scrips.
Our two-week ride through Yunnan Province is a personal favourite as, on beautiful roads often bereft of cars, we explore the nation's most diverse province. From the Tibetan town of Shangri-La, past giant snow-capped peaks and on through one of the worlds deepest gorges we experience many of the provinces 25 ethnic groups - oh, and the food - the world's finest? Probably.
Explore Tibet without the worries of altitude sickness. Western Sichuan is an adventure through small villages and towns on quiet rural roads, often perfectly surfaced, with regular climbs and descents of 40 kilometres duration on gentle gradients. With Himalayan passes as high as 4500 metres we experience all the exhilaration of high passes, and yet each night we sleep considerably lower, which as any mountaineer will tell you, is ideal.
Tibetan Autonomous Region
Culturally and linguistically the Tibetan Autonomous Region is another land. Geographically it has few peers as we cycle through the highest mountains on earth with a backdrop of majestic snow-capped peaks. Camping out most nights on the high Tibetan Plateau this 4-week odyssey is for the hardy adventurer happy to forgo some luxuries in return for what will truly be the journey of a lifetime.
A hidden gem of a cycling destination, Taiwan should be on every cyclist's list of countries to tour. Home to nearly three million people Taipae is a relaxed, orderly, capital that boasts wonderful cycle paths from the heart of the city into the wilderness. Whilst the centre of the country is home to one of the worlds longest and highest single climbs, the coastline offers some wonderfully relaxed riding, on either quiet byways or dedicated cycle lanes. Taiwan is perhaps one of the most overlooked cycling destinations in Asia.
Why visit China with PaintedRoads?
David earned his adventure cycling spurs cycling through Yunnan, Sichuan, and on across the entire country to Beijing, and has led many tours both in Mainland China, Tibet, and Taiwan. David's wife Echo is Chinese, a keen cyclist, a translator (English-Chinese), and regularly accompanies our China tours.
Our in-country partners Cathy and Lee are a husband and wife team and are both passionate cyclists. Laidback Cathy is our certified Chinese tour agent and cycling guide, whilst ever relaxed Lee is an excellent support vehicle driver, a top-class bicycle mechanic, and a highly competent mountain biker.
Our Tours in category "China-Taiwan-Tibet"
A Journey Through The Mountains of Eastern Tibet
Dates: No dates available at this time.
Tibet is an almost fabled land that many long to visit but few do. For most people when thinking of Tibet it is of Lhasa, the Potala Palace, and Everest, the Tibet of the classic Lhasa to Kathmandu ride. This is the Tibet of The Autonomous Region which unfortunately suffers travel restrictions and the need for foreign travel permits, permits that are all too frequently not issued or withheld.
The Tibetan region of Kham in Sichuan Province fortunately suffers no such restrictions and is open for anyone holding a Chinese visa. Having explored the area several times by bike during the first decade of this century it has long been David’s desire to run a tour in Kham. This is a truly Tibetan experience with soaring mountains, hight passes, open pastures and narrow valleys. There are monasteries and monks, yaks and barley, and cowboys on motorbikes. The tour also boasts lower sleeping altitudes, comfortable hotels, and the absolutely wonderful cuisine of Sichuan - Kham offers an excellent opportunity for a cycling adventure in a most exotic land.
Total Days: 16 | Cycling Days: 11 | Difficulty: 9/10 | Daily Average: 86km | See more information, dates & prices »
Cycling From Shangri La
Dates: May 2019 | April 2020
From the Tibetan town of Shangri-La, across a 3700-metre pass, through one of the world's deepest gorges to an unspoilt town from the ancient tea trading route. Onwards across a mountain range leading to one of China's biggest freshwater lakes. And hence to the capital of the Bai minority people, Dali Old Town. This cycling epic offers more of China in two weeks of pedalling that many people would ever imagine existing. Featuring epic landscapes and a real sense of adventure this tour has become, quite rightly, our most popular.
Total Days: 12 | Cycling Days: 9 | Difficulty: 7/10 | Daily Average: 71km | See more information, dates & prices »
Formosa - Cycling The Beautiful Island
Dates: No dates available at this time.
Many years ago whilst cycling alone across China I wondered what China would have been like had the civil war gone the other way and communism had never taken over. I rode and pondered, and then I realised - Taiwan - it is after all to where the Kuomintang fled when they felt they may be less than popular in China.
It took me some time to eventually get to the Beautiful Island - as Taiwan's previous name Formosa translates from Portuguese to English- and once there I was bamboozled as to why Taiwan is not the world’s cycling mecca. If I were to sum it up in a word, I would simply say, wonderful.
Total Days: 11 | Cycling Days: 8 | Difficulty: 6/10 | Daily Average: 75km | See more information, dates & prices »
Lhasa to Kathmandu - Across the Himalayas
Dates: May 2020
Perhaps the ultimate challenge for the adventurous cyclist, this epic high altitude expedition takes us from the fabled Tibetan city of Lhasa, across the roof of the world to the exotic Kathmandu.
Cycling between 4000 and 5200 metres the rarified air is an omnipresent reminder that we are riding through the Himalayas, the highest mountain range on Earth. The terrain we ride through is dramatically barren and breathtakingly beautiful in equal measure. And the backdrop of the majestic white wall of the World’s mightiest peaks is as breathtaking as the altitude.
With two weeks of wilderness camping, long climbs, thin air, harsh sun, and chilly nights beneath canvas, this is not a tour for everyone - but for the adventure seeking hardened cyclist eager to experience a different culture and prepared for the unexpected, this is an adventure of a lifetime.
Total Days: 26 | Cycling Days: 17 | Difficulty: 10/10 | Daily Average: 73km | See more information, dates & prices »