Bucko

Adventurer, Writer, Web Developer

Buck has been riding motorcycles since 2008 when he took his first bike "Vera", a H-D Sportster 1200XL, on a two week trip with his dad to Florida. Buck now lives, works, and rides in Beijing, China, commuting everyday through what is known to be the city with the worst traffic in the world. From July to December, Buck rode a CFMoto 650TR through all 33 provinces in China, breaking the Guinness World Record for longest motorcycle journey in a single country.

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Training for the 24 Hour Cycling Challenge

A couple of months in to the training for our 24hr cycle challenge, these are some tips and tricks we’re using to help us prepare to ride 200 miles (300km) in a day. With the help of some advice from a more experienced cyclist, we’ve put together a system that has helped us see real improvement in a short period of time, even without there being much of a cycling community in Beijing. The training has also not just been a great source of exercise, but it’s also been a fantastic way to explore more of the city and its outskirts!
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24-hour Cycle Challenge: Beijing to the End of the Great Wall

London to Paris, Seattle to Portland, Seattle to Vancouver… these are all iconic endurance cycling challenges that get thousands of participants taking part in them from all over the world every year. While looking for a manageable adventure closer to home, I thought, why not try the same in Beijing. Read about our newest challenge- cycling the 200 miles/300km between two of China’s most iconic sights, The Forbidden City in Beijing to the Eastern Terminus of The Great Wall, in 24 hours.
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Why I Ride (and Hike and Bike)

What do adventure motorcycling, long distance hiking, and endurance cycling all have in common? More importantly, what inspires people to put themselves out there and challenge themselves in new ways? This is a post about what might drive someone to a life of adventure, to take risks, and to push themselves in ways they wouldn’t have expected they were capable of!
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A UK Road Trip – Cornwall by Motorcycle

You don’t always need a months long trip in order to have an adventure, to explore new places, and enjoy spectacular scenery. All it really takes to enjoy a “micro-adventure” is an opportunity to get away from behind your desk, the desire to explore, and a lack of cellphone reception! For the end of July, Amy and I were visiting with her family back in the UK, with a few days free we figured it would be nice to get out and see some more of the country. We ended up finding a motorcycle rental company not too far away and emailed to reserve a bike to take out for a few days and take a tour of the southern tip of England in Cornwall. This turned out to be an incredible way to visit the countryside (should there have been any doubt?) particularly during the high tourist season as
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The New Sportster 1200T – Acknowledgement The Sportster Can Be More Than Just A City Bike

One of the posts that we get a lot of searches landing people here at Rubber on Road is one I wrote way back in 2010 about taking a Sportster on long haul trips. We’ve gotten a lot of great comments over the years on that post from other Sportster enthusiasts voicing their agreement and sharing some stories of their own tours on Sportsters. With the right aftermarket customizations, such as a wider seat, windscreen, highway pegs, saddle bags, and a luggage rack, coupled with some of the features on later models that include the rubber mounted engine (to reduce vibrations) and the 4.5 gallon tank, the Sportster can make a great touring bike. The lighter build makes it very nimble which is great for taking it through the Tail of the Dragon or weaving through city traffic on your commute. Introducing The New Sportster Superlow 1200T Well it looks
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The Great Ride of China Video Teaser Just Released!

Well there was a lot of footage to go through after nearly 5 months on the road (we were carrying a total of about 1.3TB of data by the end, both photos and video), but we finally managed to put together a teaser/sizzle reel from all of it. Below you can see our quick 5 minute intro to The Great Ride of China, some of the challenges we faced and amazing things we saw. We hope you enjoy the video and that it succeeds in bringing you a bit closer to the amazing adventure that we had while on The Great Ride of China! If you have any problems viewing the above video, you can also watch the trailer on Vimeo or Youku.
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The Great Ride of China Recognized By Guinness World Records

Guinness has officially recognized Amy and my motorcycle ride around China for being the longest continuous motorcycle ride in a single country! We just found out a few days ago and have shared the news on our dedicated trip website over at The Great Ride of China. Here’s the quote from Guinness’ website: The longest journey by motorcycle in a single country is 33,357.15 km (20,727.13 miles) and was achieved by Buck Perley (USA) and Amy Mathieson (UK) who rode throughout China from 19 July to 11 December 2013. The duo’s journey took 146 days and took them through all of China’s provinces. The motorcycle used was a Chinese CFMOTO CF650-TR.
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Getting Close To The World Record On The Great Ride Of China

So it’s been quite a while since I’ve posted any updates here from my current trip, The Great Ride of China. For those who haven’t been following along, my girlfriend Amy and I are riding our CFMoto 650TR (I the driver and Amy the navigator) through every province in China in an attempt to break the world record for longest motorcycle trip within a single country. It’s been quite an adventure so far. We’ve gotten caught in a sandstorm at the 3rd lowest point on earth (or first or second depending on who you ask), ridden our bike through snowstorms and up to Everest Base Camp, visited the largest stone Buddha in the world, taken a trek up a sand dune, eaten pig brains and much more! Just earlier this week we passed our original goal which was to ride 25,000km or a little over 15,000 miles. A few months
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From the Perfecto to Prêt-à-Porter

Two-wheeled enthusiast Morgan Sansotta blogs on behalf of Jafrum.com. She owns half a dozen leather jackets. None of them are a Perfecto. It’s a legend. And it all started with a cigar. 1928 was the year, Irving Schott the man and the product — the world’s first leather motorcycle jacket. The Schott brothers dubbed this particular cut of rugged outerwear “The Perfecto” in homage to their favorite stogie. Previously relegated to outfitting New Yorkers with raincoats (made in their basement and peddled door-to-door) they gained notoriety for being the first to incorporate a zipper on a jacket. Pretty revolutionary stuff. Soon the U.S. Air Force would be knocking on their door. Tapped by the military at the outbreak of WWII, the world would soon be introduced to Schott’s “bomber jacket”. The leather staple wasn’t their only contribution to the men overseas. They also designed the classic wool pea coat favored
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10,000km On The Great Ride of China Already??

Hi Everyone! It’s been a busy few weeks since the last update on The Great Ride of China, but we’ve finally found a few days to rest and catch up on everything. It’s been quite a while now since the last update on our ride here on mychinamoto but a lot has happened since the last update which left us at Xi’an. We’ve now ridden through 11 provinces (1/3 of the way done!) and have passed 10,000km. We are currently in Xinjiang province, at our most western point in Kashgar. We visited the western end of the Great Wall in Jiayuguan Hiked the sand dunes in Dunhuang and visited the ancient Buddha grottoes (Some beautiful desert roads on the approach to the city) We went to one of the lowest points in earth in the Turpan Depression getting stuck in a massive sandstorm while visiting the monument at Aiding Lake
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Progress Report on The Great Ride of China

Hello readers! I just wanted to give an update on the motorcycle trip I’ve been on with my girlfriend for the past 3 weeks now. We’ve now covered over 6,000km (about 4k miles) and now passed through 8 out of 33 (or 34 depending on if we go to Taiwan) provincial level regions. So far since starting, we’ve made our way north west towards the North Korean border and then up to Harbin to enjoy some of the Russian influenced architecture. We then moved on, taking a re-route from our original plan and moved north towards the Russian border in a town called Manzhouli. We hit some rough roads through Heilongjiang province with construction, rain, mud, and pot holes. The Mongolian border also had some rough roads, but after about 20km of straight construction site the roads got considerably better. In fact, the roads through Inner Mongolia have easily been
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Announcing The Great Ride of China!

It’s been a while now again since I last posted anything here. The last post I published gave a very obvious hint as to why that might be. For the past 5 months I have been busy preparing for a long distance motorcycle trip around China. I had intended to write updates on the preparation my girlfriend Amy and I were doing, but unfortunately, the last couple months leading up to the trip have become increasingly busy. Making The Official Announcement Well after all this work and finally clearing the last major hurdle to us starting on the trip just over a week before our planned departure date, I am happy to be able to formally announce The Great Ride of China! On July 18th, my girlfriend Amy and I will be departing on a 4 month, 25,000km motorcycle ride around China where we intend to drive through every province
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The Long Haul- Preparing for a Long Distance Motorcycle Adventure

When you’re getting ready for a really long distance trip by motorcycle, on the one hand you want to make sure you prepare as much as possible. On the other though, part of the fun of it all is dealing with the unexpected and just sort of “playing it by ear”. Well it’s been a while since my 2 month circumnavigation of the U.S. in 2010 and I’m ready to hit the road again. I don’t really want to say this is the formal announcement of the trip yet since there are a lot of variables still in play, but I thought it would be useful to document the process of preparing for a mentally and physically taxing long distance motorcycle ride. This will be the first in a series following the steps I’ll be taking to prepare for the next motorcycle adventure. A Little Background The Plan: To motorcycle
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Getting Some Ride Ideas For The UK

Got another infographic to share, this one’s interactive and though originally for cars could still definitely have some good ideas for bikes. I’ve unfortunately never had the opportunity to ride around the UK myself, but it’s definitely on the bucket list. The Long Way Down/Round gave a really nice, though brief glimpse into some of the roads there, particularly in the North, that first got me interested. I also think it would be great to ride Britain on a british bike. Maybe some day I’ll be able to find a classic Triumph and try out some of these rides. Check ’em out below! (Click on the image to get the interactive features including Google Maps and video)
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How To Convince Your Significant Other To Let You Buy A Motorcycle (Infographic)

Just starting a family? Too old? Too young? Don’t need another vehicle in the household? Whatever reason you’re told it’s a bad idea, sometimes you find yourself needing to explain that inexplicable urge to ride on two wheels. Here’s an entertaining infographic from Revzilla offering up some strategies for how to convince that special someone in your life to let you have a motorcycle (though sometimes you may just have to explain that they have no choice but to let you).
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Motorcycle Trip From Beijing to Shanghai Featured in China Motorcycle Magazine

The most recent story of my 12 day ride from Beijing to Shanghai and back has been picked up by China Motor Magazine, the only English language motorcycle magazine in China and the premier source for news related to the motorcycle industry in China, the world’s largest market for motorcycles. They will be printing my story as a monthly column, with each leg of the trip being printed in each month’s article. The first article covers some of the prep and the first day of the trip. The magazine has a digital version that you can get off of their website here. It is behind a pay wall but only costs $4.50 for the full 90+ page issue. The article for my trip however can be viewed for free on their site here.
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An Accident, My Battery, And The No. 1 Motorcycle Club of Zoucheng

Hitting Bottom on Day 11- Second To Last Day of The Trip I think there comes a time for many ex-pats living in China, particularly those that don’t live in first tier cities like Beijing or Shanghai, where you sort of hit a psychological bottom and just want out. This usually happens as a result of being surrounded by a different culture, language, food, etc. from what you’re comfortable with from back home. With nearly two years and only 1 two week holiday back home though, I’ve been generally content with life in China. Today however, I think I finally felt like I had had enough. The weather didn’t help much either as last night a dense cloud of pollution had descended upon the east coast of China. The road today (mainly G104) was under heavy construction too, so in addition to all the pollution, everything was covered in dust
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Day 10- My Battery Exploded and It Smells Like Rotten Egg

Since I was a little behind schedule from the day before, I tried to get an early start today (which I more or less succeeded in doing). When I asked about breakfast at the front desk of the Hanting, the guy brought me outside and around the corner to a little hole in the wall where there was porridge, egg, steamed buns, and dumplings. The lady the night before said it was western style, but for 8 RMB ($1.25), I can’t really complain. Enter Nanjing I found myself going through Nanjing today as my route got somewhat adjusted due to my missed target the day before. Seeing as how I had food poisoning the last time I was in the city a few days earlier, I took the time to do some more site seeing, and despite putting me two hours behind schedule, I’m glad I did! Nanjing is a
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Day 9- The Road Back To Beijing And The Most Expensive Giant Buddha in China

It turns out there were some growing pains I needed to go through with my Chinese turn by turn GPS direction apps. Though I think that by the end of the day I got everything working quite smoothly it wasn’t so easy the whole day. My final goal (originally, but more on that later) for today was to reach 扬州 (Yangzhou) a city just across the Yangtze, but before I headed there, I wanted to go through a city called 无锡 (Wuxi) that was supposed to have some nice tourist attractions and it was pretty much on the way. Luckily, I was able to get on the expressway leaving Shanghai (normally motorcycles aren’t allowed on but I assume Shanghai is similar to Beijing as they aren’t as strict about it), but then, nearly two thirds of the way to Wuxi, my GPS was telling me in Chinese in my headphones
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U-Turn Back To Beijing

A quick summary of the few days off from the motorcycle: Said hi to Amy’s dad and took the dog for a walk Enjoyed a lovely fancy duck dinner on the Bund in Shanghai Took the high speed train from Shanghai to Nanjing (but went to the wrong train station so had to change tickets) Arrived in Nanjing, dropped off bags at the hotel, and had lunch Went to visit a Confucius temple that was celebrating his two thousandth something birthday. It was really crowded Walked along the old city wall (longest and biggest in China/the world) Had drinks and dinner at the Sheraton hotel and then soon after got food poisoning. Changed hotels to the Westin and then spent my last 24 hours in Nanjing sick in bed Next day, good as new, breakfast then train to Suzhou, visited the “Humble Administrator’s” garden and Tiger Hill and then back
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Motorcycle Infographic- How Dangerous Are Motorcycles?

Since we’ve been on a bit of a safety theme lately (here and here), I thought this interesting infographic would be a nice addition to the discussion. For me this was always an interesting thought experiment: are motorcycle accident statistics generally worse than those for cars because of the nature of riding a motorcycle or is it because of the type of people that ride them (adrenaline junkies, thrill seekers, etc.). I think there is an argument to be made for the latter particularly when you look at some of the statistics below, such as accidents caused by alcohol and speeding (taking more risks) skewed toward biking accidents. Of course, I’m not surprised that when you actually do get in an accident on a bike it is more dangerous. However I feel that given proper riding techniques and best practices, in some ways a bike can be safer because of
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Days 3 & 4 To Shanghai: Weddings and Bridges and Fireworks Oh My!

The National Holidays in China are a very popular time for holding marriage ceremonies around the country. Apparently this is because it’s a time when everyone is home for the holidays and so they can gather the whole family together to celebrate. We found this was the case last year when we traveled to Qingdao; as there were several van-fulls of matrimonial couples dressed up in what were most likely rented outfits from the photography company lining up to take pictures in front of the big church in Qingdao (left over from the European concessions in the area). This time around was no different as we passed maybe a dozen wedding processions on the road. The way this typically works is you have a train of about 5 cars, usually either black Audis or red Fords, with ribbons tied all over them and their license plates covered in red Chinese
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Day 2 to Shanghai- Back On The Provincial Roads

Slower but a little more hectic today as we are now relegated to the smaller provincial roads. It is a little slower going but definitely more interesting as we pass through the different towns, not to mention the people at gas stations and lunch spots are a little more chatty. We were on a couple of roads today that I really enjoyed, with interesting scenery as we passed over small hills and drove through long sweeping turns. So for anyone who happens to be in the area of Lin Yi (临沂) in Shandong Province, check out routes S277 and G307. Otherwise, not too much else to report. The weather has been nice and there are definitely signs of autumn showing, particularly with all the farmers laying their corn to dry on the sides of the roads. We finished up the day today in a nice, clean (it is possible in
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The Road To Shanghai Day One- Reflections on an Expressway

Reporting in from smoggy Zibo! Extremely clear day leaving Beijing today, something unusual for the typically polluted city, but apparently the local officials here in Zibo didn’t get the memo, because as soon as we entered the city limits, we immediately noticed the heavy smog through which the setting sun was filtering through. One of the things I typically do in my “alone” time in my helmet when on trips in China is make comparisons with experiences from back home. Given that this was my first time covering any sort of long distance on the Chinese expressway, I spent a good part of my day thinking about the parallels with the interstate system back home in the US, which is now the only country with a larger and more developed expressway system then China. No Motorcycles Allowed This is certainly the most obvious comparison but is definitely worth mentioning: bikes
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The Long Road Down From Beijing to Shanghai

Well it’s Autumn in China again and that means it’s time for another road trip! Last year for the 1 week long National Day holiday in China, Amy and I rode my 250cc Jincheng motorcycle from Beijing to Qingdao with a stop over in another Chinese seaside city, Yantai. This year however, with my recently acquired second hand Honda Shadow, we’ll be doubling that distance for our longest trip in China yet, 1,200+km (2400km round trip) from Beijing to Shanghai! I spent the past week going through all the necessary bike prep steps to make sure it was ready for the road. This was particularly important to me since I bought it second hand from a local guy and wanted to make sure it was fully ready for the journey. Turns out… it wasn’t. After going to three different mechanics this week for all the various jobs I needed doing,
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The Driving License Test: Some Insight Into Poor Chinese Driving Habits

Now, this is by no means scientific, just simply a theory I’m putting forward based on observations I made recently while applying to get my American motorcycle/car license converted to a Chinese one. For those who are not familiar with the chaos that is driving on Chinese roads, check out our post from a few months ago, The Illustrated Rules of the Road When Driving in China, and for those of you who do know, it’s quite an entertaining little cartoon to read regardless :). Below I go through some of the points that really stuck out for me as I went through the license application process. I’ll let the reader form his/her own conclusions (which we’d love to hear in the comments below!). The Health Check-up Basically, the whole process for getting a license is all a little convoluted, at least the parts I went through (I only had
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H-D Infographic: Over 100 Years of Motorcycle Greatness

Here’s a cool infographic I recently came upon at MotorcycleInsurance.com tracing the 100 year history of Harley Davidson.
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Sturgis 2012 and the S.D. Badlands

The following is a post from occasional contributing writer at Rubber on Road, William “Cryovac” Perley describing his first trip for the annual Sturgis bike rally. 1 2012 was the year of the 72nd annual motorcycle rally in Sturgis, S.D. The first rally was on August 14th 1938. If my math is correct two years are missing. Maybe the rally was cancelled a couple of times during WWII. Somebody probably knows the answer to this. Anyway, I made it out there from NYC for the August 5 – 11 Rally this year. I had missed going for two previous summers for one reason or another. At age 69 I was determined to get there before my teeth fell out. Made it back with teeth still intact. Began the ride out at 7am on Tuesday, August 2nd with Mike Handy a friend and fellow member and officer of the NYC HOG
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Twisty Mountain Roads in North Beijing- The Huairou Loop (Video)

View Larger Map I recently stumbled across a fantastic road just north of Beijing that makes for a great weekend ride. It was about 250km round trip, takes you by some beautiful and less visited sections of the Great Wall, and then has a very long section of winding mountain roads. I found this ride through an iPhone app Greatest Road which allows users to share routes that they’ve ridden using google maps giving other users the option to rate the roads (we’ve written about this app in the past on our list of useful motorcycle smartphone apps article). There’s not much in the Beijing area but there were still a few good ones, including this particular one posted by Iceman1000. Rather than describe the route in this post, I thought I’d share the video footage (and some photos) that we took while on the road. First off let me
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Four Things to Keep in Mind Before Going on a Motorbike Trip

Motorbike trips and tours can be amazing experiences that take people places they’ve never been before and let them experience incredible new things. However, in order to make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible, a lot of planning must take place before hand. Some people underestimate the amount of planning needed, and those going on a trip for the first time might not know how to make a plan to begin with. Therefore, here are some things to keep in mind before you take off on a motorcycle trip – from checking your motorcycle to understanding what to expect. Is your bike up for the task? While it’s true that people can take a motorcycle trip on any bike, there are certainly some bikes that are more suited for long distance than others. Taking a look a realistic look at your motorcycle and determining if it’s up for the
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New York New York- Quick Motorcycle Tour of the State

View Larger Map Have you ever taken ride on your motorcycle down a road where each exit, gas station, and rest stop is like going through a flip book of your life? Where each page is a memory of a specific event, ride, or vacation? That’s how I feel about rt. 17 (aka “Future 86”) which runs through Western NY. I never totally realized it before, but there has been a lot happen to me and my family over the years all along that highway, and so it seemed to be a great way to spend my first road trip back in the U.S. in over a year and a half. For those who haven’t been reading, I’ve been living (and riding) in China since December 2010. It was my first time back home in a long time and it was a treat to be riding on American pavement again
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The Illustrated Rules of the Road When Driving in China

This incredibly entertaining and accurate write-up was passed along to me by a friend also living in China. Unfortunately, we haven’t yet identified the original author, but I’ll be sure to provide an update when we do. In the meantime, please enjoy this walkthrough of a typical crossing at an intersection in China. And if you have any of your own experiences where you can relate to this, please share in the comments below! UPDATE: Original author found. Took less than 12 hours to find the original, five year old post that this originated from. Incredible what the internet can uncover. I think the best part is is that despite how quickly China has been developing, this pre-olympic illustration still rings true for a lot of us. Enjoy the post, originally from So I’m Going to China by Henry B. The Basics of Driving in China: A Walkthrough The following
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Harley and Honda at The Beijing Autoshow

Asia’s biggest auto show in the world’s fastest growing and biggest auto market – Beijing, China. Though the focus was obviously on cars (for some Chinese news organizations though it was the models, including one wearing a diamond dress) there were some motorcycle companies displaying at the show. Interesting actually to compare this with the actual motorcycle show they had in Beijing last year (read our post on the first China Motorcycle and Parts Exhibition), which was not nearly as impressive. Here are some pics from the Autoshow this year including the motorcycle displays:
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The Importance of Buying a New Helmet

To wear a helmet or not to wear a helmet, is that the question? Regardless, the answer should be pretty obvious. Though many, especially here in China both locals and expats, seem to think this is an optional, not-so-fashionable accessory, your helmet should be much more than a side consideration when you’re going out for a ride. A motorcycle helmet is arguably the most essential and important piece of safety gear you need when you go out on a motorcycle. Many riders tend to underestimate its importance, and either don’t bother to wear one, or buy one that is second hand or not in particularly good condition. Hey, as long as the cops won’t bother you now, saving a few bucks won’t kill you right! It should go without saying that an injury to the head could easily be fatal, at which point, no matter how good of an insurance
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Ryan Pyle’s Guinness World Record Trip Around China

I came upon this story recently through my oft-overlooked University Alumni e-newsletter from University of Toronto. The reason it caught my eye was the subject: “Documenting China – An Alumni Speaker Series Event”. So I opened up the email to see what this was all about, and it turns out that a fellow alum, Ryan Pyle (HBA 2001, New College) had very recently toured around the entirety of China with his brother Colin, in an adventure that they called the Middle Kingdom Ride. The ride was not only record setting for the longest motorcycle ride in a single country at 18,000km, but they also filmed the whole trip and plan on releasing the feature length documentary later this year. Ryan first came to China after graduation in 2001 and, as with many that come to visit China, he became hooked from that point forward. Ryan started off his career freelancing
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Day 5- Out of the Wilderness and Back Home to Beijing

What a last day! Major historical landmark, getting minorly ripped off, 300km of country road, stretches of highway with potholes as big as my tire, gale force wind, and an accident with a local. What more could one ask for on the ride back home! Amy and I woke up bright and early to try and visit the Head of the Dragon, 老龙头, where the Great Wall meets the ocean before trying to make it the 300km all the way back home. After eating breakfast at the hotel and checking out, we drove to the edge of town to where we had to pay the entrance for the park where the wall was. The ticket prices said 100 but we knew our friends had paid “only” 80 which included a not-so-worth-it 10 minute boat ride out to sea for a view of the wall. We told them this and said
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Day 3 and 4- Enjoying The Sights By The Sea

Well it looked like my dehydration from traveling mixed with the baijiu and beer enjoyment from the night before left me severely incapacitated the next day. While I was in bed recovering, the rest of the group went out to explore the beaches, even renting a boat to take them out to sea a bit. By the afternoon I had recovered enough to meet up for lunch before the four in the car would be heading back home to Beijing. Amy and I took the rest of the day to walk around the nearly entirely abandoned resort town, enjoying some local fish for dinner before heading to bed in order to get an early start in the morning. The next day we were able to pick up some street food for breakfast, guan bing (a type of pancake with egg, lettuce, some potato, and sauce) and you tiao (油条- oil
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Day 3 and 4- Enjoying The Sights By The Sea

Well it looked like my dehydration from traveling mixed with the baijiu and beer enjoyment from the night before left me severely incapacitated the next day. While I was in bed recovering, the rest of the group went out to explore the beaches, even renting a boat to take them out to sea a bit. By the afternoon I had recovered enough to meet up for lunch before the four in the car would be heading back home to Beijing. Amy and I took the rest of the day to walk around the nearly entirely abandoned resort town, enjoying some local fish for dinner before heading to bed in order to get an early start in the morning. The next day we were able to pick up some street food for breakfast, guan bing (a type of pancake with egg, lettuce, some potato, and sauce) and you tiao (油条- oil
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Day 2- 100 Year Old Dumplings and a Seaside Ghost Town

China Traveler’s Tip: Always check your bill from your restaurant and hotels. As we were checking out this morning, the front desk/cleaning staff tried to tack on extra charges, claiming that we had used one of the for-pay packaged extras in the room. As soon as we double checked and then started kicking up a fuss though, they quickly said it didn’t matter and let us be on our way. This wasn’t the first time that this had happened when traveling in China unfortunately. We were back on the road a little later than we would have liked but made pretty good time getting to Changli where my co-worker Cindy was going to meet us. Changli was a very typical Chinese city- very crowded, busy, and congested but nice enough with a big scenic mountain in the backdrop. It certainly didn’t have the eerie feel that Tangshan from the night
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Day One- A Night at the “Simple Love Fashion Guesthouse” Anyone?

Tangshan is pretty pretty odd town (or is this a city? It’s hard to tell in China). It seems like it’s relatively new, with the city center spotted with tall buildings that don’t quite feel as if they’re quite occupied yet. The area is covered in Neon lights which is not as inviting as it might sound. The range of available accommodations for the night range from state mining companies’ official hotels (very high-end) to spas that come included with a room, hot springs, and a magic show and finally, if it suits you there are “rest accommodations” available or 休息馆 in Chinese (a Chinese category of hotel I had never heard of before, one of which was the inspiration for the title of this post) that conveniently offer hourly rate options. Unfortunately for us there wasn’t much left available in between so we settled for the best option that
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Back on the Road: Visiting Where The Great Wall Meets the Ocean

It has been a while since my last long distance trip in the Chinese countryside (the daily commute to work doesn’t count). But now the weather is starting to warm up, the Beijing spring time sandstorm winds are clearing out the pollution, and it’s just about time to hit the road again. It’s a national holiday in China this upcoming week, Qing Ming Jie or Tomb Sweeping Holiday, which gives us the opportunity for Amy and I now to not just sweep some tombs but also have a few days off to go on a trip. So what better way to spend the time heading to the coast! Our tentative itinerary at the moment goes something like this: Tang Shan Village or 唐山市 This is really an intermediate stop to help break up the trip a bit. It’s always hard to get an early start on the first day of
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Cold Weather Motorcycle Riding

It’s not necessarily easy, but cold weather, winter riding is definitely doable. Though much of the U.S. has been experiencing somewhat of an Indian Summer, Beijing has still been pretty cold this winter, as low as 5 degrees Farenheit (-15C), however that hasn’t stopped me from commuting daily on my Jincheng JC250-6! The single biggest danger when riding in the winter is probably black ice, which is an ice patch that blends in with the color of the pavement and thus you have no idea what’s coming when you hit it. Luckily for me though Beijing has been almost entirely devoid of moisture and so the bitter cold and harsh winds have been the only challenges I’ve had to contend with. To get a good breakdown of tips for winter riding, I highly recommend reading book Proficient Motorcycling: The Guide to Riding Well by David L. Hough. This is a
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Pollution in China and What it Means for Your Commute

The pollution in China, particularly in Beijing, is bad, and I mean really bad. It may not actually be the silent but deadly electric scooters going the wrong way down the street or cars passing at night without any lights on that eventually gets me on my commute, but rather the slow death of inhaling the equivalent of packs (‘s’ is very deliberate) of cigarettes a day in urban pollution as I commute to work on my motorcycle. In fact, it has gotten so bad recently, that it’s actually finally reached the foreign media, as the LA Times recently reported on how nearly 1,000 flights had to be cancelled within just the first week of December due to low visibility! The scariest thing however is the state of denial that the reporting of the local authorities reflects. Whenever there are flight cancellations or highway closures due to low visibility it
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Can Harley Davidson Find Success in China

There has been a lot written recently about Harley Davidson failing to sell more bikes in 2010 in all of its dealerships in all of China (268 bikes sold from 7 dealerships) than in just one of its Milwaukee dealerships (more than 500 for the year). Despite this extremely underwhelming sales performance, Harley Davidson will be seeking to quadruple the amount of dealerships on the Mainland to 28 by 2016. This is a massive gamble given not only the company’s sales track record in China up to this point but also the history of other Western companies unable to find success despite huge investments in this vastly different environment (see Best Buy). So the question now is whether or not Harley’s bet in the Middle Kingdom will pay off or is China’s market just not made for the motorcycle company’s distinctly American style (and cost). Below are highlighted three reasons
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Day 7 of the Qingdao Road Trip- Hightailing it back to Beijing

Last day of the trip today, and I’ve gotta say, it certainly was nice to wake up on the last morning in our “Seaview Gardens” hotel bed. Went down to the hotel restaurant to a great Chinese buffet, definitely the best breakfast of the trip and we also were able to order coffee and toast (not part of the buffet since we were the only foreigners and thus the only people in the hotel that would be interested). After packing up our stuff and sorting out directions, we were off. I was a little worried about managing directions for this stretch since we got lost in Tianjin on the way down, but luckily we had a good game plan this time around as Amy navigated from the back seat. So with relatively open roads, no navigation problems, and good weather, we made great time into Beijing. It’s always a thrilling
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Day 6- Smooth Sailing for our last full day

Not too much to report today actually. Amy and I were able to get some real solid distance behind us while at the same time being able to enjoy the Chinese scenery. We made it out of Pingdu without incident, as luckily no pieces seemed to have been stolen from off of the bike over night. The weather was not as favorable as it had been on the trip down with pollution significantly worse (something that’s not to be desired when you have wind going by at 90km/hr for 8-10 hours a day), but luckily we were both equipped with face masks and I had my Respro mask with a filter specially for urban pollutants. The drivers as well were as obnoxious as ever with several trying to run me off the road, but this wasn’t really anything new. You learn to yell at them, flip them off and be
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Day 5- Out of Qingdao Shaking the Remnants of the Flu

It took about 14 hours of pretty much continuous sleeping, eating nothing but soup and a few pieces of toast for nearly 24 hours, and taking whatever Chinese medicine Amy could rustle up (tell a clerk 拉肚子 -la duzi- and you’ll find something) but I had mostly shaken whatever bug I still had, enough to get back on the bike at least. It turns out we didn’t even really have a choice in the matter since check out was at noon and there were no rooms available, even the one we were currently occupying. So I stayed in bed until 11:30 and then Amy and I packed up and moved out. After hanging out a bit longer in the hostel cafe and going down to visit the Qingdao beach and the iconic pagoda from the Tsingdao beer labels with our friends, Amy and I packed up the bike with only
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Days 3 and 4- Exhaustion Sets In

After the 13 hours of riding the day before, both Amy and I were feeling properly tired, and a rest day in Yantai was definitely in order. I was feeling particularly sore, almost as if I had gone through full body workout the day before and it was just catching up to me. The rest day in Yantai was well worth it though, taking in the sites as we enjoyed some european style architecture from the time the Europeans had colonized the area, visiting a wine museum where we were able to sneak in and do some taste testing for free, and climbing up to the highest point in the area at the top of a lighthouse to see the sunset. The next day though, it was time to move on to Qingdao, so up bright and early again to make the 200km SW with time to enjoy the city
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Day 2 to Qingdao- Tis the Season to Shuck Some Corn

One thing that I find somewhat refreshing about China is that even though, in a major city like Beijing you can find most produce at any time of the year, for the most part what you can buy still generally operates on the harvest seasons. So, for example, around April, the streets of Beijing will be filled with people from surrounding countryside selling strawberries for extremely low prices. Then, as soon as they appeared, after about 3 weeks they’re gone again. Now must be the harvest season for corn, because for about 300km of our trip, everywhere we looked, shucked corn was being laid our to dry. Bike lanes, the shoulder of the road, driveways, even schools that were closed for the holiday had corn laid out anywhere there was room including basketball courts. It looked like grapes also happened to be in season as we drove by some vineyards
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Day 1 to Qingdao: The liberal Chinese interpretation of the words “one-way street” and how to share your lane

So I’m officially the farthest I’ve ever been on a motorcycle from Beijing, shattering my previous record of 200km by over 120! However, I don’t think anything has made me more appreciative of the drivers in Beijing (you know, that city with the worst traffic in the world) then actually leaving the city and experiencing some real authentic Chinese driving. For one, it’s bad enough that most cars seem to completely ignore my existence on the road and act as if I wasn’t there altogether, often pushing up inches to my left as I’m driving in the center of the lane attempting to pass the car in front of me even though there’s oncoming traffic, but when cars start doing the same to trucks and vice versa, that’s when you really gotta start wondering at what they test for in China when you get your license (actually I’ve heard some
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