When thinking about cycling, people generally think about riding on roads, but rarely do people think about riding off-road. Instead of riding on smooth, flat asphalt roads with cars and trucks roaming by, you could ride into a whole new realm, stumbling on dirt, mud, and rocks, accompanied with the sound of nature.
Recently, I got to go on the riverbed of upper Zhuoshui River with my parents and other friends. We not only stumbled on dirt and rock, but also on water. From Wu-Jie, we rode 30km to our destination – Bakurasu.
The journey was in fact very bumpy, but also unexpectedly comfortable. The quietness accompanied by the ripple of the river, and the incredible sights of the looming cliffs surrounding us, made the unbelievably rough path a beautiful ride; even with the dampness after repeatedly crossing the river.
At last, we arrived at our destination – Bakurasu. What makes the place unique is not just how quaint it is, nor because of its remoteness, but the friendliness of the people there. After a satisfying dinner, and since there’s no signal and internet there, people sat around the fire and chatted. It was a soft and peaceful end to a tiring day.
Of course, every trip has its challenges. The next day, we started with a 5km steep 25 degree climb. People who couldn’t withstand the tiring climb dragged the bikes uphill the entire time.
Because of the mist, cold, and wet weather, gliding downhill was not much better than the uphill. Imagine yourself all wet, with the sting of the icy wind blowing past your skin; that’s what it felt like all day. Finally, the ride was finished right after the icy downhill torture. A cold, wet, and rushing end.
Unlike other bike trips, which are all about relaxing, this one was much more dramatic. It takes more strength and more stamina than most rides. But, without a doubt, it was a valuable experience.
You should never go alone; definitely get a professional guide with plenty of experience. Without them, things could get out of hand since most people don’t have the experience in dealing with emergencies in the wilderness. Things like flash floods often happen when storms occur in the mountains. Before you can even react, you’d be drowning in a flood.
Secondly, get an off-road bike. Never force your road bike into off-road terrain. Road bike tires are designed for lighter weight so people can ride faster. However, in off-road terrains, road bike tires break immediately.
Apart from your feet, bicycles are probably the best traveling tool on variant terrain, from small dirt trails to rocky riverbeds. There is almost nothing better to explore with than a bike.