My plan was to fly from Shanghai to Beijing to pick up a bike I’d bought and ride it back to Shanghai via coastal Shandong Province.
Getting to Beijing- 21st June 2017
This was a crazy day. I was up at 6am, didn’t sleep a lot and was off to do a sidecar tour in Shanghai (a part time gig). By 10:30, it seemed I and the CJ750 I was driving were not needed, so I took the bike around with my friend.. my first time navigating alone in Shanghai, so we got somewhat lost and the heavens opened. I realised it was getting late and that I had a three o’clock flight to catch but was stuck in a one-way system, always able to see the destination but zipping past it, I decided to take the only route infant of me that took me to my destination. A twenty meter section of Yanan road stood between me and the end point. It needs to be pointed out here that motorcycles are banned in many large Chinese cities and in Shanghai, apart from limiting the issue of plates, many of the roads are off limits to motorcycles. Although I saw the no motorcycle sign, I went for it and was immediately pulled over by a traffic policeman and given a ticket in barking orders. Thankfully no points (edit- three points- a disaster tbh). I got the bike back in the rain and took a taxi in heavy traffic to the airport- the other side of town and got my flight in the nick of time.
I got to Beijing and tried to avoid taxi touts at the airport but eventually became frustrated with them. Finally I got to the seller’s house and it was already dark, a muggy evening with plagues of mosquitoes saw me pack up the bike. I thought to myself “the petcock is closed”and then did nothing about it. Finally I set off and the bike conked out down the road. Pushed it back. Confirmed with the previous owner that, yes, the petcock was closed. Took off again and dropped the bike a couple of kilometres away. The previous owner came and told me I’d killed the battery from trying to start it. We push started it…something learnt.
I found a hotel after a fair amount of time and my phone running out of battery. Just a back drop to the real journey.. more to come…
Failures (learning points)
- I got a ticket in Shanghai- I need to allow plenty of time for driving in Shanghai and possibly a map with the no-go roads for motorcycles.
- trust your gut (and open the blooming fuel valve)
- My new bike’s carburettor is easily flooded when dropped (leading to it being unable to start)
- The electric start on the new bike will drain the battery quickly if over-used (get a kick- starter in future or be very careful with the electric start)
Basic stuff you may say… but I was at stage basic:)