First a quick intro and a bit of back ground . At the time of this bike trip (2009) I lived in a beautiful part of China called Yangshuo teaching English. Its very friendly town, famous throughout China for the tall limestone kascts, rock climbing and stunning rivers and scenery. Here are some students Life was good after a year as a dive master in Vietnam and I was keen to do a bike trip with the many friends I had made there. As the time got near, as is always the case other thing come up, people and bikes are broke and after booking the second week in June off work, the group was down to just two people, my mate Tom and me. Thats me on the yellow bike and Tom's in the grey wife beater. . About two weeks before the trip in a moment of madness I had gone to a nearby town, called Lipu, on the promise of cheap and plentiful second hand bikes. I jumped on the local bus with my latest pay packet burning a hole in my pocket and set off on a sunny afternoon to buy a bike for the trip. When we got there it was a typical small Chinese town but with lots of new and second hand bike shops dotted about. Most of the bikes in china are very old fashioned looking, with three basic types, one is like a Honda cg125 these are very popular with the farmers for simplicity and cost, around 400 usd new!! Second is a bit more modern looking 80s styled bike with a front disk and a small handlebar fairing, all are red and usually cost around 6000 to 8000rmb used as taxis, or mounted with racks for carrying gas bottles, 20liter water bottles and always ridden by men in yellow hard hats. Heres a pic of Dan who I met in Yangshou, we helped him buy a bike and gave him some riding lessons. Hes a great guy and went on to do an epic ride from China to Pakistan. His RR and pics are an amazing insight in to China. His ride report. http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=500053&highlight=dragons+arse The last type of bike is a cruiser, ranging from a mild cruiser like a Suzuki GN125 to the full blown, Harley lookalikes complete with huge forks and wheels, eagles everywhere, footplates, forward controls and huge chrome rear racks and panniers, which cost around 1000 usd new. I spotted a big cruiser across the road, parked outside a shop where a group of men were playing cards and generally having an easy afternoon of it, we strolled over to have a better look as the yellow colour was a bit rare in China, for bikes. A casual walk around revealed it had seen better days and was in pretty grubby condition all-round, but the guys were keen to talk to us as we were probably the only westerners in town so we asked if it was for sale and were told it was for sale at 1600rmb £160. We said wed be back later after a look around. After trawling around several smaller shops with about 10 bikes in each we decided that we should go back and have a better look at the yellow cruiser, but when we got back to the card game the bike was gone. We headed for a Yamaha dealer and the yellow cruiser rode past, we pulled the guy over and had a better look at it. I took it for a test ride and it rode awful, bad brakes, crap tyres, steering head bearings shot, huge ape hanger handlebars and a huge chrome rack complete with panniers and rear foot plates. I wasnt too bothered if he wanted to sell it or not so we agreed on 1300rmb. We headed out of town and called at the gas station on the way out of town, hows it ride shouted my mate after only 5 mins of town riding, like a f**king dog I shouted back the thing was a nightmare to keep in a straight line with the head bearings and I was having serious concerns about the frame being bent. By the time we were half way home I had come up with a list a mile long of modifications to the bike, the first been some new bars and a strip down, the seat or my arse would need some more padding too as it was numb. After the strip down the rear of the bike looked to be sitting quite high and I looked at ways to lower the rear end some. Next I removed the front mudguard so I could get rid of the plastic eagle on the front and the chrome cattle fender on the front end. A trip up to the bike shop got me some front brake pads 15rmb, new chain and sprockets 50rmb, head bearings 40rmb, some copy renthal motocross bars 80rmb, some smaller grips, a spare tube, some sorter rear shocks and some tiny indicators. The huge plastic headlight and twin spot light were replaced by a single round chrome light and fitted with a HID light set up complete with some sort of solenoid/generator control box that emits a cool high pitched whistle and popping sounds when you turn it on and off, this turned out to be a god send later in the trip for night riding. I rode the bike around for a week or so to sort out any small problems and everything seemed to be ok, and it was rock solid in a straight line, good on the rough stuff and had a bit of a presence compared to the smaller bikes and scooters, I talked to my mate tom about the different way of loading and carrying luggage and decided that less was best for me, an old rucksack, a copy North face jacket, a pair of jeans, hiking boots and a few t-shirts and boxers were stuffed into the bag and secured with a couple of bungees and a cargo net, I bought a rainproof over jacket and a borrowed a pair of fox motocross gloves from a another mate who had brought them from Australia. Our route would take us north from Yangzhou on the main highway to a city called Guilin; this road is famous for being very dangerous and had claimed the life of a students fiancée just a month earlier as he was on his way to Guilin. As I was on a pretty tight budget I had to go with just an oil change and new clutch, the tyres on the bike where shot. At the end of this trip I had spent less than 200 usd!! Including hotels food and fuel, the people we met were very generous with their time and helped us in many ways. My theory was to change the tyres on route if I got a puncture, the back was nearly bald and the front nearly new but was badly scrubbed on the centre line due to the head bearings, it had about 30 flat spots on the centre line which caused a few hairy moments when braking hard and vibrated something rotten at 60klms/hr. I had all the small tools and some spares in a heavy duty canvas bag strapped on to the handle bars and tom had the big tyre levers an adjustable and a hammer in his kit, his setup was a pair of old canvas saddle bags thrown over the back and a sports bag bungeed on top. The last piece of kit was a pair of short wave radios with earpieces clipped in to the helmets and stuffed into a pocket, these proved very useful on many occasions but the earpieces broke after a few days. Next post will be the RR more pics and less text as it happened a while ago. I have three RR from China which I will post, all are done on a budget with small Chinese bikes and little gear.