Distance: Various distances riding around the city... Sam more than Shanna
Our second day in Kunming we decided that the boys would go look at bike shops in the morning while Severine and I updated websites and went shopping. Actually, the truth was that Sam's rear bicycle wheel had developed a large crack in the rim, which he had been dangerously riding on since our last day in Lao.
As Sam also discovered after we got off the bus, his front wheel had three large gouges in the brake surface arising from the bumpy bus ride. This meant he would now have to find two new (or used) V'brake wheels before we could leave Kunming and begin riding across China.
At lunch Severine and I ate at a small cafe and sat with two Chinese boys who went to high school across the road, and spoke good English. They told us it was hard to be a student in China. School went from 7am until 6pm and you took 9 classes. We were surprised to hear that everyone learns English from the age of six, as even most young people haven't been able to speak to us very well. They explained that the teachers were terrible - they spoke better English than their teachers. The boys had been practising with foreigners since they were ten and they were determined to study in Hong Kong or Canada - they needed good English if they wanted to go to a good university.
Sam and Francois didn't return until mid-afternoon, having to our amazement not eaten a thing since 8am in there quest to fix our bikes. They had seen cheap parts, frames, wheels and second hand bikes in there search for a solution to our wheel problem and Francois had been lucky enough to convince a bike shop to sell him two wheels from a tandem bicycle they had for sale.
As these where the only two wheels suitable they had found after visiting seven bicycle shops in Kunming Sam decided to put Francois' old wheelset on his bike, solving the problem temporarily. He then took apart his old wheels as the hubs and spokes were still usable to send back to Australia. Afterwards we rode to one of the bicycle shops they had found to find a new axle for Sam's rear wheel (a tandem is wider than a nornal bicycle).
It took two hours in this bike shop and it was dark as we rode to the cafe for dinner. As we zipped through the traffic, sometimes on the road, sometimes on bike lanes they provided and other times on the shared bike/pedestrian path, I had a crash. I didn't see a bollard separating traffic from the bike lane until it was too late. I knew I would hit and probably land on the raised concrete barrier (raised about 30cm). I expected the worst.
It all happened quickly - I was on the road on one of the barrier and my bike was on the other. Somehow I had got my feet free in the moment before I hit. The others were ahead of me but they heard the crash and Sam was quickly heading back to me. Luckily, there was no other traffic near us at the time, and within seconds I was on my feet moving myself and the bike to the side of the road. I felt ok. My arm was scraped and I banged my knee, but I didn't really feel any pain. Francois sprayed my grazes with disinfectant and Sam made sure my bike was ok to ride. I assured them all I felt ok and as it was late we should just keep going to the cafe where I would ice my knee.
As we rode the adrenalin wore off and I started to ache. My arm was really stinging and my knee hurt. During another delicious dinner I tried to keep my mind off the pain, but it was hard. I hurried everyone through the meal so I could go back to the hotel and go to bed.
After I'd had a shower, a couple of panadol, and Sam had cleaned and put some antiseptic cream on my scrapes I felt better and was able to get a good night sleep.
In the morning we decided to delay our departure from Kunming for another day so that I could rest some more and hopefully my swollen knee would be ok. It was still very stiff and sore but my scrapes seemed to have scabbed over nicely.
Another day was spent looking at bikes, visiting the beautiful area of Kunming around the lake and university, and eating McDonalds one more time. It had been a restful day and I was hoping I would be ok to leave the following morning.
Sam and Shanna Evans are from Melbourne, Australia