Recent meetings of the Timaru Branch have followed the format of a sit down meal of Chinese food followed by a speaker. This format is proving popular with increased attendance at meetings.
A well-attended meeting on 8th June was addressed by local man Jim Pearce. Jim’s previous cycling exploits include cycling from Paris to Istanbul and across the USA.
Last year Jim was part of a group which cycled 8000km from Shanghai to Singapore. Over a period of three months the group cycled about 100km on most days to complete the journey. They largely avoided the big cities so saw a very different perspective of the country from that of many tour groups. Setting out early most mornings they had great views of the activity in the Chinese countryside and small towns passing through roadside markets and meeting the locals whose cycles were much less sophisticated than those of the tour group.
Among the more unusual things seen in the markets were dogs’ heads on a butcher’s stall. Many days they had completed their cycling by early afternoon and were able to explore the local area and see things so typical of rural China before retiring early to re-energise for the next day’s ride.
After leaving China they travelled through Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Malaysia before reaching their destination of Singapore.
Following his talk Jim invited questions and commented that the audience was better informed about China than most of the groups he had spoken to. Jim’s enthusiasm for long distance cycling does not seem to have diminished with the idea of riding through India a possibility.