So, after about a day, I got a message from the mechanic where we left Fin’s bike.
He told me that we needed a new 曲轴 this is a word that has never left my mind… I’ve forgotten many Chinese words… but not this one.. .in fact, sometimes I even remember how to explain it in Chinese, but not in English. It’s the crank-shaft. We needed a new crank shaft.
It’s a pretty major part.
We ordered it from Taobao (My Chinese housemate used her account) And after calling him and messaging him to check.. if that was it, he said Yep.. and then I talked to Fin and went up the following weekend.
We caught a train up to Luan Xian 滦县 which was the closest ‘city’ to where we had had to leave Fin’s bike.
I had the foresight to take a GPS screen shot of where we left the bike.
We had messaged our new friend Wang Xiao Gang that we’d be coming back that weekend. And he offered to pick us up and take us to the mechanics place… which was once again incredibly nice.
Honestly that was marvellous, got of the train…from our ‘soft seats’ and was met at the train station by the guy, then driven to the mechanics place for which if we took a taxi, we would have almost certainly be utterly ripped off for.
We met the guy, the bike…was properly stripped down. Pulled out the 曲轴, he checked, said ‘好， 别的在哪儿?’ where is the other part?
My face… my mouth was just left hanging. I asked him to repeat it.. and he’s like ‘yeah, I need the piston too’ I didn’t know the word for piston…but with his actions… I got it.
I …might have shouted at him a little bit, saying ‘you didn’t mention that in your messages… we checked with you.. & you JUST wrote the crank-shaft’
Fin could see my anger and asked what was wrong… and I told him and then hahahha he started shouting at this guy in English, and doing that low muttering… that I knew he was about to punch the guy…
I asked the guy we’d came with for confirmation.. and after chucking a bit.. he just said.. ‘ yep… apparently you need a piston too’
We calmed down a bit.. .and was once again in despair.. until the genius mechanic said to us… ‘well, how about I just sell you a near new Haojue 豪爵 125cc engine with everything included and we can just swap it out?’
I can’t quite remember the price, but I think it was 1,500 rmb. Which isn’t so bad, considering it comes with the engine, the gearbox etc. But it would have 25 less cc than the original bike.
I talked it over with Fin, and we came to the decision that he’s rather have the original engine… so we decided we’d need to come back with the correct part.
We told this to the guy, and he just laughed, and said.. ‘right, let’s go for a meal’
Hahaha, so we went back to his place, and he’d prepared a meal with some of his family. Which was once again very nice.
He asked us what were we going to do, and we said… ‘well, I guess we catch the train back… order the other part… and come back when we have it’
The family looked up the train… found out the all tickets were pretty much booked out.. decided to go to the local travel agency and see if they could book a ticket.
We went, and I’m not joking this place just looked like a construction site.
We even joked… that ‘wouldn’t it be strange if THAT was the travel agency?’ … and it was.
No tickets… or none at any time close.
So our new friend drove us back to the city, and we queued up at the ticket counter and just got any ticket we could going back to Beijing.
The only ticket we could get was a standing ticket in 6 hours time or something.
So we got that.
Fin and I decided we’d grab a few beers, or 12 somewhere… but all we found were restaurants… we ate some dumplings… drank a lot of beer, moved locations, drank some more beer… hey we weren’t driving any more
… and then after realising we still had 4 hours to go.. decided that we were very tired.. and should take a nap.
All we found was a karaoke place opposite the station. So we did that.
I’m not joking, we rented a karaoke room (in most of Asia, you have private karaoke rooms), with the intention to just go to sleep on the sofas.
But…there was karaoke there.. and they did bring us some beers.
So we sung a couple of songs, like a bunch of idiots…
Then tried to get a couple of hours of sleep.
It didn’t really happen, because other rooms were booming music and that coupled with the cigarette smoke leaking through the doors… meant it was difficult to sleep.
We eventually left that, and headed for the train.
Standing tickets are shit by the way. Everyone boards first, and then they point the standing ticket holders to the cars of the ‘hard seats’ and you just fill in all the spaces.
We found places right next to the toilet. Magical location, and it turned out pretty convenient as I had some adverse reaction to something our friend cooked.. and ended up having to eloquently puke right next to where Fin was sitting.
We had our helmets, a bag.. and Fin was going crazy with the lack of space…so he ended up sitting on his bag.. whilst I held the helmets. Turns out that he sat on his kindle.. and the screen broke.
We got back to Beijing around 11pm, took a bus to a more reasonable location, (Sanyuanqiao 三元桥) and I told Fin straight out… ok… I think I need some time to recover from this. I’ll order the part tomorrow… but I need to get mentally prepared for the next journey out there…because this has been mentally draining’
He agreed… and we went back out there… with the correct parts- piston + rings + seals etc, 2 weeks after.
Once again we were picked up by our friend. Really nice guy, I can’t stress that enough.
And then went to the mechanics…
This time, finally everything was alright.. and it took about an hour to put the bike back together.
This time we didn’t have lunch with the guy, but we did mention that if ever him and his family were in Beijing.. we’d take them out and have dinner altogether.
Which we did actually… when they came a few months later, but in hindsight… me picking ‘something they’d not have the opportunity to try in Luanxian, ie. Mexican food.. was not a good idea, because it was just so different from what they were used to.
Cheese…cream… not good for the Chinese digestive system.
Anyway, we bid farewell to our friend.. and to the mechanic and Fin took the driving responsibility & I just put in my music and settled in to enjoy the scenery a bit.
Fin did very well for not having driven the bike for 3 weeks with someone on the back… but there was 1 traffic light where he lane-split to get to the front… but when the lights went green… he just stalled it.
Cars were beeping him, and then going around him, with me saying ‘don’t worry man…it’s alright, take your time, no rush’
And then, not joking after the 13th time or something.. I started to laugh, and asked ‘ are you doing this on purpose now?’
He…wasn’t impressed and turned to me… and said something on the lines of ‘it’s the biek man, its not me… how about YOU have a try??’
To which I was like, ‘ok …sure’
1st time. Nothing wrong with the bike, nothing wrong with the clutch. .. and I just started chuckling. Hahah
The next lights I just told him that I was fine driving for an hour or so…
Again we stopped for something to eat nearby the Beijing border and Fin took over.
We got back to his place.. after dark, and I just went home straight away.
So that was it.
It is… was, a trip that I will never forget. An adventure for sure, and to be able to spend it with such a good friend was what made it bearable.
The whole experience… which was meant to take us 1 weekend, actually ended up taking us a good 4 weeks to complete.
Here’s some pictures that I may have left out from before.
Lovely summer riding.
Just outside Beijing province… roads look a little more barren.
Fin looking sad, with the realisation that we’re not going to make it there during daylight.
Sunset on the way there….the beginning of 4 hours of driving in the darkness.
Driving through Tangshan
This is the level of light we were often dealing with on our journey TO Beidahe…. not good at all. Turns out no one cared about the beach, they were all taking the cable cars to the island because the island had some sort of amusement park.
Our cozy hotel room after the 2nd night.
Marine construction yard/ junkyard.
Sun setting over the Russian quarter of Beidahe.
Qinghuangdao is a fairly big city.
Where the river meets the sea.
Fin just hoping that his bike would start.
Capturing the tiredness behind the eyes…after Fin’s bike wouldn’t start.
Wang Xiaogang, Fin & Myself.
This was the outside of Wang Xiao gang’s restaurant.
Dangerous at night, still dangerous in the daytime.
It seems we didn’t miss out on the scenery when we drove in the dark before.
Showing the roads constantly under construction, with carpet cover sections.
Dusty trucks central.
Just a steam roller, casually driving down the road
If only we could take the express road… Getting our energy levels back up after having a numb bum & riding for 3 hours straight. Eating some sort of weird Chinese cookie.
Fin & Myself exhausted at a petrol station just outside of Beijing province The aftermath of accumulated dust on my shoes & pants
An example of the carpeted roads again.
My dirty bike after that trip
Giving it a proper wash.
My Suzuki is nice & clean
Old Dragon’s Head (where the Great Wall meets the sea location) To show perspective in terms of how far we travelled, the city on teh far right at the end of the penninsular is Dalian
Where we ended up leaving Fin’s bike (closest town Luanxian 滦县）