China & Tibet Cycle Tour
Seduce your senses - the Sichuan Province by bicycle
Set your senses on fire in the stunning Sichuan Provence of China. Famous for its delicious spicy food, massive mountains, colourful culture and intriguing history. Sichuan by bike is a full-on sensory overload.
Riding from the hustle of Chengdu City, the home of the Giant Panda, we pedal first through agricultural and rice growing regions then climb along river valleys lined with towering snow covered peaks and into the wide open spaces of the Tibetan Plateau.
We stay in ancient Chinese towns, visit Buddhist monasteries, meet with Tibetan nomadic yak herders and take the challenge of crossing three mountain passes over 4000m high!
September cycle tour of Sichuan in Rhyme
Lawrie and Kaye Halkett, 05/10/2019 12:46pm
In Memory of Sichuan
Into the Sichuan the bikers set out,
from lowlands to highlands we peddled about.
Past gardens, rice fields with hardly a rest,
then passes and plateau became the next quest.
We puffed more each day as we increased our height,
and chillies and peppers set our palates alight.
We greeted the locals with “Nihau” and a grin,
then “Tashi de Lai” when the air got thin.
As snow rained down it became bitterly cold,
but that didn’t stop the intrepid and bold.
Towering apartments led to mani wheels and monks chanting out loud,
along with black hairy yaks and pony-tailed “cowboys” standing out proud.
Evenings were for eating and washing our knickers,
followed up by low alcohol kickers.
Architectural changes from Hun curly–roofed adornations,
to homes sporting colourfully carved and painted decorations.
All the while Bruce and Leigh tended to our every need,
With quantities of porridge, noodles and coffee making for a huge breakfast feed.
Hard riding days were rewarded with early nights,
and none of the team succumbed to the shights.
In every group there has to be wags,
Tom and Gary were certainly our dags.
The dancing and Karaoke commanded the floor,
Which had locals running and screaming for more.
Sadly these trips must come to an end,
however, there are always others Escape Adventures can recommend.
High on rice
Neil Rowland, 24/09/2019 12:52am
Arguably the best way to see a country "up close and personal" is by bicycle, and the China/Tibet tour fully met that expectation. The range of accommodations and facilities, from modern hotel to tiny guesthouse, along with eating at small local restaurants gave us an authentic glimpse into China. Biking, some at high altitude, was challenging but I always felt safe: guides and drivers provided great and attentive support.
Love these trips
Nick Dunbar, 06/11/2018 9:46am
I've now done both the Kyrgyzstan and China trips with Escape Adventures. Both times I've done the trips with Dad. They've both been very well organised and really take you off the beaten track. Both trips have taken us to some amazing spots and biking there means you really get to experience the place and it's people. I would definitely recommend Escape Adventures to anyone wanting to experience well organised bike touring in some amazing less trodden places =)
"We love what you guys do"
"We are two happy punters that were amazed that our Africa experience of a trip of a lifetime could be replicated elsewhere in the world. The after holiday buzz is still with us and perhaps enhanced by the benefits of exercising at altitude. What a trip!! I have not been on a trip where during the last meeting, we reflected on the trip, we felt so comfortable and relaxed about contributing positive, constructive feedback. A privilege to be part of such a team. Basically we love what you guys do….biking in non -tourist areas is a great way to explore and experience new places and we are always assured of quality, attention to detail and the guarantee of a ‘holiday of a life time-experience’"
Sarah & Vick Francis, UK
"Thank you Escape Adventures"
"There was only one company I knew I could trust to ensure the Davies Family were challenged, inspired and educated all at the same time and where I knew as a parent I would be able to see my kids altogether enjoying them selves, meeting knew people, experiencing new sights and cultures and spending precious time together . I am not sure when (or even if) that will ever be repeated – the China trip was as excellent choice in that respect.
In many ways this journey underpinned by a trip itinerary and facilitated by the expertise of our two hosts blended subtly. I am old enough to know that when things that should be enormously difficult are made to look and feel easy there is a tremendous amount of dedication, hard work, intense effort, care and significant expertise behind it all. THANK YOU Escape Adventures!"
Linda Harris (Davies Family), UK
"The whole tour was fantastic"
"The whole tour was fantastic. The countryside, the villages, the people. Even as a Swiss, used to mountains, I never had the opportunity to climb up to 4300m. I was quite worried about the idea to cross 3 passes of over 4000m. But getting slowly prepared to the altitude, the roads climbing gently, it was no problem – but an amazing experience. Our two leaders Brian & Doven were doing everything to make the trip a real pleasure. To enjoy the trip a good level of fitness is required. But you don’t have to be a “hardcore-biker”.
Peter Roehricht, Switzerland
"Exceeded my Expectations"
"The trip exceeded my expectations - which were high anyway. I could not fault the care and organisation of your excellent team. We made sure we told them as much, but it bears repeating! You have picked a great team for a great route through the mountains. It sounds like you have a knack for doing this from what Des and the Davies family told us of Africa."
Luke Newnham, New Zealand
"I wouldn't change a thing"
"Jen and I had a blast. Great trip, well lead by Brian and his lovely wife Clare, they were both fantastic ambassadors for Escape Adventures. The whole tour flowed nicely - from the outset the communication regarding the trip was excellent and this continued throughout the tour from the first night briefing. I wouldn't change a thing. Well done all round and both Jen and I would love to do another tour some time in the future. We will certainly recommend EA as a Company of choice."
Ross & Jenny James, Australia/NZ
"Wonderful Cycle Tour"
"Thanks John and Mandy for organizing such a wonderful cycle tour through China & Tibet. Charlie and I had a wonderful time – no two days were the same. Your attention to safety, variety of experiences, selection of food, accommodation and still having fun was terrific and much appreciated. The trip is very well designed to cope with altitude – having never been as high as that before – by taking one day at a time it was great. This was our first trip with Escape Adventures and would love to do more."
Janet Leith, New Zealand
"John: Thanks a million for everything. You crafted a brilliant itinerary and implemented it skillfully, making many changes to adjust what were sometimes trying and unpredictable conditions. Also I think your leadership had a lot to do with the great chemistry that bound the whole team together. This was truly a memorable experience. Aside from the exhilaration of the biking, the itinerary offers a wonderful exposure to diverse cultures, scenery and culinary delights. I recommend it highly."
Emmanuel Jimennez, Philippines
by Janice Pritchard, Canada
Oh East is East and West is West, And never the twain shall meet.
Til six brave bikers ride side by side, And attempt to cross the street.
Oh, you may talk of your feats of bravery, Of strength and derring-do
But you are nobody til you you’ve cycled, Through the streets of old Chengdu
Oh, Black is Black and White is White, And hopefully the two do meet
Then incubators fill with babies galore, Little pandas that look so sweet.
Oh, Up is Up and Down is Down, And eventually the two must meet.
But only at the top of Jaido Pass, When you reach 14,124 feet.
Oh, Sit is Sit and Squat is Squat, And you rarely find and seat.
So you must learn when in China, To pee between your feet.
Oh, Spice is Spice and Plain is Plain, Be careful with Chinese meat.
It will burn your mouth and fry your brain, Sichuan means hot- not sweet.
Oh, South is South and North is North, But sometimes the twain do meet.
When bikers from opposites ends of the Earth, Meet to travel over China’s peaks.
"Bike touring as it should be"
"I am a cynic and rarely impressed by business, and when I am it's usually small business. Escape Adventures stands at the head of my tiny class of business excellence in value-for-money, for personal service, for ethics, for walking the walk. My wife and I have done three tours with "Escape" and their high standards never changed. If you really do want something different, away from the over-groomed touring routes of the world, away from the 5-star grooming of hotels and spas....try any one of the escape adventures. You'll find unforgettable geography, some of it exotic, some of it pastoral; you'll also make very memorable contact with the local culture in their food, their families, their homes, their way of life.
This honour and respect for the culture is, we feel, a unique value-added of Escape Adventures. But not the only one. Because the owners of the company are with you, or if not, are intimately connected with your tour. They seem able, and very willing, to make impromptu changes to the touring program to take advantage of sights and situations you'll find which may not be highlighted in the brochures. Bike touring as it should be."
Brian Anderson & Barbara Robertson, Canada
"Strong memories are what we have taken away. Good and happy memories, that will last and last. The trip was a collection of surprises. The smiling people, soaring topography, ever changing vegetation, the ever changing architecture and customs, good smells, bad smells, the altitude, the vultures... Your planning was so detailed and we always had the feeling that there was another layered response tucked away somewhere if we ever needed it. And that's how this remarkable journey hung together; lots of new and challenging experiences courtesy of tour guides who were just the best. We are both delighted we chose this trip. Highly recommended."
Hon Peter Hodgson & Anne Marris, New Zealand
"A unique experience"
"This was a challenging trip that pushed us outside our comfort zone but such a sense of achievement as well. We saw a China that few foreigners have seen, we rode on local roads. Riding gives one an experience of being part of your surrounding as opposed to being in a car, cocooned in its own artificial environment looking out. Riding, you feel the heat and the humidity, the cold, the steepness of the 'wee pitch' as your legs toil beneath you, the thrill of a fast descent, senses alert to changes in the road surface as your plummet down, your hands getting numb with the cold air and working the brakes. You smell the countryside, you get to appreciate a good tailwind. We ate in local restaurants and we slept in local guest houses. It was a truly unique experience."
Peter Yin & Penny Nash, Australia
Start: Chengdu City
Finish: Chengdu City
Your tour itinerary offers 20-110km biking per day; a total distance of up to 680km spread over 12 days of biking.
The Terrain. We cycle on mostly paved roads where at times bikes and small tractors out-number cars. The terrain varies from gentle meandering river valleys to long sustained climbs and lovely long descents! We climb over four high mountain passes, three of which are over 4000m however in all cases the gradient is fairly gentle. The tour is suited to riders with a good level of biking fitness who are happy chugging their way up a couple of long climbs. A hybrid or touring bike with front suspension is the ideal bike and we have a fleet of our own touring bikes available for hire.
Support: Our trusty support vehicle carries all your luggage, has lunch, snacks and water at hand, and is there if you need a break from the saddle.
Group Size: 6-12 like minded bikers from around the world.
Your tour leaders will take care of your meals and snacks throughout your journey with us mostly taking advantage of the delicious fare in local restaurants.. This excludes two lunches and two evening meals which are at your own cost to give you the opportunity to explore local cuisine of your own choosing. We are mostly definitely able to cater for vegetarians and special diets and if this includes you, it is essential to advise us of this before your tour begins, so that the support vehicle can be stocked with the necessary supplies. Typical meals include:
- Breakfasts - Vary from local breakfasts of corn bread, rice porridge dumplings and noodles to Escape breakfasts of porridge, muesli & fruit, and hot drinks.
- Lunches - Meat & Vegetable dishes in cafes / and picnic style lunches of fresh salads, cold meats, cheese & bread.
- Evening Meals - A huge variety of delicious traditional meat and vegetable dishes.
All accommodation for the duration of your tour is included in hotels and local guesthouses on a double or twin share basis (2-4 star). Most hotels and guesthouses have en-suite bathrooms however it is occasionally necessary to share bathroom facilities.
Singles: We do not charge a single supplement!
If you are traveling on your own, we will pair you with another single biker of the same gender to share a twin room. If you do not wish to share, that is fine too, but a single supplement will apply!
Preparing for your Cycle Tour
Your cycle tour includes rides of up to 110km per day. Please do read about the daily riding distances in the itinerary below and prepare accordingly. The more prepared you are the more you will enjoy your adventure! However, please do not judge the rides by daily distances alone! Hills and altitude offer added challenge to your cycle tour. For most of your cycle tour the altitude will range between 2000-4000m above sea-level with plenty of ups and downs. Some days offer 30km climbs (however the gradients are usually very gentle!)
You should be comfortable riding 3-5 times a week with regular rides of 30-50km in length. Preparing for your cycle tour should involve some good sized hills. Please do contact us if you would like some help with a detailed training plan.
Chengdu to Chengdu
DAY 1: Arrive in Chengdu, pre departure meeting and first dinner together. Hotel
DAY 2: Tour of Chengdu City by bike and visit to a Giant Panda Breeding Research Centre. 40km. Hotel
DAY 3: Transfer out of the city and cycle through quaint rural farms and paddy fields. 63km. Guesthouse
DAY 4: Cycle touring through farmland and steamy bamboo forest. 75km. Hotel
DAY 5: We begin our climb, gaining our first glimpses of Tibetan lifestyle. 20km. Forest Reserve Cabins
DAY 6: We cycle over our first high pass at 4155m and into the Himalayan foothills. 70km. Hotel
DAY 7: We stretch out down a river valley through rural villages and orchards. 99km. Hotel
DAY 8: A well earned rest day. Optional hike through small hillside villages and explore ancient defensive towers. Hotel
DAY 9: We bike up a remote, windy river valley towards the Tibetan grasslands. 42km. Guesthouse
DAY 10: Pass number two at 3913m, and cycle down into the wide open Tibetan Grasslands. 55km. Hotel
DAY 11: We cycle across the wide open rolling grasslands of the Tibetan Plateau. 30km. Guesthouse
DAY 12: Accompanied by nomads and grazing yaks we take on our highest pass at 4398m. 110km. Hotel
DAY 13: Heading back into rural into rural Chinese farmland and rice paddies to a historical village. 25km. Guesthouse
DAY 14: Rolling back towards the city and down into the Sichuan Basin. 45kms. Hotel
DAY 15: Enjoy a final breakfast together. Onward travel.
US dollars $3,250 + Local Payment* US$300
Bike hire if required US$300
Singles: You DON'T have to pay a single supplement!
- If you are traveling on your own, we will pair you with another single biker of the same gender to share a twin room.
- If you do not wish to share, that is fine too, but a single supplement will apply! Single Supplement if requested: USD $750
Local payment is a part of your tour cost and is payable to your tour leader on arrival in Chengdu.
Our China & Tibet cycle tour is priced in US Dollars as USD mostly accurately correspond to our off-shore expenses many of which are in USD.
Convert USD to your currency: www.xe.com
- Transfer from the airport to your hotel
- Accommodation -14 nights
- Meals as per tour itinerary
- Two NZ based Escape Adventures leaders
- Local interpreter
- Support vehicle & drivers
- Activities for the duration of the tour as per detailed itinerary.
- All group entrance fees including Panda Sanctuary and Tibetan Monastery.
Prices do NOT include: airfares, visas, airport taxes, optional meals, optional activities and excursions, vaccinations and personal equipment.
We have a fleet of our own touring bikes custom built and spec’ed to our requirements available for hire for your China & Tibet cycling tour. They are 700c wheeled, flat bar touring style bike with disc brakes and 27 speed mountain-bike gearing which is great for climbing at altitude! We have them available in S, M, L and XL and they are perfect for the variable road touring on our China & Tibet tour. We carry a full swag of spare parts and maintain them ourselves to make sure they are in optimal running condition for your ride with us.