End: Xingxingxia, Xinjiang, China
Distance: 88 km
Avg: 15.9 k/h
Max: 29.4 k/h
Total: 11,752 km
Total riding days: 138
Riding hours: 0845 - 1515
Tonight I am in a truck-stop. The room is painted two-tone, pale blue and white, it feels like a Soviet mental asylum. And they have turned the heating on for me. They must be crazy. I can't sleep with heating. I have to open the windows and let all the heat straight out again. I'm just left with the banging hot-water pipes.
In fact I didn't mean to stop here at all, early in the afternoon, but I saw the truck stop and pulled in on auto-pilot. Before I knew what I was doing, I had paid for the bed.
Earlier, up ahead I saw a shape. It was the shape of a touring bicycle. Touring bicyclists can spot another touring bicyclist from 5 miles, in the same way that a certain species of sparrow knows from five miles away whether or not a black dot in the sky is another member of the same sparrow species.
I spend a happy half-hour hauling my conspecific down, and feel rather chuffed when I am on his tail. He is only carrying two half-packed rear panniers. I am on full load, front and rear.
Mr Kou is his name, and 72 is his age.
I feel a little less Lancey about catching him. He and three mates (he's the oldest; they're all over 62) are cycling from Xi'an to the Russian border up in Altay. They've been 1,900 km already in 25 days.
Mr Kou (right) (72) and chums. When you've been going as long as he has, you can do it with your eyes closed.